HOW (POETIC WORDS FROM BEYOND Book 7)
She performed for many years with her band, Poetic Justice, and currently tours with Arrow Dynamics. Harjo is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Harjo's first volume of poetry was published in as a nine-poem chapbook titled The Last Song. The book continues to blend everyday experiences with deep spiritual truths. In books such as She Had Some Horses ; reissued , Harjo incorporates prayer-chants and animal imagery, achieving spiritually resonant effects.
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In Mad Love and War relates various acts of violence, including the murder of an Indian leader and attempts to deny Harjo her heritage, explores the difficulties indigenous peoples face in modern American society. The second half of the book frequently emphasizes personal relationships and change. In her next books such as The Woman Who Fell from the Sky , based on an Iroquois myth about the descent of a female creator, A Map to the Next World: Poetry and Tales , and How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems , Harjo continues to draw on mythology and folklore to reclaim the experiences of native peoples as various, multi-phonic, and distinct.
Using myth, old tales and autobiography, Harjo both explores and creates cultural memory through her illuminating looks into different worlds. Our tribe was removed unlawfully from our homelands. Seven generations can live under one roof. That sense of time brings history close, within breathing distance. I call it ancestor time. Everything is a living being, even time, even words. Consistently praised for the depth and thematic concerns in her writings, Harjo has emerged as a major figure in contemporary American poetry.
We are technicians here on Earth, but also co-creators. And I still say, after writing poetry for all this time, and now music, that ultimately humans have a small hand in it. We serve it. We have to put ourselves in the way of it, and get out of the way of ourselves. And we have to hone our craft so that the form in which we hold our poems, our songs in attracts the best.
Feast on this smorgasbord of poems about eating and cooking, exploring our relationships with food. The Institute of American Indian Arts, now in its 50th year, encourages its students to upend conventional expectations of Native American culture. Jamaal May blasts off into hyperspace on this episode of VS. Danez and Franny run with the poet, MC, professor, and thinker as they talk waves, matter, neurology, future, and Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. Joy Harjo. Courtesy of Blue Flower Arts. Poems by Joy Harjo.
Related Content. More About this Poet. Region: U. Ah, Ah. Appeared in Poetry Magazine. An American Sunrise. Becoming Seventy. Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings. Eagle Poem. Everybody Has a Heartache: A Blues. How to Write a Poem in a Time of War. Insomnia and the Seven Steps to Grace. Invisible Fish. A Map to the Next World. My House is the Red Earth.
Once the World Was Perfect. Perhaps the World Ends Here. Let us the people sing. Francis is always pointing the way ahead. His poetry is a call to be satisfied with nothing less than with what is beyond, beyond our enjoyments, plans and imaginings, total surrender to the divine Beloved, for which it is always necessary to die to self. It records the large gathering of Baba followers from both East and West which was held to receive darshan from Baba in , in Pune. Five long poems each an experiment in form.
Forming a progression from the Godless world to the vision of the world cleansed and redeemed by the God-Man. My heart bunched in my rib-cage like a bat, blind and cowardly, beating in and out, a solemn, irreducible black. The things you drove me to! I walked in the calm of the house, calling you back. You did not answer. I sat in a chair and stared across the room.
The walls were bare. The mirror was nothing without you. I lay down on the couch and closed my eyes. My thoughts rose in the dark like faint balloons, and I would turn them over one by one and watch them shiver. I always fell into a deep and arid sleep. Then out of nowhere late one night you reappeared, a huge vegetable moon, a bruise coated with light. You stood before me, dreamlike and obscene, your face lost under layers of heavy skin, your body sunk in a green and wrinkled sea of clothing. I tried to help you but you refused.
Days passed and I would rest my cheek against the glass, wanting nothing but the old you.
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I sang so sadly that the neighbors wept and dogs whined with pity. Some things I wish I could forget. You didn't care, standing still while flies collected in your hair and dust fell like a screen before your eyes. You never spoke or tried to come up close. Why did I want so badly to get through to you? It still goes on. I go into the living room and you are there.
You drift in a pool of silver air where wounds and dreams of wounds rise from the deep humus of sleep to bloom like flowers against the glass. I look at you and see myself under the surface. A dark and private weather settles down on everything. It is colder and the dreams wither away. You stand like a shade in the painless glass, frail, distant, older than ever. It will always be this way. I stand here scared that you will disappear, scared that you will stay. It glides Through the sadness Of slums To the outlying fields. Slowly, Now by an ox, Now by a windmill, It moves. Passing At night like a dream Of death, it cannot be heard; under the stars It steals.
I half close my eyes. Over the damp dark of the garden flowers swing back and forth like small ballons. The solemn trees, each buried in a cloud of leaves, seem lost in sleep. It is late.
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I lie in the grass, smoking, feeling at ease, pretending the end will be like this. Moonlight falls on my flesh. A breeze circles my wrist. I drift. I shiver. I know that soon the day will come to wash away the moon's white stain, that I shall walk in the morning sun invisible as anyone. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry. The librarian does not believe what she sees. Her eyes are sad and she walks with her hands in her dress. The poems are gone.
Why Do We Quote? - 7. Arts and Rites of Quoting - Open Book Publishers
The light is dim. The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up. Their eyeballs roll, their blond legs burn like brush. The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep. She does not understand. When I get on my knees and lick her hand, she screams. I am a new man. I snarl at her and bark. I romp with joy in the bookish dark. I give up my tongue. I give up my mouth which is the contstant dream of my tongue. I give up my throat which is the sleeve of my voice. I give up my heart which is a burning apple.
I give up my lungs which are trees that have never seen the moon. I give up my smell which is that of a stone traveling through rain. I give up my hands which are ten wishes. I give up my arms which have wanted to leave me anyway. I give up my legs which are lovers only at night. I give up my buttocks which are the moons of childhood.
I give up my penis which whispers encouragement to my thighs. I give up my clothes which are walls that blow in the wind and I give up the ghost that lives in them. I give up. And you will have none of it because already I am beginning again without anything. Nothing will tell you where you are. You can walk believing you cast a light around you. But how will you know?
The present is always dark. Its maps are black, rising from nothing, describing, in their slow ascent into themselves, their own voyage, its emptiness, the bleak temperate necessity of its completion. As they rise into being they are like breath. And if they are studied at all it is only to find, too late, what you thought were concerns of yours do not exist. Your house is not marked on any of them, nor are your friends, waiting for you to appear, nor are your enemies, listing your faults. Only you are there, saying hello to what you will be, and the black grass is holding up the black stars.
I am the toy of women. My mother would prop me up for her friends. I moved my mouth but words did not come. My wife took me down from the shelf. I lay in her arms. And I lay there dumb. Now my daughter gives me a plastic nurser filled with water. Poor child! I look into the brown mirrors of her eyes and see myself diminishing, sinking down to a depth she does not know is there.
Out of breath, I will not rise again. I grow into my death. My life is small and getting smaller. The world is green. Nothing is all. I left a bowl of milk on the desk to tempt you. Nothing happened. I left my wallet there, full of money. You must have hated me for that. You never came. I sat at my typewriter naked, hoping you would wrestle me to the floor. I played with myself just to arouse you.
Boredom drove me to sleep. I offered you my wife. I sat her on the desk and spread her legs. I waited.
Examples of Poetry Genres
The days drag on. The exhausted light falls like a bandage over my eyes. Is it because I am ugly? Was anyone ever so sad? It is pointless to slash my wrists. My hands would fall off. And then what hope would I have? Why do you never come? Must I have you by being somebody else? Must I write My Life by somebody else? My Death by somebody else? Are you listening? Somebody else has arrived. Somebody else is writing. Its demands are ridiculous, you say, even self-defeating, but to be honored somehow, briefly, inconspicuously, in the dark.
When she closes her eyes in horror, you take it all back. You get on your knees. You tell her you want to bear children and that is why you seem confused. You wrinkle your brow and curse the day you were born. She tries to calm you, but you lose control. You reach for her panties and beg forgiveness as you do.
She squirms and you howl like a wolf. Your craving seems monumental. You know you will have her. Taken by storm, she is the girl you will marry. I toss all night in the cold unruffled deep of my sheets and cannot sleep. My neighbor marches in his room, wearing the sleek mask of a hawk with a large beak.
He stands by the window. A violet plume rises from his helmet's dome. The moon's light spills over him like milk and the wind rinses the white glass bowls of his eyes. His helmet in a shopping bag, he sits in the park, waving a small American Flag. He cannot be heard as he moves behind trees and hedges, always at the frayed edges of town, pulling a gun on someone like me. I crouch under the kitchen table, telling myself I am a dog, who would kill a dog?
My neighbor's wife comes home. She walks into the living room, takes off her clothes, her hair falls down her back. She seems to wade through long flat rivers of shade. The soles of her feet are black. She kisses her husband's neck and puts her hands inside his pants. My neighbors dance. They roll on the floor, his tongue is in her ear, his lungs reek with the swill and weather of hell. Out on the street people are lying down with their knees in the air, tears fill their eyes, ashes enter their ears. Their clothes are torn from their backs. Their faces are worn.
Horsemen are riding around them, telling them why they should die. My neighbor's wife calls to me, her mouth is pressed against the wall behind my bed. She says, "My husband's dead. The walls and ceiling of my room are gray — the moon's color through the windows of a laundromat. I close my eyes. I see myself float on the dead sea of my bed, falling away, calling for help, but the vague scream sticks in my throat. I see myself in the park on horseback, surrounded by dark, leading the armies of peace. The iron legs of the horse do not bend. I drop the reins.
Where will the turmoil end? Fleets of taxis stall in the fog, passengers fall asleep. Gas pours from a tricolored stack. Locking their doors, people from offices huddle together, telling the same story over and over. Everyone who has sold himself wants to buy himself back. Nothing is done. The night eats into their limbs like a blight.
Everything dims. The future is not what it used to be. The graves are ready. The dead shall inherit the dead. The eyes were yours, but they were closed and would not open. The distant sun was there.
The moon poised on the hill's white shoulder was there. The wind on Bedford Basin was there. The pale green light of winter was there.
7. Arts and Rites of Quoting
Your mouth was there, But you were not there. When somebody spoke, there was no answer. Clouds came down And buried the buildings along the water, And the water was silent. The gulls stared. The years, the hours, that would not find you Turned in the wrists of others. There was no pain. It had gone. There were no secrets. There was nothing to say. The shade scattered its ashes. The body was yours, but you were not there.
The air shivered against its skin. The dark leaned into its eyes. But you were not there. Because the house was cold. Why did you travel? Because it is what I have always done between sunset and sunrise. What did you wear? I wore a blue suit, a white shirt, yellow tie, and yellow socks. I wore nothing. A scarf of pain kept me warm. Who did you sleep with? I slept with a different woman each night. I slept alone. I have always slept alone.
Why did you lie to me? I always thought I told the truth. Because the truth lies like nothing else and I love the truth. Why are you going? Because nothing means much to me anymore. I don't know. I have never known. How long shall I wait for you? Do not wait for me. I am tired and I want to lie down. Are you tired and do you want to lie down? Yes, I am tired and I want to lie down.
Not the best day. Not the quiet. Not the ocean rocking. You went on with your dying. Not the trees Under which you walked, not the trees that shaded you. Not the doctor Who warned you, the white-haired young doctor who saved you once. Nothing could stop you. Not your son. Not your daughter Who fed you and made you into a child again.