Joy Harjo - Mourning Song lyrics
It's early evening here in the small world, where gods gamble for good weather as the sky turns red. Oh grief rattling around in the bowl of my skeleton. How I'd like to spit you out, turn you into another human, or remake the little dog spirit who walked out of our house without its skin toward an unseen land. We were left behind with the night, turn to the gleaming house of bones under your familiar brown skin. The hot stone of our hearts will make a fire. If we cry more tears we will ruin the land with salt; instead let's praise that which would distract us with despair. Make a song for d**h, a guest who eats everything and refuses to leave. A song for bad weather so we can stand together under our leaking roof, and make a terrible music with our wise and ragged bones.
In the city in which I live are many homeless people. They congregate near the post office and coffeehouse I frequent. I've gotten to know one woman by name, though another woman terrifies me with her quiet insanity. I make a wide circle around her and feel guilty every time I see her. I'm especially disturbed when I see my Indian relatives suffering such a loss. Often they are the very tribe whose land is now called Albuquerque.
Because my family has suffered from the destruction of alcohol, as have most Indian families in this land, I don't want to encourage the drinking with spare change, but I also understand the need to deaden the pain. It's a quandary I haven't settled.
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Once far down the sidewalk I spotted two Indian men who were asking pa**ersby for money. I tried to make myself invisible so I wouldn't have to confront the pain, but they saw me anyway. I was shocked to recognize my old friend, a tall good-looking Navajo who always had a good story.
He was filthy, his hair thick with lice. He also recognized me and couldn't let it pa** that I had gained some weight since my svelte twenties! We laughed and hugged each other, then cried.
I am still thinking of him and how each of us chooses our path daily, though our choices often appear limited by race, s** and cla**.
Knowing him the way I did I couldn't help but think he'd made a choice to be a modern warrior, and could gather more crucial knowledge from the streets of this city than he could have on a track called success by the colonizers.