Tuesday morning we landed in Honolulu after six days of a journey and two gigs in New Mexico. Exhausted. Emotional. Happy to be home on this island and sad to leave home in New Mexico. Incongruencies and conflict constitute an ongoing theme here and I tend to run back and forth between. The trick is how to manuever with grace. There will always be tests. Here was the largest challenge given: For the Saturday night Roots and Rhythms Performance, let's keep Harjo awake all night and all day with adrenalin (literally, no sleep at all), set up a late sound check, add two wonderful musicians but literally no rehearsal time for a new set up, start a dramatic thunder-lightning-rain and hail storm on an open amphitheater at show time, the show (with many acts) starts two and a half hours late, that is, 9:30PM instead of 7PM, and when Harjo and her band come on for the allotted fifteen minute slot at 11:30PM have the sound setup go haywire with screaming feedback and her horn mic not work, then see what happens.
That was the challenge. Made it through and landed on my feet.
The next afternoon at Bookworks, with just me and the loops was beautiful. Great staff there, audience including many beloved ones I have known through the years.
And I return carrying stories of blindness, despair, hospitalizations, car wrecks, jobs acquired, jobs lost, heartache and accomplishment. I'm exhausted. Head to the ocean yesterday morning for cleansing. And last night to a concert at the Honolulu Zoo by the amazing ukelele player, Jake Shimabukura. I am struggling with despair there with all the joyful picnickers, though there is lightness all around. This is what comes:
THE LAST CONCERT AT THE HONOLULU ZOO
The sun was leaving for the night, as it always has
Every night, every life, every backwards, every forwards
Every despair, and ever joy.
Through the banyan it shimmered there
Over the bandstand, over the dancing ukulele player
Over the people gathered there
To hear what there was to hear from the band
And the elephants behind us with their waving ears
And the new babies lifting their heads on their parents’ shoulders
And the buyers and the sellers and picnickers in one breath
To hear what there was to hear when there’s nothing left to be said
All over again, it’s falling and rising all over again.
We gave it what we had,
Then left, with the sun.
c JOY HARJO August 26, 2004 Honolulu