Wednesday, January 21, 2009



We often communicate in dreamtime. This is not unusual.
I would say most of us do and aren’t aware of it.
I’d dreamed of her this last year feeding lightning with cornmeal.
And towards the end of the over forty day rainstorms that
drenched and flooded O’ahu this winter I watched and felt
a thunderstorm in the late afternoon. I have always been in awe
and amazed by their expression of poetry, of power.
I fed the lightning and realized how we feed everything
by our thoughts and actions. Everything. The storms had come
to clean the islands, and to challenge our patterns of thinking
and being. I was grateful though it was difficult,
especially for those who lost their homes, their lives.

The storm appeared to be moving away and then a tremendous crack
and light. The power was coherent and my spirit went down on its
knees. We were shaking: my spirit, the house, the earth,
and my small-self. My friend told of a similar experience with
lightning. She found the word I was searching for: visceral.
That’s it. It’s how we learn, how we know.

I did not learn how to write by first learning rules.
I did it viscerally. I practiced, read, listened, fought, gave up,
wallowed, danced. That’s how I want to teach, how to be—
I am not a literary academic, though I respect those who are
and do it well. I don’t read to analyze. I read to be inspired,
to open up other pathways of insight, even technique.
I read to be amazed, to be knocked down with awe.
I read to comprehend the depth of the soul of another traveler,
to make connection, to be connected, for coherence.
And as I write this journey and craft it into a performance
memoir I have to remember how to feed the spirit,
how to keep going through the challenges of doubt, fear,
failure, through a government that has been taken over
by destroyers, those who have forgotten their own ancestors’
stories of immigration.

Joy Harjo April 2006

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