one word: ceremony
by t. zoEy benally

days filled with sandy food, sleepy relatives
smoke rubbed against roast mutton
spiraled hours poured out of aluminum shasta cans
carbonated water fills layered footprints, attracts ants
who listen respectfully to prayers while waiting
for sugar to crystallize, crust around dirt cubes
hours where you just had to be there...


trip to PHX
by t. zoey benally

silver Echo bloated with gasoline we zipped west
at the last minute i tossed the swimming suit out
shoved an extra pair of socks and underwear
into my health fair tote bag, shriveled from hot water
odometer needle pointed at 60MPH, i was surprised
to encounter a driver, arm rested on window sill at 55

Beclabito and Teec Nos Pos had horses in the streets
Red Mesa was our first stop, health center ribs
not yet stained by red sand, dwarfed twisted cedar
cruised through Mexican Water, across the bridge
up the hill, south on 191, tourist track towards Chinle
cows ambled through traffic towards Burger King

finally make it into Holbrook, sneak past Velosaraptor
miss the turn off that goes past Woody's, we end up
exiting on the next ramp, swing past the infamous
US66 wigwams, old autos used as parking dividers
internet says Native American Indians, no specific
tribe mentioned, lived in wigwams--very interesting

we zoom down through the canyon, weave around
fallen rocks, all the crosses i remember from before,
marking motor vehicle crash fatalities, no specific
names mentioned, are no longer there--removed
not as persistent as stucco cones, erected by Route
66-fifties nostalgia tribes, rampage west to CA

Tucson is humid, reportedly monsoons recently
have begun, ending a 39 day 100 degree heat streak
we pick up little sister and proceed to Tempe
admire all the new construction, reminisce about
visits to records stores, first dinners at restaurants
finally make our way to Dave's Inn, i mean Day's

we eat sushi, edamame and water, discover that
benadryl is an essential first aid kit component
and that downtown Scottsdale has no drug stores
Batucada is next, one hour early, forgot that Arizona
doesn't believe in daylight savings time, wonder
how they'll handle Bushy's new law extending it


going on a trip tomorrow
by t.zoEy benally

tomorrow we're going to Phoenix
i still need to pack, decide if i should bother
to take a swimming suit--i can't swim
only embarass my kids with drowning motions
mouthfuls of air gulped amid thrashes

tomorrow morning we're going to leave
supposedly at 6AM, but i expect clock hands
to creep past six and twelve significantly
before i finally decide i have remembered everything
forgetten only essentials (toothbrush, underwear)

tomorrow we're going to drive down the bumpy Jubilee hill
turn left, cross the bridge, maybe stop at Citgo
fill up on gas, two 20-ounces of water, chips, donuts
make sure i scrub all the bug-gut splatters
off the windshield, arrange cd-s, toss trash

tomorrow we're going to go through red mesa,
kayenta, tuba city--retrace the first trip we took
as a couple, brave, unflinching belief in Sheena,
punk rocker, maroon hatchback Renault Encore
redrive roads i learned to drive on, many 3AMs ago

tomorrow... i have no idea what we'll discuss tomorrow
maybe finish discussions on revolution requirements,
Navajo Youth Liberation Army uniforms, songs, activities
maybe invent another industry, light rail spider legs embracing
everything between the four sacred mountains