The truth does not shout or whisper goddamn
and slam the unbeliever against the wall
of its church or government building.
Nor does it covertly send its henchmen from the courts of law
into the homes of those it governs
with God chained to its side.
Nor does the truth order the beloved children of those
who feed it with labor and taxes
to foreign lands as fodder, while it sits
in a guarded house picking its teeth
with slats from the ruins of freedom.

c Joy Harjo 6 Sept 03



I have exhausted my mind with details
of addresses and letters of need
from those who have died recklessly
with no one to sing for them
no one to remember each scar
each delicate whorl of skin
on fingertips.
So they wander recklessly
the neighborhoods
of memory, graze at windows
lit up by tv, walk through traffic
of passengers listening to
digital singing.
I do not know how to lead them from despair
to a spring of fresh water, clean clothes
and songs to send them brightly
on their way.
Maybe I am speaking of a nation
who does not know
how to mourn the dead
and is too numb or crazy to be aware
of its own dying.
I do know that when I get up again
from my restless sleep
I will begin once more this song against
this song of falling rain.

c Joy Harjo Honolulu, Hawaii 2003