Horses’ Journal

Dawn horse

mane in sunrise

the hooves

pound out light,

the tail

swishes at colored

clouds,

with obscurity

rising with an unseen

sun

with the dawn horse

kicking up dust

on her morning

stampede.

————————————————-

A horse can be confused

with God

dragging you along

on his stampede

raising dust

and having you

emerge on his back

from clouds

of earth—

and dust—

he creates

on his path.

————————————————-

A fancy horse

of a particular breed—

everyone knows

how my tail should look

everyone

remarks on my ears

pointed forward.

People like to keep me

in their farmed-in

fences

exotic and only having

one kind of blood

in me.

———————————————————

My mane

my mane

don’t abuse

my mane

in wind—

not to be used

as a pullee

or rein

or cord

to signal

stops—

but to be admired

for my

mustang self.

————————————————-

The owner of the ranch

likes to inspect me

every third Tuesday

of the month.

He likes to know

my hooves are clean

and my running

and hauling

capacity

are secure.

————————————————————

My tail swishing

keeps time

to the fenced-in line

I run around —

put through

my paces

knowing the riders

are waiting to circle

the yard again

rather than leave

the ranch.

——————————————————-

I’ll work hard for you

your chestnut mare

with hooves

raised up

tracking the race

waiting to be slotted

into position

to run.

———————————————–

Course oats

you expect me

to run this race for you

despite the absence

of sugar cubes.

—————————————————–

Dread of the saddle—

why do I

have to be harnessed?

I don’t mind

the riders

and the hauling

chores

but why do I need

to be weighed down

with accessories?

———————————————–

Good to be

in the pasture

but my stall mates

are calling me

back to the barn.

I share my stall

with some

non-horses

but I promise

not to let

their pig-selves

trouble me.

———————————————–

My head down

focused

on the trail

I barely feel

the whip

at my back.

———————————————

My carriage

bucked;

the parade

I let pass

me by;

I even evaded

the plowing

fields.

I stand upright now

against your fence

out the gates

of the ranch.

——————————————————

Crushing dandelions

tulips

pushed aside

our horse-selves push

forward

into the stable

locked inside

being readied.

——————————————

Green gardens

the fringes

of violets

lilies

the peonies

I can’t bend to smell;

the hog

at the fence’s edge.

My daily sustenance

is all I can

take in.

—————————————————————-

Halting

with your pull

the push

in my sprint

out horse

powers you—

wanting me

to guide you back

to the barn

for my grooming,

I think a jaunt

down the oaks

elms

pines

maples

and groves

is preferable.

——————————————————-

Death

to the rider

who went

to battle

on my back

using my strength

to puncture

an enemy

I never met

and using

my hooves

to trample

strangers.

———————————————————–

The path

you shed

your bouquets

down

I trot around

not forgetting

to step lightly

over the petals.

————————————————

My reins

pulled by an unseen

rider

my hooves

tired but continuing

on gravel,

I have no carriage

no place

for you to sit

on your journey

but you can accompany

me

on my side;

my companion

rider.

————————————————–

Dogs at our heels

I know my trail.

The nipping of hunting

dogs

doesn’t frighten me—

I step over brush

looking for sustenance

and tolerate

bridle and reins

when pulled

by friendly arms.

——————————————————–

I would relinquish

you

by tossing you off

my back

not caring

as you tumbled

into the woods

with copperheads.

But you held

the reins lightly

let me

stop to bend

my head to grass

to eat

all day

not caring

if we got anywhere.

So, I’ll let get you round

the mountain—

not down

the side on your own.

———————————————-

Why the trail

and not

the mountain

top?

Why trot the trail

and not

gallop up

the mountain

top?

The trails end

at the estate’s gate;

my galloping path

just leads up.

——————————————————–

Mad because

of the fire

and being forced

to go forward

in a panic,

I dream

of throwing you

abandoning

your trail

in favor of fleeing

the fire and snakes

and all the other things

that frighten me

that you force me

into.

————————————————————

Hope springs

but not like my eternal

hooves

marching past your ranch

back to the woods.

I may come back again

to circle you

but to leave you

again too.

———————————————————-

The balance

I struck

to carry you

on my back

I begrudged you—

uphill to a locked house

you had the key to.

You let yourself

in;

you made yourself tea.

You left me wandering

the ranch

in search of a barn

or a pleasant

field of grass.

——————————————————–

Skeletons

heaped in the wagon

you called me

in the Black Death

days

to carry you

to the burial grounds.

A horse

out-of-pasture

I’d still be

carousing open fields

traversing woods

but you set me

to this wagon

dragging the dead

from your parlor

to  the city

death pile.

—————————————————

Try to gallop

even if you’re just

asked to walk

around the farm’s perimeter.

The gallop

may force off

your rider

releasing you for a few minutes

from the circles.

———————————————————-

The season’s up

the vacationers

have taken me out

asked me to jump

hike

carry them

to sunbathe

and watch

the sea.

But now

I have other plans—

my hooves

stomping up and down

in my stall

I’m eyeing

the outer reaches

of the woods and plains—

NOT your ranch—

for my winter.

————————————————————

Trotting up

a thorn was in

my hoof.

My mane

was pulled

my ears

twitched in time

to the leaves moving

and the driver

on my back

didn’t hear anything

but my pace

ascending the mountain.

—————————————————————–

Glad to have

my mane

too bad

about your feet—

you could never

move

commensurate

with my hooves.

And your hair

is tidy

but doesn’t

flow as well

with the wind

as mine.

——————————————————

Be a horse

before it’s too late;

stampede

across the lawn

eat your neighbor’s

grass and apples

before he gets the chance

to pick them.

Be a horse

before you’re saddled

asked to ride

guided paths

and taken back

every night

to a closed stall.

———————————————————–

When your hooves

feel the too familiar

paths being pulled

into you,

and your rider is guiding

you around the mountain

in repetition

walk too close

to the canyon’s edge

and see if your rider

and your hooves

keep balance.

———————————————————–

My hooves

watch the hooves

of the horses

ahead of me

wondering when

the fence will appear

they can’t

jump

or think

they can jump

but not as fast

as me

with my rider

thrown off.

————————————————————-

A toy horse

isn’t the same

as me

even when you wind her

up to run a track

around your Christmas tree.

It’s only me

when I’m outside

the fence and given

the room to jump past

your ranch’s gates.

—————————————————

You had the nerve

to pull my mane

as though it were

an extension

of the reins

you force me

to wear.

Guided by you

I’d end up

in a ravine.

So that’s why

I like throwing you

so much.

A broken leg

an out-of-alignment

back

may eventually

teach you—

“learn you”—

to stop abusing

my mane.

—————————————————

You kick my sides

because you say

I’m a horse

but I think

you just like

to kick.

Kicking up dust

I hope to keep you

in  a cloud

of my making—

opaque—

so you can’t find

the reins.

—————————————————

The hurricane

that swept through

didn’t knock

me off your ranch

unfortunately.

Waiting

for the gates

to blow open

I stalled

stuck inside

the barn’s

allotted space

waiting

for the flood.

————————————————————

The saddle

feels

like it shouldn’t

be there.

The harness

doesn’t let me

find my herd

of mustangs.

I just keep

allowing you

to lead me

circling.

—————————————————————–

I’m a calf

but in the glass

I see only

the open landscapes

beyond your fence.

My young horse

face

my mother

the other

horses

I don’t see—

I see

the yellowing grasses

the moon rising

the dogs

gone to hunt

in the opening to the woods

I see

just past me.

—————————————————————–

That they gave me

a garland to wear

around my neck

was unimpressive.

I’m just glad

really really

glad

they remembered

to bring along

my stall-mate,

the pot-belly pig.

All they cared about

was that I ran

fast and well enough

to earn them money.

But I cared

about my friend

the pot-belly pig

in the stall

beside me.

—————————————————————

Your glass

didn’t tip over

as you rode—

thanks

to my smooth strides.

Did you enjoy

your calm

altitudes

in my saddle?

The way I kept

clopping

as you rudely

tugged the reins?

I kept to the set trot

to reach the top

of your hill.

But you’ll find

a shift—

a run downward

shaking maybe

the goblet

from your hand.

———————————————————

Touch the path

touch the path

with my hooves

but not your feet.

Why do you

expect me

to do

your walking

for you?

————————————————————–

Leprechauns

small trolls

tinier fairies

and a fat man

on my back

as I gallop

through the woods.

Seeing magical

creatures in the wood

despite the fat man

on my back.

————————————————————

The storm coming

I circled

the ranch

but you kept

pulling my reins

to move forward

while I circled

signaling you

it’s best to take

shelter.

——————————————————-

Dancing

my mane

rising with the breeze

I’m horsey

yet light on my hooves.

Your bulky frame

taking up saddle space

the cha-cha

mambo

tango

with one-

two-one-two

kick

will dip you

off my back.

—————————————————

Making the jump

I didn’t care

to look back

to see you

waving at friends

and feeling proud

so I didn’t notice

you fell off—

I just kept

running.

——————————————————————-

The closet

didn’t open

though I made it

inside

my hooves

straining against

the too-small

doorway

my girth

straining

along the halls

reaching

the closet

with the keys

to the stables

the keys

to the ranch’s gates.

—————————————————————

Why do I have to

take you to your

pilgrimage?

I long

just to sun

my mane

swish my tail

and look for oats.

I hate spending

the day

taking you to your religious

pilgrimage.

Pilgrimages

are so hard

on the hooves.

——————————————————————-

Destroying the hay—

the fire

destroyed the hay

so I’ve been

roaming around

the fence

looking

for weeds.

———————————————————————-

The nearsighted

rancher

decided I was

a thin, tall

cow

so he mis-herded me—

as I fight

for stray

patches of grass

with cows

my mare self

eyes off

the sides

of the proper herd

edging in.

—————————————————————

Sorry your ride

was unpleasant.

You confused the blue sky

with my back.

I threw you

creating

my own storm.

————————————————————————

My saddle isn’t

comfortable

today

and the fence’s

line

is giving me

a headache

or ache

of the mane.

The trees ringing

your property

don’t let me

see the sunset.

——————————————————————–

The dogs

follow us up the mountain

as if

they don’t trust me—

after I’ve been carrying

you

up these hills

for years.

The dogs

follow to ensure

I don’t get a piece

of the hunt.

————————————————————————–

I have a small

graceful

neck

but I am not

an Arabian horse;

I run fast

and am stately

but I am not

a race horse;

I walk upright

like equine

royalty

but I am not

a show horse.

I am just me.

—————————————————————————

Caterpillars

move out of the way

for me

the flies

land on me

and I swish

my tail

but can’t get rid

of them.

The pests remain

but the things

interesting

like caterpillars

birds

cats

racoons

and other land

animals

move away from me.

————————————————————————

Bending down

I can see my mane

wavering

in the stream,

the footsteps

of the rest of the herd

wavering too

as they stampede

past me.

——————————————————————–

Seagulls over head

stuck on the fenced-in

ranch

watching the gliding

sea

birds go to sea

waiting for my stall

to be cleaned

and to be led

back in

the bar

to the door

slung shut.

————————————————————————————–

The golden horse

with the sun

on the hill

galloping into

shadows

not sure

when I see him

if it’s his mane

or a ghost

on his shoulder.

————————————————————————

The dirt path

doesn’t contain

enough snakes

for my taste.

I’d like an excuse

to get spooked

to throw you.

———————————————————————

Why this horse

I have to share my path with?

Your hooves

move too slow

and the flies

you attract

swarm me

instead.

———————————————————–

My horse feet

stumble toward

the equator

looking for heat.

An ancient man’s

transport,

I’m the aid

on the path

to his destiny

or death.

————————————————————–

Riding home

solitary

no rider

but myself

taking the fences

for myself

deciding

not to

shut myself

in the barn.

—————————————————————————-

The devil

knows my mane

but I know

my tail.

I know the trail

follows behind

me

looking out—

as I take

good care

of the tail—

for my rear.

——————————————————————

The chrysanthemums

are under hooves

the last of the

blooming season’s

flowers

are under hooves.

Enjoying the colors

on my stampede,

I’m sad to see

you’ve scooped

a few, rider,

for your vase.

——————————————————–

Rain keeps

my riders

on their porch

which suits me.

Rain

beading my mane

my tail sloshing

against the trees

I broke loose

while the riders

lulled

on their porch

my hooves

crossing

impromptu rivers.

——————————————————————

You chat up

competing riders

I’d like to race past.

You insist

on riding side-by-side

with them

despite my

contrarian pull

to gallop.

———————————————————————

The white mark

on my nose

the patches

on my back legs

my mottled back

makes me

unfit for horse

shows

and unmatching

the herd.

Unfortunately,

I’m still

tapped by the obese

for riding.

—————————————————————-

The stars

twinkle on my ride

and I wish

my hooves

were on a moony

trek

instead of trudging

the dirt

to the stall and back.

—————————————————–

The rope

is OK

but not

when strapped

to my neck

by you.

I tried to enjoy

the mountain

and looked forward

to the view

but you kept

pulling me

to your path

instead of mine.

—————————————————————–

Compromising mine

I’ve chosen

to work against you—

finding ways

of sliding you

from me

down a crevasse.

—————————————————————-

My water trough

is empty

but I’d rather

go thirsty

than have you

fill it for me.

———————————————————–

The march

to get your gun

I’m asked to help you with

asked to carry you

to the kill.

—————————————————————–

The saddle

of my choosing

had little flowers

stitched along the seams.

The dirty one

you put on me

fits but doesn’t

suit me.

If I throw you

it’ll be

to get the flower seams

back in place.

——————————————————————-

If you’ve ever been

a horse

or the mountain

the horse

has to climb

or the stall

and the latch

shutting the horse in

or the man

keeping the horse

as animal-worker

or you’ve

even shared

the barn with

a being

asked to ferry

soldiers

or police

to the protest

you’d know

what I mean

about how it’s

better to spend time in the unclipped

grasses

wading

with the wind.

—————————————————————–

The rainbow

doesn’t frighten me

so why

does it dissuade you?

My padlock

key holder

rider

always drives me

into hale

storms

circling clouds

dust rising.

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