Friday Night Practice
(This is not a poem, yet, though it might eventually be)
It was a long paddle from the shore to Top Island
and then back out through the marina
under the bridge to the blinker buoy, without stopping
and then back to Marshall Island for some lessons in technique.
The sun was headed toward Aetearoa.
My spirit brought me here to this seat
In the canoe with five other spirits.
There are six paths of arrival and departure for this
Canoe, for this night. Though for a few hours we move
Together, through Maunalua Bay
Through the ending of another day.
Each practice is a test of will, of form, of finding
And keeping to the center, no matter the tide,
The winds, the shifting spirits and collective shift of mood in the canoe.
The water is always different, as is the moon in relationship
To the water, and the cast of day as it heads toward night is
Another one of those transition points that mark change.
I tend to fight them and in doing so fight myself from letting go,
I reach and dig in which each stroke
Seeking perfection. And perfection must come even with
Exhaustion and the shiver of muscle in coherence with the flow
Of the ocean and the rhythm of the canoe as we paddle together.
And here’s the problem of thinking about it rather than being,
Writing about it rather than knowing without words
Or beyond words, beyond the canoe beyond the water
Beyond the smallness of my essential chaos.
This is the frustration of the matter.
The sun keeps traveling and does not stop in the journey
To doubt or to question.
And what a magnificent journey from the edge of eternity
To Hawaii, to Aetearoa.
I could be writing about practicing my saxophone, or practicing singing
Or the practice of being a human in these times
Or the practice of being while not-being.
And when it was over last night,
And I headed back through Friday night traffic of good times
I saw the sliver of moon, which is a sliver of memory.
It was the crack of light in the middle of a nothing of cars, dark and traffic lights.
I had to admit I am breaking down, shivering to the other side of thinking.
Each thought blossoms and sends out shoots.
Each word echoes.
And I am nothing.
I’m nobody, who are you?
So I break it down.
To waves of moments, to the stroke of a paddle, to a breath, to a note
Held out for depth, quality and resonance
Which is actually a cry
A hunch toward knowing
This is an excellent idea.
A Native Embassy in Washington DC
The Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe has suggested that the
National Congress of American Indians should establish
a headquarters in Washington DC and they have
suggested an available modern building on the street
where international embassies are located. An Embassy
of Tribal Nations here might improve the national
governments recognition of tribal sovereignty; it
could also provide a center for tribal leaders who
come to Washington for negotiations. This idea has
been floating around for thirty years, but now money
seems to be available. For more details see