Sunday, March 05, 2017


"My Spirit Said to Me" by Troy's Work Table.

Sidewalk chalk wash, sidewalk chalk, chalk pastels, and charcoal pencil on 12" x 12" concrete board.


"The next morning, my friend and I have walked down / from the village to help gather, when we hear the killing / committee coming for us.” and “I linger out over the sea, and my soul’s helper who has been / with me through the stories of my being says, 'You can go / back and change the story.'" —“You Can Change the Story, My Spirit Said to Me as I Sat Near the Sea” by Joy Harjo, as found in Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings


I like poems that challenge my assumptions. This poem by Joy Harjo does that. It blends the dream world and the real world. It brings mythology into our midst.

Simultaneously, this poem proposes things that I actually believe: (1) that there is value in the stories we tell ourselves; (2) that there is power in the stories we tell ourselves; and (3) that we can change the stories we tell ourselves, and therefore change the value and steal the power for ourselves.


The trickster in this case is a victim of violence and therefore “flips” the way that I expect the story to function. The trickster is not the protagonist, but a “minor” character, who nonetheless causes the story to move forward.

"When I return to present earth time, I can still hear the / singing." Even as the poem comes to a close, the worlds still merge and weave, wax and wane, in their encounters with one another.

I am satisfied with the conclusion of the story within the story. There is justice on the backside of potential injustice. There is truth in the telling.

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