“Do not feed the monsters.
Some are wandering thought forms, looking for a place
to set up house.
Some are sent to you deliberately. They come from
arrows of gossip, jealousy, or envy–and inadvertently
They feed on your attention, and feast on your fear.”
So goes one of the transitional pieces in this relatively short, but expansive collection of poems by Joy Harjo. Harjo’s poems tap into a kind of timelessness and world-spirituality looking for longer visions of clarity and peace. What I mean by this is that this feels very much like a response to the response to our current political world. Time is not allowed to pass in the world right now because there’s a sense of a ticking time bomb on climate change, the ways in which the president can tie up and elongate a news cycle with absurdity and cruelty blended together, and the ways in which what was once a 24 hour news cycle because of cable tv, is not everpresent in our very bodies and phones. Harjo is here to remind us: this too shall pass. There’s always been bigger battles and there will be in the future as well.
“This Morning I Pray for my Enemies
And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.”