Friday night in Albuquerque. Jammed on saxophone. I am listening beyond sound to understand sound.
More rains. Thunder and lightning. Cornfields ruined at Laguna and Acoma. Floods. I watched the clouds gather all afternoon. Tall thunderheads in the blue. They don't usually hang around here like this. Never did in all the years I lived here since Indian school in the late sixties.
A few hours ago was at my favorite kitchen table, in Isleta Pueblo. We shared green chili stew, chocolate cupcakes, and stories about all these changes, from strange weather to this terrible legacy of war brought to us by a particular reining family. This country will never be the same. (There is a connection between all of the above.)
Years ago I remember walking straight into an airport and getting on a plane with no "security". Then security machines were installed. Then after 9/11 we were searched and screened though we had not committed crimes. The worst were the smaller airports. I was picked "randomly" (the only Indian) in Bellingham, Washington and was forced to stand in line with huge orange tags clipped on my bags and me. Everything was taken out and unwrapped, in front of everyone. I tried to have a sense of humor about it, and told myself that people were "just doing their job". So was the U.S. Cavalry, so were the guards at the concentration camps..Then, a man had the makings of a bomb in his shoe, and we were then forced to remove our shoes as we moved through "security". I've even had my bare feet wanded, for security. Now, it's lipstick, deodorants, shampoos, perfume.
Watch out. Be careful. This is how it happens. Next we will be marched nude through security lines and won't even question why.
Now I should be like my favorite comic, and friend Charlie Hill. He makes people laugh about all this. The poet attempts a resonating cord between the soul in here, and the soul out there. So does the comedian, or, some of them (and some poets). I told Charlie he and I were standing at the back of the line when careers were given out: he took comedy, I took poetry (and a strange jazz-like native root music).
Look for Charlie Hill on Jay Leno this month. He's scheduled for the 22nd, but the date can change.
The word around Indian country is that rough changes are all coming down. Thirty years ago we heard that were at a balance point, it could go either way. Now the consensus is, 2010 is the shift.
We need words, songs and art to make clear paths through the mess.
Get to work.