Tuesday, November 01, 2005

And if I Awaken in Los Angeles - Joy Harjo

I will find a crazy boy teetering there
on the sidewalk against morning traffic,
too far gone to even ask for a quarter.
I will hear his mother call for him,
her spirit confused by the taste
of sadness,
and though she searches for him
she will never find him here.

And if I awaken in Los Angeles
I will hear the lost beloved one
sing Billie Holiday in my ear--
she lives in a parallel universe,
is kind to rats and does
no harm to anyone.

And if I awaken in Los Angeles I will know
that I am not the only dreamer.
I will appear in the vision of a dove
who perches on the balcony
of the apartment.
In his translation I am the human with a store
of birdseed. He is the sun.
I am a fruitful planet.

And if I awaken in Los Angeles
I will not have to get up and say my prayers
to the east, and look out over the city of millions,
past the heads of palm trees, through foggy breezes--
because I will be a prayer as I perform the rituals
of being a human.
There will
be no difference
near and far.

This morning I have too much to do to awaken.
I say my prayers, feed the birds,
then head to the refrigerator and forget.