by t. zoEy benally

I cannot write because my muse no longer listens to me.
I feel her back--smooth, oily shale
Ignore me.

I am shunned, and words are repelled
by the force field that she has installed around my brain
by the iron walls she has welded around my heart.

I am unloved, and have been relegated to a hell
of perpetual false starts.

And each time I jump the gun
Bound out starting gates
I am tazered.

Portions of poems stick in my throat
Uncried tears, unacknowledged sobs
Partially masticated truth
and never digested.

I am left malnourished with scurvy
Dehydrated and infested with worms
And my poems emerge in tatters
because she has left me only
boll-weevil infested elbow macaroni
and contaminated muddy water
to consume.

She is like a silent cat - my former muse.
Sleek refusal to reveal my transgressions.
She kneads my flesh with freshly peeled claws,
Purrs, and sheds silver fur on my black sweater and face.


I wish I had a picture of your eyes.

But no camera would capture what I see
when we talk about mundane things.

Like trying to take a picture of the moon
when it ambles over the eastern horizon
magnified not by earth's atmosphere
but by an illusion created in my mind.

Maybe I am the only one that can perceive
gold fire burning in the afternoon forest
that is your eyes.

Maybe I am the lone soul that senses infinity
and that listens for echos of pebbles dropped,
smash against the bottom
of seemingly endless granite enigmas
contained within these glimpses
into your soul.

I wish I had a recording of your voice.

So that I could listen to quiet wind
pushed through wheat straw, filtered through
evergreen sprigs, moistened by cool rain.

Maybe I am the only being that can detect
the crackling plasma bubbling under
quiet shushes at the edges of your words & phrases
Alone in my static reactivity to your soft accent,
the sole being with receptors,
cognizant & alert in this reality.

I wish I had answers
to unasked Questions
Questions that remain sequestered
only partially thought
at the tips of comet tails & eyelashes
Questions inhaled & held tight in lungs
in anticipation
of a quick kiss.


by t. zoEy benally

Mitochondria were there at the beginning
Nidus that brought all the layers
of complexity, precipitating out,
careening out of solution,
out of matter neither created nor destroyed.