never ending cycle
by t. zoEy benally

i used to actually care about stains, mess
chaos in general would bother me
but since the beginning of my time
i have found ways to limit the whirlwinds
of madness that i personally create

it amazes me how quickly the books
crawl out of their rows and onto
the heads of other books
a virtual mosh pit of reading
churning in rectangle stacks

i find it amazing how my very own
socks embark on adventures
to places unknown beneath
my children's bunkbed, flattened
to a linty, dusty cotton spot

about a decade back, i found myself
literally, the sole soldier at war
with calamity, fighting back
turmoil on a daily basis, husband,
children all considered the enemy

so i put down my weapons and said,
"i will fight no more forever."
and today, my house is messy
but i don't care, if they don't care
who am i kidding--martha stewart
will never visit me anyway!


oneword: hay
by t. zoEy benally

she sat atop the stacked hay rectangles, her feet dangle over the side and swing as she yells hay prices down to ranchers and farmers below. she stands, towers 17-inches times six layers of hay over their vehicles and effortlessly drops green flowerless bales into truck beds and onto trailers.


Lucky Me
by t. zoEy benally

I’m lucky that I remember the time before we were friends.
You’re lucky that I remember the day that we became friends.
Lucky how I remember how my life was before I became
accustomed to the free speech, raucous ideas & irreverent debate
we have entertained these past years.
Although I am different from that person then,
I can still remember how it was not to have you as a friend.
It is that memory that will pull us both through these tough times.
It is that memory that will allow me to respect
your need to slide back into talons,
retreat behind prison bars painted grey peeling latex,
and continue to lick your wounds coating the raw,
tattered edges with saliva devoid of growth hormone.

The moment we became friends, the sun
yawned and stretched in the west, dragging cherry,
strawberry and orange flavored sunset sheets
and eventually the dark quilts of night, draped from strong shoulders.
The air was grey and cool, broken only
by gold day remnants and jaundiced halogen car beams.
I was having trust issues with 7% DEET,
worried that a virus infested mosquito
would penetrate the defenses and I would lose time
suspended in the deep fog of WNV, WEE, SLE, or some other -itis.
You, accosted by an over zealous prose writer, asked if I needed a ride,
but I was in dire need of three thousand more steps before midnight.
So I braved the night, braved mosquito central,
aka, the bridge over San Juan River waters, and eventually made it home.
I barely knew your name, and I had no clue what your phone number was,
so I couldn’t call you to let you know of my success.

I remember my thoughts the day before we became friends.
I remember walking home and the heat
burning the tops of my arms at the elbows. I remember
running plan a, plan b, plan c, on how to make small adjustments
to the Navajo Nation, and maybe bring our people towards self-sufficiency.
I remember not knowing your name. I remember turning my music up
so that I could ignore passerby comments, car bleats and honks.
One of those was you, you later told me—slightly annoyed
—after I crossed the road just past the intersection,
after I crossed the road for some coffee.
“I was yelling at you. Didn’t you hear me?”

It’s lucky how I remember the time before we were friends.
It’s lucky that I remember because I can now
fold time rivers that we had into oxbows and continue with the flow.
I can insert shunts across clogged artery portions
so that the blood continues to flow and it doesn’t kill me.
I smear briney floods all over my cheeks
and am surprised that white sediment does not dry and crust,
but we are lucky that I remember the moment that we became friends.
We are lucky that I remember, lucky that I can fold
excess time fabric back over those two years and sew
back and forth, back and forth, until those moments
are imprisoned by miles of thread.
We are lucky that I can take care of it alone;
lucky that we won’t have to wait for you
to decide to finally tell me what you’ve been telling everyone else,
for you to finally get up the nerve and tell me the truth
—that our friendship is over.


for the children
by t. zoEy benally

"our relationship has elements of domestic violence that we are both responsible for." that is what she has told herself since her hair was styled in a short bob, since she only had her high school diploma, since she had never been anywhere except these small grey towns in the northeastern corner of dine bi keyah. this was her explaination for the strained relationship, strange behavior seived through flour sacks. she loathed herself and he loathed himself. they were two worms living off the others too few green leaves gathered at places of business. each trying to save the other from themselves, trying to make the other a better man--woman. never satisfied, never happy, wasted earth rotations, imprisoned in the other's shadow they stayed together "for the children."


scary dudes in heat today...
by t. zoEy benally

all the scary dudes were in heat today
lumpy nosed, blood shot eyed, busty dudes
driving rumbly white GMCs with expired tags
they think it turns me on when they yell
"hey baby--where you going baby?"
or "wooooo! walk faster baby!"
yep--they're so sexy i am inspired
to spit some snot onto the sidewalk