living every-man's nightmare?
by t. zoEy benally

three-thousand-five-hundred-sixty-two-dollars and fifty cents
for a metal detector, to pick out criminals in a lined up crowd
catch them at the door, comb out blood cells from plasma
at least until your comb clogs, infested with plague bacteria
and you can no longer swallow, digest, and begin to starve
begin to regurgitate disease back into the world

the sun was out in Scottsdale last week on Loop 101
elevated lanes flying over urbanization stamps, strip malls
plazas, shopping centers, identical houses with half baths
contractors pretend they don't covet, peripherally peek, Salt and Gila River
the city bulges against invisible lines, perhaps biochemical
US government laid down centuries ago, when all this was worthless

economic development is their new game, our new reality
defined by the televis-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-sion, you need what we have
don't you know? Navajos don't want one room hogans, muddy shoes
Navajos want Crownpoint in-situ uranium mining, Burnham power plant
bringing jobs, 49% controlling stock, but only after four years of
foreign control, deceptively white clouds plumed over Sanostee

this place never changes, to the unobservant eye, the same dust
they don't notice, different shades of lipstick smeared on empty 40s
don't notice the water is flavored with songs of Uranium daughters
they ignore the little girl studying every day for her trip east
miss the people planning, organizing, gathering forces of change
to save sacred mountains from manufactured sewage snow


Methuselah Would Know
by t. zoEy benally

the question, page corner torn off and chewed, mashed down
to a pulp pea, not really the same as gum, potential spit wad
--would Dine' from six hundred years ago know us as Dine'?

if we were some how able to cipher the molecules of reality
travel to six hundred years ago, would my clan even exist?
Naneesht'eezhi Taachiinii, one of two sisters from another tribe

six hundred years would be nothing for Methuselah
coiled on dolomite White Mountain slopes, 4,767 years of icy wind
yes there are rocks older, i know, but a tree, new cells, it's different

would communication even be possible with a 1405 Dine'?
or would we be counted as "those that we fight with," bilighaana
our 2005 tongues fattened, dulled by potatoes, mutton, flour, sugar

would they see the chaos, glittering in our eyes, unsymmetric existence
would we see a different definition of harmony? balance on another plane
un-white washed by noble savage incarnations, Hollywood tea seeped in

what would they say about the discarded diaper that still sits along
the south fence of the fairgrounds? would we be easy game, DNA
readily accessible to their yang, ancient biologic warfare kung-fu?

Methuselah, Pinus longaeva, sequestered in plain site, would know
results of this encounter, a tree who has felt millennia borne on frigid winds
Methuselah, only, would be qualified to choose
an appropriate representative to make this journey

thanks Nate for the inspiration. Nate-->muse for a day. thanks for an answer to this question that has been bouncing around in my brain for some time. z


one word: interior
by t. zoEy benally

tan fire feeding walls, filled with styrofoam and cotton candy fiberglass
floors slathered with pumpkin carpet that preceeded the avent of harvest
only saving grace is that it's finger hooks are 1/8th inch, no where near shag
top it all off with petroleum based, explosive white plastic, massive fire ball fodder
this is the interior of the trailer that i live in


7 miles from Cortez
by t. zoEy benally

seven miles from Cortez we spiral, curve along fingerprints
black rubber smooches black asphalt, decomposed eons
different forms of prehistoric molecules touch, spark memories
extinct volcanoes, elemental times, penetrating gas, vapors, metals
salts & all powerful gravity still tethering creatures to earth

seven miles from Cortez is the juniper, cedar & pine
gateway back to another time, younger than highway
atoms, not as ancient as oil and hydrocarbons
igneous rock cooled enough to be handled by symbiotic
communities, humans, shaped into blocks, walls, wide homes

seven miles from Cortez, to the south and seven generations
fast forward to when pit bulls and rotteys fill Navajo corrals
how long until butchered dog swings by one leg from the tree?
Naahwiilbiihi has slipped from his prison in our minds, and again
owns whole families, slaves, who insist that yes and no both mean yes