Chopping Ginger

I'm not sure I did it right
It might have been wrong
Like the tomatoes
Or the mushrooms
I peeled it like a potato
Saturday mornings
Slivering brown strips
Off starch bombs
The smell is different
The skin is tan
and underneath is pale yellow
Cutting ginger is less dangerous
than slicing potatoes
Ginger is cooperative
Dividing itself into smaller
and smaller minced bits
It's because of that aroma
Ginger knows that with
Each increase in surface area
The bouquet is more divine.


Disposal Fees

Missing parts, dry, cracked plastic, bent metal, torn fabric
Unsafe, uncool, unfashionable, dirty, worn
Green beans, powdered milk, fruit cocktail
Sometimes I wonder if folks just donate stuff
so they don't have to pay for disposal
Objects foisted upon us under the guise
of generosity pile up around the house
creating habitats for mice, mosquitoes, black widows
I have even less resources to dispose of it


bitter divorcee

an american indian woman enjoying indian summer
abnormally warm fall weather named after her
she basked in almost hot sunshine and a lick of coolness
--slobbered all over skin mounted receptors
earth on the downward slope

"i'm not with stupid anymore"
was thrust haphazardly on the trunk left corner
wanting to be flip, but still bearing the pain
of the loss of income, status
still screaming the horror of not being the younger
telomeric ends slowly snipped away
never to be reattached, by the sharp shears
of that old bilaghaana time

she wiped static off her thinning mane, streaked white
an american indian woman enjoying indian summer
she relished the lick of teen clothing draped over
her abnormally thin, almost anorexic flesh
--size 0, it made her better, not stupid, absolved her
of sins, woman on the downward slope.


Being Sick

Great volumes of snot clog the fine spaces in my skull
Great halls normally filled with air wave vibrations
Have now ground to a halt with bacterial gridlock


Water Fountain

The janitor was cleaning
the water fountain with the mop.
Mrs. Kavadas was walking down the hall
I expressed how gross it was that the janitor
was cleaning the water fountain with a dirty mop,
in only the way a teenager can.
Mrs. Kavadas' eyes bulged with anger
and she said, "Well what do you expect!
YOU always spit in there."

Up until that moment, and to this moment
I have never spit in a water fountain.

Most of us people don't spit in water fountains.


Watered down coffee

At least everyone has the same orange sunrise
that I have, and breathes the same polluted air
Parabolic clotheslines dangle shirts and jeans
Evaporating water, Absorbing power plant smell
While I sip watered down coffee behind glass doors


All Your Fault

There are crumbs on my floor and it's all your fault
Wallow in the itchy dirt on my sheets
Hobble around, heels dented by pebbles in my shoes
My hair stuck with static to my face growing acne mountains
Dog farting sideways (borrowed from a friend).

That's all your fault too.


I didn't take my camera on my trip so here are some "pictures" from our travels.

ABQ Airport
Her blond hair is chewed to 1/2-inch lengths the circumference of her head. Her skin is freckled and has begun to leather. Columbia, Teva, and Osprey products are attached strategically to her body. She cuts in front of us, unstrapping this and that while she walks. She is invisible in her own mind. If she doesn't make eye contact she will not be seen. (Many folks think that this technique will also work in traffic. Let me tell you now--I see you.) Despite her pushiness, we get through the metal detectors at the SAME TIME!

My right arm, just below the shoulder, is damp. This typically happens when assigned the "E" seat. Elbows must be tucked between my body and the arm rest. The plastic arm rest cover digs into my forearm. There is pain at first, but eventually numbness sinks in. D & F are occupied by armrest hogs. The dark blue seat in front sulks, it's back placed at me for what seems an eternity. Barf bag, magazine, SkyMall catalog and laminated emergency preparedness card are arranged festively in the pocket. The sullen blue seat soon dips back and invades my space. The air nozzle is aimed at my right arm keeping it dry.

Philly Airport
He is tall, dark and full of wrong answers. I drag my suitcase over, my bag digging into my neck, and ask him how to get to Atlantic City. He is stretched out across his wheeled ergonomically correct office chair. He looks at me slightly askance and points out the double doors and says "The train." I lug my bags across the street and up the long ramp twice before I realize that I'm at the wrong spot. I have to go back in, up the escalator, across the skywalk, and down the elevator to catch the train out of Philly for $5.50.

We follow the crowd up the escalator into the large atrium. Wooden pews face the information desk. A smiling woman with shining eyes is laughing and she calls me sugar and gives me simple directions. It's like breathing sage. She sells us a ticket and at the appropriate moment, we descend escalators, rush onto a train and hurl our bags and bodies at the nearest seats. The seats, unfortunately, are adjacent to the restroom which is sticky with sour urine. I stare out windows stamped with hair grease. I look past hair tendril impressions, out into the 10 o'clock dark, and watch for lights--store lights, streetlights, lights above dining room tables.

Atlantic City
I smell the ocean mixed with mechanical heat as I lift my suitcase over the 5-inch gap between train and platform. I drag the wheeled silver box towards glass double doors, across tiled floors, out revolving doors, across the pavement, along the sidewalk, and finally across the hotel threshold. Casino marquees attract seagulls, and they swirl around building tops--bugs around lights--thoughts unknown. The wheels of my suitcase move much faster on magenta marble floors.

Boardwalk Lunch
My hair has become bouncy in the humidity. It swings and springs with each step on the wooden boardwalk. Decaying food smells permeate every alleyway. Women of all shape and condition boldly saunter by in bikinis. Palm readers and designer knock off shops are distributed evenly along the trail. Boards are bolted down, and they require an Allen wrench to remove. We slide into a shop filled with fruit and order expensive pizza slices. I order a mango smoothie and we sit and watch the kaleidoscope of people stream by.

The sand is dark gray--bordering on black--and at regular intervals a wide swath of shells marches up out of the waves onto the beach. Sea foam is hurled at me and I think of Ariel. Walking west we notice that the tide is coming in. Lifeguards are carrying their boats and stands up the beach. A turtle is trying to escape into the sea, but he is pushed back by waves, just like Tom Hanks on Cast Away. We collect a nice representation of shells for Rabbit. I pop seaweed air bladders and they snap just like packing bubbles--OOH!--I could stay here for days! Horseshoe crabs scuttle into the sand, their tails whipping the water behind them. We reach Ventnor City and the sun has descended into the haze that makes sunlight bright orange. Bright orange sunlight like when forests are burning.

Steel Pier
True to carnie nature, food is stored on the ground behind vending trailers. Oddly, this makes me happy, probably because it means that they don't put food on the ground only when they're on the rez. This is where all similarity ends. Electrical cords are covered and not stretched across walkways. Sewage is not pooling under food trailers. Solid waste is not spilling out of trash containers onto the ground. We watched folks ride a slingshot type thrill ride and then we left.

White House Subs
An unknown beige substance dumped on the street smelled pretty bad so it was nice to escape into the building. Booths lined one wall, the grill and cash register lined the other wall, and a line of customers filled the narrow space in the center. Black rubber mats covered the floor. Pictures of famous people eating subs covered the walls. The sandwiches were huge. The bread was fresh & crusty. Drinks were limited to cans of soda or bottled water delivered with a plastic cup of ice. My albacore tuna sub was fabulous!

The End of the Boardwalk
The boardwalk quality and maintenance abruptly declined after the last casino. Curled and loose boards were fastened with angular nails that were in various stages of migration out of the wood. I took care to lift my knees, like walking through snow, on this section of the boardwalk. People stood along long piles of rocks with fishing poles in their hands. Boats filled with fishermen hovered between the tips of the rock fingers. We made our way around the NE corner of the island and entered what was described on the internet as "abject poverty"--it looked like the rez. People were talking, laughing, drumming and singing under our feet. A green, curved 1960's style building was intriguing from a Life Safety Code stand point.


miniscule proceedings
by t. zoEy benally

something is caught
invisible raspberry seed
or maybe toasted corn shell
a persistent particle
evades lassos of floss
impervious to plastic toothbrush bristles
Sisyphean fluoride impregnated paste
and impotent wash of Listerine
do nothing to dislodge
this immense boulder
from the grinding surfaces
of my tooth? teeth?
pea piled under mattresses
combined with the luminous
moon disk
drive me to brinks
of insomnia.


Let's run away....
by t. zoEy benally

Let's run away, you and I, to 581-c
follow wobble 20 light years into unknown
inhabit the narrow twilight zone of that planet's tilt
orbit Gliese 581, circumvolve every 13 days
all we need is water, light, soil, an atmosphere & each other

Let's build a kitchen, you and I, on 581-c
pipe in red dwarf star light and heat from the day side
cool our home with permanent night air from the other side
our new sun smaller, but appearing much larger
than the G2 that we were both born under

Let's plant fields, you and I, on 581-c
experimental farms populated by robust greens
piquant yellows, gorgeous reds, ambrosial purples
we can decide, since time is relative, when our days
end and begin, when we will curl together, play and sleep

Let me tangle my fingers through your long
turbulent thoughts when we reside on 581-c
barbers have not settled that planet so I let it grow wild
until it resembles blueberry brambles that
I never lived by on Earth


oneword: sometimes
by t. zoEy benally

sometimes onetime whotime youtime newtime fewtime gluetime bluetime gootime cough


oneword: solo
by t. zoEy benally

solo plastic cups blow, twist and swirl
dust along side the fence.
she never had the bases,
so she felt weird using the solo cups
for coffee
and only used them
for punch.


my electricity
by t. zoEy benally

tastes of wind, rain, salt, red flame
gold fields ocean rimmed


by t. zoEy benally

Navajo Barbie parks
in the da'a k'e (farm)
with a wannabe Navajo Ken
smashes corn seedlings
in four 9-inch ribbons
reduces the amount of pollen and corn
available to the people
for that year,
and compresses
air out of the soil
reducing potential
crops of squash
and beans that might otherwise grow


i've been sick
by t. zoEy benally

i've been sick since Tuesday
microorganisms have been vibrating
their gelatin existence in my left ear
for two weeks, their spewed excrement
gases boom on the opposite eardrum side
their slimed trails leading toward my left lobe

my attempts to alert primary care providers
were met with answers that could have been
intercepted from future time-space continuum by even
a 39-second psychic, who normally tries only to finish sentences
"drink lots of water and take Tylenol for the pain."
there was the implied, understood, but unsaid--WIMP

i've had little enthusiasm for meetings about feel-good projects
little enthusiasm for saving the world, one pamphet at a time
i've only seen the world through eyes clouded by the dreggy
depression brought on by the build up of bacteria
their prescense obvious every time i blow my nose
global warming, apathy, people settling for status quo...

i've been sick since Tuesday
walking in a acrid fog, clouds weighed down by heavy metals
spewed by power plants so that Phoenix, Vegas, Los Angeles
can have their television, microwaves, fans, and track lighting
i've been sick since Tuesday
but i'm getting better now.