Joy Harjo

Friday, December 16, 2016

Happy 15th Birthday, Micah!

Elemental Phoenix

Ruler of the Scranamals

Look in the sky
it is a rare sighting of the
Elemental Phoenix

He flies around the sky with
magic wings
He searches around a forest
with his powers

He loves to play with squirrels

At the end of the day
he takes a nap or two
and does it all over again

Micah Bernard
(Age 10)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Here's to the celebration of the olfactory and the circular nature of memory and desire ~


Oracle of flame
How many lives
Echo within
The coiled histories
of
One
Rose

~ ~

At the lip of amber
Wet ink
Pools within the
Circular architecture
Of memory
Becoming
Aqueous

~ ~

Oval-Eye
Rosette of protection
House
The private
And resinous
Library of the soul

~ ~

After years
At sea
Arriving
On land
Touch me…

Almost

~ ~

To look back
One last time
Desire and memory
Ask us
To trust
Without knowing


~ ~

Quivering 
Leaf to leaf
Gather the
"Immeasurable endurance"
Of
Desire


Elizabeth Salper


This poetic concoction was inspired by a La Curie perfume
Artisan perfume Tucson, Arizona

"Immeasurable endurance" from the poem The Roses XXVI

by Rainer Maria Rilke

Friday, November 11, 2016

After election heartbreak and outrage: 3 poems and a safety pin to offer my teenage son ~

When the Roses Speak, I Pay Attention

"As long as we are able to  

be extravagant we will be
hugely and damply
extravagant. Then we will drop
foil by foil to the ground. This 
is our unalterable task, and we do it
joyfully."

And they went on, "Listen,

the heart-shackles are not, as you think
death, illness, pain,
unrequited hope, not loneliness, but

lassitude, rue, vainglory, fear, anxiety,

selfishness."

Their fragrance all the while rising

from their blind bodies, making me 
spin with joy."

Mary Oliver


  ***


Good Bones


Life is short, though I keep this from  my children.

Life is short, and I've shortened mine 
in a thousand delicious ill-advised ways,
I'll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that's a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones:  This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.

Maggie Smith

from Waxwing

  ***


Gate A-4


Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.


An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her . What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”


I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”


We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours.


She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies— little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts— from her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single traveler declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo— we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.


Then the airline broke out free apple juice and two little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend— by now we were holding hands— had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.


And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate— once the crying of confusion stopped— seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.


This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

To the monsoon rains in Southern Arizona and Robert Creeley!

The Rain

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon,
so often? Is it

that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent —
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Merry Summer Solstice with the Strawberry Full Moon! AND...Happy 59th wedding anniversary to my Mom and Dad!

Solstice

How today our patron star
whose ancient vista is the long view

turns its wide brightness now and here:
Below, we loll outdoors, sing & make fire.

We build no henge
but after our swim, linger

by the pond. Dapples flicker
pine trunks by the water.

Buzz & hum & wing & song combine.
Light builds a monument to its passing.

Frogs content themselves in bullish chirps,
hoopskirt blossoms

on thimbleberries fall, peeper toads
hop, lazy —

     Apex. The throaty world sings ripen.
Our grove slips past the sun's long kiss.

We dress.
We head home in other starlight.

Our earthly time is sweetening from this.

Tess Taylor




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day

Before You Cut Loose

                                         put dogs on the list
of difficult things to lose. Those dogs ditched
on the North York Moors or the Sussex Downs
or hurled like bags of sand from rented cars
have followed their noses to market towns
and bounced like balls in their owners's arms.
I heard one story of a dog that swam
to the English coast from from the Isle of Man,
and a dog that carried eggs and bacon
and a morning paper from the village
surfaced umpteen leagues and two years later,
bacon eaten but the eggs unbroken,
newsprint dry as tinder, to the letter.
A dog might wander the width of the map
to bury its head in its owner's lap,
crawl the last mile to dab a bleeding paw
against its own front door. To die at home,
a dog might walk its four legs to the bone.
You can take off the the tag and the collar
but a dog wears one coat and one colour.
A dog got rid of -- that's a dog for life.
No dog howls like a dog kicked out at night.
Try looking a dog like that in the eye.

Simon Armitage

Thursday, April 7, 2016

It's National Poetry Month!

Squash Under the Bed

There was always crooked-neck squash under our beds.
The space under the bed met the criteria of a cool, dark, dry place.
These large, hard-skinned squash with speckled, serrated,
green and yellow designs shared space under our beds
with new cowboy boots, lost socks, forgotten toys,
dust and little spiders.
The squash rested under there with our memory of summer.
Awaiting winter darkness.
With the cold weather, we split the hard skin and expose the
rich yellow meat inside, the bounty of large seeds entangled
in the wetness of their origin.
We saved the seeds for next summer.
We eat the soft, sweet meat of the winter squash.
We swallow the warmth of summer.

Ofelia Zepeda

From Where Clouds Are Formed