a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Reaction to midterms 2022
In 2016 on I-40 near the Houck chapter of the Diné Nation a billboard read Navajos for Trump. The Navajo Times conducted an investigation into the billboard’s claim but could not identify any of the Navajos affiliated with the billboard.
They didn’t exist.
In 2020 I saw a photoshopped version of the billboard that read Dumbass Navajos for Trump making its rounds on Facebook. 2020 and 2021 I worked remotely teaching college courses online from my home in Tuba City.
AZ congressman Tom O’Halleron paid a visit to our Diné College Tuba City campus just before the 2022 midterms; midterm elections not college midterms. Earlier this year he introduced the Diné College Act allocating funds for higher education on the Navajo Nation.
I ended my class early so my students could meet their congressman. He was several classrooms from mine vying for our vote.
I didn’t meet him. I mailed my ballot early. I already voted for him. And my office computer needed attention. It wasn’t working due to years of nonuse during the pandemic. I filled out another IT ticket while my students met their congressman.
The next class I asked my students about Tom O’Halleron’s visit. They said he was very pleasant and personable. They got selfies with him.
Tom O’Halleron lost his race. My office computer shows brief improvement after IT performed some updates but there’re still issues. I hope to have everything up and running to pre-pandemic levels before next semester.
My governor shall be cleanly shaven and have his hair styled by a mortician in a hazmat suit wielding scissors with her hands covered in purple latex gloves. Her curses are muffled underneath her cloth mask because fog fills her prescription glasses with each breath obstructing her view. She holds her breath long enough to apply blush to each cheek. Just a few brush strokes. The mortician turns away, walks six feet, and removes her cloth mask for an extended exhale. She inhales and exhales several more times. The back of her ill-fitting safety garment faces my governor.
Do not bury my president. Do not nail together two caskets around him and reinforce them with duct tape. When my president dies, cut him in half and put him into two large ovens. Fly his ashes over Mount Rushmore in Marine One. Dump him over Abraham Lincoln’s hard stone brow like lawn trimmings out of black Hefty bags scattering against the propeller’s wind.
Jesse Tsinajinnie Maloney grew up on the Leeward side of Oʻahu. He went to the same High School as Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. His work has appeared in Turtle Island Quarterly, Peach Velvet Lit Mag, About Place, Cutthroat and other places. His debut full length work Health Carefully was released through Cyberwit press 2019. 2020 he co-hosted the late night virtual reading series Midnight Transmission with poet Orlando White featuring acclaimed writers and artists via his YouTube Channel ‘Jesse5-0 Productions.’ 2021 he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his poem ‘Eyes of the Leper’ featured in Cutthroat Vol. 26. He’s producing a collaborative spoken word/instrumental album featuring poets Pamela Uschuk and William Pitt Root to be released spring 2023. Jesse Tsinajinnie Maloney teaches at Diné College and lives with his wife and cats on the Navajo Nation.