Joy Harjo posts reports here on her trips and other happenings.
I am in mourning. Our freedoms are dying. Our privacy is taking its last breaths. Our so-called leaders smell rankly of greed. And I realized a few months ago, as I drank fresh spring water as it erupted between stones outside of Anchorage,Alaska that my grandchildren have never tasted water that hasn't be contaminated with floride, plastic or some other chemical. Tonight I am mourning the Pacific that has blessed these islands. Tons of raw sewage from tourist-laden Waikiki has spewed into the ocean, and now the currents have deposited it back on the most beautiful stretch of beachfront in the world. How's that for "poetic justice"?
Forward from Andre Cramblit, and it was forwarded to him from someone at Dartmouth--
New American Century Dictionary of Politically Correct Neo-Conservative Terminologies
Alternative energy sources n. New locations to drill for gas and oil.
Bankruptcy n. 1. A punishable crime when committed by poor people. 2. A responsible business decision when exercised by corporations. 3. The condition of America after Dubya (no more stinkin' liberal entitlement programs to deal with).
Compassionate conservatism n. Poignant concern for the very wealthy.
Cheney, Dick n. The greater of two evils.
Climate change n. 1. The day when the blue states are swallowed by the oceans. 2. A heretical belief that should be punishable by death if not publicly recanted.
Creationism n. Pseudo science that claims George W. Bush's resemblance to a chimpanzee is totally coincidental.
Conservative n. 1. [archaic]: One who believed in small government, honesty, balanced budgets, responsibility and accountability. 2. [current] One who believes in unquestioning loyalty without the necessity of all that other baggage.
Corruption n. An outmoded concept that has outlived its usefulness. No longer applicable.
DeLay, Tom. 1. v. Past tense of De Lie; 2. n. Patronage saint.
Democracy n. A saleable commodity so extensively exported that the domestic supply is depleted.
Election n. Political theater for the masses with results predetermined by Diebold.
Emergency Preparedness n. A bureaucratic exercise in finding incompetents to place in positions of authority in order to get kick-backs [aka political contributions] from their exorbitant tax-payer-funded salaries.
Faith n. Jesus would say Dubya has your best interests at heart... honest!
Fox News n. [Probably an Anglicism of the French; Faux News] Fiction.
Free markets n. Halliburton no-bid contracts at taxpayer expense.
Girly men n. Males who do not grope women inappropriately.
Growth n. 1. The justification for tax cuts for the rich. 2. What happens to the national debt when Republicans cut taxes on the rich.
Habeas corpus n. [Lat.] Archaic Legal term no longer in use (See Patriot Act).
Health Insurance n. 1. A policy to deal with unexpected health problems, funded by taxpayers, if you are a Congressman. 2. An unaffordable financial drain for all individuals who are not in the top 1% income bracket.
Healthy forest n. No tree left behind.
House of Representatives n. Exclusive club; entry fee $1 million to $5 million.
Honesty n. Lies told in simple declarative sentences--e.g., "Things are going well in Iraq."
Intelligence n. Reports issued by the NSA, CIA and FBI that say whatever Cheney and Rumsfeld tell them to say.
Intelligent Design n. A science wherein objective observations are suppressed and discarded in favor of a preordained belief system.
Iran n. The next middle-eastern puppet "democracy" to be established through bombing.
Laziness n. Term used to describe any period of time when the poor are not working.
Leisure time n. Term used to describe any period of time when the wealthy are not working.
Lobbyist n. Former government employee responsible for rubber-stamping decisions made by his current employer.
Neo-con n. 1. New con job (see truth). 2. Those who execute new con jobs.
No Child Left Behind n. Government policy that insures success for all through guaranteed jobs in the military.
Non-profit Organization n. A totally unimportant and irrelevant concept.
Ownership society n. A civilization where 1 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth.
Patriot Act n. The pre-emptive strike on American freedoms to prevent the terrorists from destroying them first.
Pension n. 1. [archaic] A contractually-obligated responsibility of a company to reward loyal workers with a livable stipend at retirement. 2. [current usage] An unaffordable business liability that stands in the way of larger CEO bonuses.
Pro-life adj. Term used to describe those who value and fund control of human life from conception until birth, regardless of the wishes of those actually involved.
Public Good n. What? It's the age of global corporations: get with the program!
Roadless areas n. An example of ancient American history.
Senate n. Exclusive club; entry fee $10 million to $30 million.
Simplify v. To cut the taxes of Republican donors.
Stay the course interj. Slang. Saying and doing the same insane thing over and over, regardless of the result.
Social Security n. An unjustified redistribution of wealth to the undeserving [see Pension].
Terrorists n.(pl) All who disagree with President Bush.
Tort Reform n. A methodology for making profits without regard to the effectiveness or safety of products and/or services rendered.
Truth n. Lies repeated until they are accepted as truth.
Voter fraud n. A term used to describe significant minority turnout.
Wal-Mart n. Model for the future nation-state.
Water n. Arsenic storage device.
Woman n. 1. Person who can be trusted to bear a child but can't be trusted to decide whether or not she wishes to have the child. 2. Person who must have all decisions regarding her reproductive functions made by men with whom she wouldn't want to have sex in the first place.
9/11 n. Tragedy used to justify any administrative policy.
Just finished sending my first podcast, It's Raining in Honolulu. Actually should be it's raining and raining and raining here. I keep remembering Tayo cursing the rain in Silko's "Ceremony" (no underlining available here), and how his curse contributed to the drought. So, I don't curse rather make friends with the rain, rather, thank it for the cleansing and ask that it cross over the water to my friends and relatives in New Mexico and Oklahoma. They would welcome a visit. In fact, the rain could move in for awhile, all their relatives,too. I was saddened to see the Rio Grande nearly completely dry when I was back that way last week.
The podcast took several hours of technical manueverings just to get a simple voice recording to here, and my webmaster Karen Strom's patient guidance. I have found that even these machines and programs respond to the energy of touch, focus and emotional field. If I get upset they go more haywire (or haysignal) so I walk away, breath instead of spewing venom. Venom only attracts venom. And I've upgraded and what used to work just doesn't now. Even systems resist change!
I planned on adding a touch of John Coltrane's "After the Rain", on my horn, not his because of copyright. I love this tune because it is soulful, it is Coltrane talking to god, to the god of heartbreak after a sweet and needed rain. And it will give me the perspective of "after the rain".
What's most disturbing is the relentless pouring of sewage into the ocean via the Ala Wai Canal because of flooding and faulty pipes. When I flew in a few days ago and we dipped toward the city before landing, the Ala Wai and the boat harbor there were brown with sewage. I wanted to go swimming when I got back. Can't.
We are witnessing the end of an age. We must make note of it, write and sing about it so people remember, so that this ongoing disrespect of the earth, the creatures, plants, stars, planets, all life does not happen again.
Now after the two posts I realize that within the western cultural context that to eat whale after a whale exhibited "humanitarian" qualities might be considered a sacriledge.
Within an indigenous context it's different. You don't chase down an animal and kill it. The animal gives itself to you, after the path has been cleared by ritual and prayer. There's a pride of craft and skill of hunting on both sides. Dignity and respect are crucial--otherwise the process sours. This goes for every act, every interaction.
And given the state of humanness these last few years "humanitarian" might take on a different shade of meaning. Many animals know "how to act". Many humans have forgotten how to act.
Thank you Linda Charlton for this one:
If you read the front page story of the SF Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 14, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body-her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her-a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.
They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around-she thanked them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
We are witnesses in these times. Everyone of us. Yesterday the Empire made it clear that it will continue its invasion and takeover of another country. This is a country that has not attacked us. This is an oil-rich country. It is not Christian. In U.S. military lingo the people have been compared to American Indians. The Empire is being run by a fundamentalist Christian agenda. With this is a belief that they inherit the earth. As Silko said in her poem "Witchery", "The earth is dead for them." We are witnessing unprecedented weather changes. Here in New Mexico there has been little or no rain. In Hawaii we are experiencing historic floods and rain. Even if humans forget, Earth will not. Earth memory is massive. Our memories are utterly linked. If we separate ourselves from Earth knowledge, we will be separated from ourselves.
Last night I was gifted with a whale feast in my hotel room in the Hotel Santa Fe. My friend from Gambell on St. Lawrence Island gave me whale meat last fall. I saved it until we could get together and share it. She's been very homesick so we decided this was the time. I'm also back in New Mexico and will visit with students at Santa Fe Indian School today. And best of all, my son was able to come down from the North to be with me. She brought her ulu, (the name different in her dialect but I cannot recall it this morning) and a cutting board. She also brought seasoned salt and soy sauce. I bought frozen blueberries that had defrosted perfectly to half frozen.
She skillfully cut the whale and we had a small ceremony in honor of this whale gift. I learned that I like whale meat. It's tasty, kind of meaty. I didn't need the salt or soy sauce, only a chaser once in a while of blueberries. My son said it tasted like prime rib. My friend smiled all evening, her spirit shining with Home and whale memory.
NOTE: I will also be podcasting this next week. The last few weeks I've been staying a reservation and hanging out with family--not much access to the internet.
Sorry I’m not the correspondent I should be
And the lines of correspondence between a Christian heaven
And earthly paradise don’t match up.
They never will, unless the trinity includes a female.
It’s common sense theory: how can genesis erupt
Without the passion of opposites?
It’s the first lesson as we emerge from the door of the mother.
We need companions in the after life.
In the after of birth, the after of learning to walk, then run as our dreams emerge from the top of our sweaty heads in a rainbow tatter.
Some of them tuck in their gills
And breathe. Then the creation story starts all over again.
Every time I round that bend on University Street, headed toward Menaul—there I am again running away from your VW stuffed full
with half the native students of the university.
I ran for years after that first clogged breath, made that ragged journey that every mother bears until the end.
Paradise is the Sun born from the mothering sky to here.
And those wet lines of false moralizing going along the spirit path
of Old Crow.
We always saw the truth together, no matter
my sorry-ass high drama.
c Joy Harjo March 7, 2006