Several years ago, Joy Harjo sent me her new book of poems: Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, (New York: W H Norton, 2015). This mid-week morning I decided to return to two pieces from Conflict Resolution. Taut, clean words that opened my soul this winter morning shrugging into its January morning warm jacket of low flying clouds. Over our city, over our McNichols Campus, over our part of a land just now worn down with fear and anger and high-pitched debating. Not only our neighborhood, not only, even, our country . . . our world. That’s why I am leading with Warsan Shire’s world Atlas and following with two sayings from Joy Harjo’s 2015 book of poems, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, (New York: W H Norton, 2015).
Joy, thank you.
Try reading each out loud, with some slow breathing in between.
Back Friday have a blest day.
Today’s post # 1 Joy Harjo – “Conflict Resolution”
Humans were created by mistake. Someone laughed
and we came crawling out. That was the beginning
of the story; we were hooked then. What a wild
dilemma, how to make it to the stars, on a highway
slick with fear —
Listened to an alto sax player jamming on the street.
He played a few jazz standards, mostly popular tunes
the people would know who changed buses there. Nice
tone. I walked from the hotel into the dusk of the city to
listen closer, to speak with him. l We shared names, gear
info, and other stories of the saxophone road. He told
me, “I’m making a living out of small hopes . . . “ There’s
someting about a lone horn player blowing ballads at
the corners of our lives.”
Today’s Post # 2
Warsan Shire – “what they did yesterday afternoon”
they set my aunts house on fire
i cried the way women on tv do
folding at the middle
like a five pound note.
i called the boy who use to love me
tried to ‘okay’ my voice
i said hello
he said warsan, what’s wrong, what’s happened?
i’ve been praying,
and these are what my prayers look like;
i come from two countries
one is thirsty
the other is on fire
both need water.
later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
where does it hurt?