Joy Harjo reading two poems at the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival

Joy Harjo reading two poems at the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival



No yes that was me you saw shaking with bravery but the government-issued rifle on my back I'm sorry I could not greet you as you deserved my relative they were not my tears I have a reservoir inside they will be cried by my sons my daughters if I can't learn how to turn tears to stone yes that was me standing at the back door of the house in the alley with fresh corn and bread for the neighbors I did not foresee the flood of blood how they would forget our friendship would return to kill the babies and me yes that was me whirling on the dance floor we made such a racket with all that joy I love the whole world in that silly music I did not realize the terrible dance and the staccato of bullets yes I smelled the burning grease of corpses and like a fool I expected we might rise up and jam the artillery in the high hands of dictators we had to keep going we had to keep going we had to keep going yeah yeah aaaa we sang our grief to clean the era of turbulent spirits yes I did see the terrible black clouds as I cooked dinner and the messages of the dying they're spelled there in the ashy sunset everyone addressed mother there was nothing about it in the news everything was the same unemployment was up another queen crowned with flowers then there were the sports scores yes the distance was great between your country and mine yet our children played in the path between our houses no we had no quarrel with each other and this one is called no hooli and hooli and Hawaiian means don't turn over and I'm an outrigger canoe paddler I've been into racing and the ocean and the canoe has taught me a lot but the first thing you learn when you go out in the canoe is how to hula how to turn over right now we're in a Big O canoe together and we better start practicing how to hula okay so it's a little porn it's a song same thing and the word elway that I'm singing means poor thing away away away away away away away away away away away yay we failed a little dip the wound in water wrap it in a song climb in the canoe away away away away away away away away away away away and yay paddle out from the weeping let the failing fail let the Stars bare trouble let the canoe carry what we cannot bury away away away away away away away away away away away you

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