Stormy Saturday Morning
And the bird people sing anyway.
Their calls are like splashed water beset by wind.
Now if my soul could remember how to negotiate
The foolishness of Can’t, we could sing in any kind of weather.
And forget the sadness, or be it.
Build a house with the wreckage of fury.
Start all over again no matter shots in the dark from words or guns.
Yesterday is only memory anyway, made into the stuff of our reaction.
I was afraid, so I killed my neighbor with a machete.
I was angry, so I ignored the tower of gifts clamoring to give joy.
I was vengeful so I burned down the house to keep anyone else from having it.
I was jealous so I lied to the tribal council and got more than one share.
Last night on the television a newborn thrown in the road kicked his legs for more life
As his mouth sucked the air for mother.
This morning I’m exhausted with the human struggle
As these bird people must be.
They sing anyway, craft memory into memory.
So I’ll take it from here,
And start all over again with the story,
Sing it with a human twist.
A bright wretchedness, a little joy.
c Joy Harjo 2/12/05 Honolulu
SOME NOTES ON A RAINY EVENING WHEN YOU FEEL AS FAR AWAY AS PLUTOAND I KNOW, BECAUSE I’VE FLOWN THERE WITHOUT THE HEAVY WINGS OF HEAVENLY CASTING, OR THE METAL SHELLS OF FIREBIRDS EATING TONS OF FUEL FOR LIFT.
We ran for it after the paddle, first,
Out past the buoy and then we turned back into the battle of hard north winds.
There’s no winning. We just keep moving through slices of rain.
Though I’m here in the bow of a running canoe,
I’m in a song from the ceremonial grounds
Beyond human time or place.
Red cardinal carries on at dawn, talking to the sun
And marking territory all at once.
Can we be sacredly profane?
I kept thinking of what it means to trade this weight of this skin for something
A little lighter: like sunlight on water or like the moment I saw your
Eyes first catch light for me.
Come here I said.
And the water people below us are just trying to hold it up.
It’s a little rough with us surface people ruining it with all our shit.
Tonight it’s raining urgently. You’d better listen, urgently
Say the winds.
So, I’m listening to the falling, urgently.
And I keep not thinking of how far it is to the origin of rain.
c Joy Harjo 2/11/05 for L.M.