Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Poem, From Our Table To Yours

I am lucky enough to be spending today with my family, but I needed to take a moment to thank you. It has been a rough year, but it's also been a wonderful one. I am in constant awe of the positivity and support that pours in and out of this little operation and I couldn't be more grateful to share this community we've built together. Thank you so much for your fairy dust, I sprinkle {that $h!+} everywhere.

Yesterday was a busy and beautiful day. Our ITLT Co-captain Leon stopped by a child trauma center with a HANDmade Thanksgiving wreath and hands for the kids to use in their own projects, while I headed down town. My first stop was at the Midnight Mission. An organization called Dirty Model Movement (named for the idea that you have to get your hands dirty to be a model citizen) coordinated a group volunteer day, so we gathered to feed several hundred people. I was put to work in the kitchen washing and chopping celery, then I worked on the food line serving bread first and then hot tamales and salad. After they ate, socks were passed out, so of course I came bearing two bags of new socks collected at our recent Knock Knock Give a Sock/ITLT Lonely Socks Drive. It was an incredibly exhausting and rewarding experience, and I can't wait to go back! My next stop was at the Downtown Women's Center where I dropped off another box of socks, several packs of new underwear, and the specially made holiday cards created by the Associated Student Union at LA Valley College. After I hopped into their cafe to grab my favorite iced chai tea latte (where the woman asked me if I worked at DWC because she's seen me several times - that was pretty cool...), I headed back to the domestic violence women's shelter in the San Fernando Valley. At Haven Hills, I dropped off a giant bag of clothes hangers, courtesy of Tula Cosmetics, and of course more HANDmade Thanksgiving wreaths and extra hands for the kids at the shelter. It was a very fulfilling day and I wouldn't have wanted to spend the day before Thanksgiving any other way! Thank you SO much to everyone who contributed to sharing all that positivity energy with me around Los Angeles yesterday.

If you have a spare moment today, I've shared below one of my favorite poems of all time.  I had the honor of working with Joy Harjo (Muskogee Creek) on her one-woman show, Wings of Morning Light, Wings of Night Sky, in San Diego at the La Jolla Playhouse and Los Angeles with Native Voices at the Autry. Her work is a gorgeous collection of Native American values, and I fell in love with this particular poem when I first read it. This is not a Thanksgiving poem whatsoever-- has nothing to do with it. However, if you are lucky enough to be with your family, think of Joy's words as you gather around the kitchen table today.

Perhaps the World Ends Here

By Joy Harjo
The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.

"Perhaps the World Ends Here" from The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Joy Harjo. Copyright © 1994 by Joy Harjo.
Source: The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1994)