Larry Brody’s Poetry: How I Met the Navajo Dog

by Larry Brody

kidhollywoodcovercoyotecaptureNOTE FROM LB: 

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Or at least the moment I’d been waiting for all my life until it happened. Not that I knew it – then.

How I Met the Navajo Dog

People ask how I met my friend the Navajo dog.

I tell them a story about driving cross-country

And being called to her side while passing through

Gallup, in New Mexico. Suddenly, while driving down

West Aztec Boulevard I knew that my dog was waiting for me.

No, not in Gallup. That would have been too easy.

Farther north, in the place named,

By European immigrants and not the People who lived

There,  Monument Valley. I drove to Navajo Country,

And there she was, a puppy then,

With her mother and a sister, living in the

Shadow of the rock called the Left Mitten, and

When she saw me, the little red and white creature

(With ears like a bat and a mask over both eyes)

Jumped into my car. “Let’s go,” she said. “Come

On.” A Navajo woman was watching, and she

Assured me it was just fine. “The mother’s been

chasing sheep,” she told me. “We’re going to

Shoot her in the morning. Her and her pups that have

Survived.” I took the dog to a small pet shop in Kayenta (even

The Navajo nation has malls), and got her some food,

And two bowls, and a collar and leash.

The Navajo dog ate the food, drank some water,

Bore the collar, and munched up the leash. Her

Eyes said, “I can only go so far.” That evening,

We went to the laundromat, where I

Asked advice on her name. Everyone had a

Different Navajo word for it: “Bandit,” “Wolf,” “Fox,”

“Thief,” but the Navajo dog ignored them, and

Wouldn’t respond.

That night, as I slept in the cheapest motel room,

I heard the dog’s voice. “I am Navajo,” she said

Proudly. “I live with the desert. I drink

Mud from indented rocks. I eat horse dung and

Cheetos, and I feel both the past and the future

Inside. I am Navajo,” she repeated with pride.

“I am alone, yet together. I am of the People

Five times cursed and blessed.

Stick with me, kid,” she said, “and look forward

And backward. Let the present take care of

Itself. Stick with me, kid, and take the kicks

And the beatings, the heat and the hunger,

The cold of a ground so frozen you can only be

Buried with fire.

I am the People,” she said. “Stick with me,

And you too will be cursed and blessed,

For such,” she moaned sadly,

“Is the way of the Navajo dog.”

See? A true story. True, every word.

For that too is the

Way of the Navajo dog.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, as the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, “Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you lost your vision, and yourself.” It was the first time LB ever heard a dog scoff. But not the last.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: Kid Hollywood Produces

by Larry Brody

kidhollywoodcovercoyotecaptureNOTE FROM LB: 

I’m back in Hollywood here, livin’ the life and playin’ the game! Oh joy! Oh Rapture! Oh…shit? This could be the most important thing any aspiring showbiz type will read. But if you’re a real aspirant, you’ll ignore it – like me:

Kid Hollywood Produces

Kid Hollywood sits at a desk wider than

Cleopatra’s barge. The sign on his door says,

“Producer,” and he makes more money each

Week than his father made in a year. He looks

Around at his paneled walls, and he sighs, “It

Is good.”

Kid Hollywood is all of twenty-nine, and his first

Casting session is about to begin. The director

Sits at Kid Hollywood’s side. “I want somebody

Who isn’t just acting the part,” the director explains.

“I want him to be the part.” A psycho killer? Kid

Hollywood doesn’t know if he wants to meet the

Right actor, after all.

But he tries. They come in, and go out, come

In and leave some more, and no one is a psycho

Killer, because everyone is scared.

In Kid Hollywood’s new office, fear is a character

All by itself. Every actor brings in a new aspect,

And leaves it to grow. There’s the silent terror,

And the shaky panic,

And the rage.

There’s the arrogant denial,

And the meek acquiescence,

And the rage.

The tremulous lip,

The quavering voice,

The rage.

The “How do you want it?”

“Is this okay?”

“Anything in particular I ought to know?”

The rage.

The fear takes tangible form. Kid Hollywood

Hears it first, a whisper of uncertain hate.

Then he smells it, the sweat of fallen self-respect.

Then he sees it, the psycho killer, exactly as

Written, but not played. Finally, Kid Hollywood

Has to stop. He needs time to give the fear

In the corner a break, a chance to dissipate,

To dissolve, and leave the new office born-again

Pure.

“Let’s go over to the Blue Room, have something

To eat,” says the director, and Kid Hollywood rises.

“Let’s,” he says.

“Let’s…

Let’s…”

Let’s away! Away! Before it’s too late!

The voice in the Kid’s mind is shrill.

You’re not yet thirty! Let’s find another place!

Let’s…

Let’s…

Let’s…

Kid Hollywood and the director eat in the Blue Room,

Charge the meal to the show. They return to the

Office, and the actors, and the readings,

And in the corner the Kid’s new roommate

Not only hangs on, but continues to grow.

It grows for the rest of the season,

Coming not just from the actors,

But from everyone who walks in the door.

Even Kid Hollywood no longer is immune,

His too the sound, the smell, and the sight.

Still, his desk is longer

Than Marc Antony’s trireme,

And the paneling is dark and burnished,

Real wood not veneer.

And all the job requires

Is that the Kid share his space with the fear.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, “As the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, ‘Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you compromise your artistic vision by trying to please those who are paying. If you don’t accept money, you can be yourself. Like your art, you too are free.’” Actually, she said it much shorter.

Larry Brody’s Poetry: “I Can Mention No Names”

by Larry Brody

kidhollywoodcovercoyotecaptureNOTE FROM LB: 

We’re in the Hopi lands this time. Where I learned a lesson about names. And power. And the subtle, supernatural way even the so-called “War of the Sexes” can be waged:

I Can Mention No Names

I can mention no names.
To name my friends is to give
Others power over them. To name
My friends and discuss their magic
Is to make the magic go away.
So we have my friend the wild Indian,
And the Hopi elder,
And even the Navajo dog, who to this
Day has herself never told me what
She really is called.
I can mention no names, out of respect
And hope, that someday the world my
Words create will be true. But I speak now
Of the wife of the Hopi elder, who has
Missed out on the most simple of
Pleasures, living like the shadow of
A hint of a shade. I learned this
One day at First Mesa, sitting at her
Kitchen table, talking to her man. He is
Sixty-five, she fifty-seven, and she cannot
Recall one moment of her life as having
Been without him. Still, as the elder and I
Spoke of the wonders we’ve seen, of the
Stars, and the animals, the visions, and
Dreams, the wife of the Hopi elder looked
Wistful, and sad. “I have been married to this
Man for forty years,” she said to me. “He has
Danced, and flown, and heard, and seen,
And felt and laughed, and cried, and died.
He walked through stone once, and made
The mark of the eagle on his arm. He heard
The Great Spirit prophecise, and debated
Several fine points. My husband not only
Knows the beginning and end of creation,
He has been to both places, seen them
Whirl into one endless time. He has been
Part of the earth, both mother and her own
Child. Ah,” said the wife of the Hopi elder,
“He has been! He has been!
But I have worked,” she said. “I have harvested
The corn, and husked it, and ground it. I have
Gone out with the sheep, and slaughtered the
Ewes. On my stove, for forty years, has been
Coffee, and the simmering pot of mutton stew.
I have cleaned! I have sewn! I have raised
Two boys, and put on their band-aids, and
His. I have watched them all drunk, and listened
To their lies, and their wishes, and their
Magicked rewards.
But never,” she told me, in a soft, softened
Voice, “never have I seen the stars dance.
Never have I had a vision, or heard an animal
Speak. Never have I remembered a dream.
I love my husband, but never, no never, not
One time, and in no place, have I shared this
Man’s everyday life.”
I can mention no names.
To name my friends is to give
Others power over them. To name
My friends and discuss their magic
Is to make the magic go away.
The wife of the Hopi elder knows this
Far better than I.
She says she has no need to be afraid.
She says to tell you her name is Lurleen.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, “As the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, ‘Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you compromise your artistic vision by trying to please those who are paying. If you don’t accept money, you can be yourself. Like your art, you too are free.’”

LB’s Poetry: “Just Send Us Your Credits, And Your Most Recent Samples Too”

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

 

It’s a showbiz world, kids, and has been for awhile. I first realized this fact back in the early ’90s, and one byproduct of my attempt to grapple with the New Reality Paradigm was this poem, which, yes, still seems pretty damn true.

Just Send Us Your Credits, And Your Most Recent Samples Too

God was quite a showman six thousand years ago.

Look at all that stuff with Moses, for example.

The staff turning into a serpent was just openers.

God called out the plagues. Famine, and

Pestilence, even frogs, for Christ’s sake!

But what impresses me is how God kept hardening

Pharaoh’s heart. Remember? Pharaoh kept caving

In, telling Moses, “Okay, you win.”

But then God would make him change his mind.

And why? Because if Moses won too easily

God wouldn’t be admired. He’d be no

Big Deal God at all. Wouldn’t need the whirling cyclone

Leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Wouldn’t need the

Grand finale at the Red Sea.

The whole thing was scripted, stage-managed, and

Produced by God Himself for His own personal

Glory. But what I want to know is what’s happened to

Him since. Is He retired? Resting on His laurels?

Showing His trophies to various angels and

Remembering the good old days? And what about

The triumphant comeback? Will He be making it soon?

Or is the show still going on, with no one watching,

No one getting what He’s trying to do?


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, “As the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, ‘Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you compromise your artistic vision by trying to please those who are paying. If you don’t accept money, you can be yourself. Like your art, you too are free.’”

Who is the Navajo Dog? Keep coming back and you’ll see.

LB’s Poetry: “The World is Full of Dead Men”

by Larry Brody

NOTE FROM LB: 

The Navajo Dog is here! In this very poem. First one I ever wrote about her but didn’t get to her origin (well, she is a kind of superhero, after all) until much later.

But now you know she’s real, in the way that all poetry is real, and far beyond it as well. My teacher, my support system, back when I first went tracking the magic from Santa Fe to Monument Valley to Pine Ridge to Chaco Canyon, and uncountable (or unaccountable) points in between.

This is one of the first lessons the Navajo Dog ever taught me. And the wisdom and magic and pure, “Of course-ness” of it still keeps me going today.

The World Is Full Of Dead Men

The world is full of dead men.

I have this from the Navajo dog.

We were coming back from a walk

Along the arroyo, and it sounded to me like

She was bragging again. I asked her why,

If her people’s medicine was so mighty,

When it was them versus Kit Carson, they lost the war.

“It’s the dead men,” the dog said to me.

“They’re unbeatable. Law of nature, and all.” She

Stared after a passing rabbit. “Our medicine is the

Medicine of the soul,” she said. “It’s the spirit of the

Medicine worker versus the spirit of the evil he

Needs to drive out. Everything has a spirit,

Except the Kit Carsons of the world.

Their souls were eaten long ago.”

She eyed a low-flying crow.

“No soul means nothing to work on. Means

We lose our ass.”

“World’s worse now,” I said.

“More dead men,” said the Navajo dog. “Some are the cause, and

Some the effect.”

Another rabbit ran by. She gave chase, and bit off its head,

Said a prayer to beg its pardon.


Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, “As the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, ‘Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you compromise your artistic vision by trying to please those who are paying. If you don’t accept money, you can be yourself. Like your art, you too are free.’”

Who is the Navajo Dog? Keep coming back and you’ll see.