Archives for posts with tag: horses

colby
That Hat
by Joan Colby

It was the hat I didn’t wear
When the mare somersaulted over the jump
And stunned, I scrabbled in the stony dirt
For my smashed glasses. It was black velvet
Camouflaging a plastic shell
Designed to absorb shock. A chin strap
I never fastened. We never wore such hats
When I was young. A hard hat
For protection. That day, I was only schooling,
It wasn’t a show where hats like that
Are required. My fingers sifted blindly
In the dust. It was a dry year, the ground
Like concrete. Something wet
Dripped into my eyes. My hand red
With blood. The mare struggled
To her feet, bridleless. I still held
A rein. I couldn’t think
Of what to do. I said “stay” to the mare
As though she were my dog in an obedience trial.
She shuddered, then ran a mile to the stable
Where the hat enclosed in its box
In the tackroom was a black mark
Against hubris. When I was a kid
We wore soft velveteen jockey caps
Like the real jockeys who also didn’t
Think to save their brains. Nobody did.
We did trick riding like in the circus
Where the performers tossed their golden curls.
Luck and danger were the twins,
The Gemini of our ambition.
In the ER, the x-ray pictures
Amazed the doctors; no depressed
Fracture as they’d expected. Scalp partly shaved
To clean out dirt and gravel. Slashes where
The steel shod hooves had slammed.
It began to hurt like nobody’s business.
I was a cliché of heedlessness.
The next day I was a pumpkin
Rotted black, my eyes slits
From which I peered. People on the street
Looked, then looked away. I learned
What the disfigured must experience.
My class said “What happened?”
They thought I was brave or crazy.
Even now, I bear the scars. The deep dent
In my cheek that has no feeling.
The shattered teeth, root canaled and crowned.
I wear the hat when I happen to think
Of it which isn’t always.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I was well into adulthood when this happened –old enough to know better than to forgo that hat..

joan-c11

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review,etc. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 16 books including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. She is also a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Kentucky Review.

Boy and wooden rocking horse
Scene from a country town
by Mantz Yorke

Drawn up at the kerb, the horse
bent down:
my fair hair must have been attractive,
like hay.
I shied away

and have kept my distance from horses
ever since.

Photo by Taborsky

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was about three years old in a country town in England where horse-drawn wagons were still being used for local deliveries. This perhaps explains why I’ve never taken to riding.

yorke

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mantz Yorke lives in Manchester, England.  His poems have appeared inButcher’s DogDactylDawntreaderLunar PoetryPopshotProleRevival and The Brain of Forgetting magazines, in e-magazines and in anthologies in the U.K., Ireland, and the U.S.

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REFUGIO’S HAIR
by Alberto Rios

In the old days of our family,
My grandmother was a young woman
Whose hair was as long as the river.
She lived with her sisters on the ranch
La Calera–The Land of the Lime–
And her days were happy.
But her uncle Carlos lived there too,
Carlos whose soul had the edge of a knife.
One day, to teach her to ride a horse,
He made her climb on the fastest one,
Bareback, and sit there
As he held its long face in his arms.
And then he did the unspeakable deed
For which he would always be remembered:
He called for the handsome baby Pirrín
And he placed the child in her arms.
With that picture of a Madonna on horseback
He slapped the shank of the horse’s rear leg.
The horse did what a horse must,
Racing full toward the bright horizon.
But first he ran under the álamo trees
To rid his back of this unfair weight:
This woman full of tears
And this baby full of love.
When they reached the trees and went under,
Her hair, which had trailed her,
Equal in its magnificence to the tail of the horse,
That hair rose up and flew into the branches
As if it were a thousand arms,
All of them trying to save her.
The horse ran off and left her,
The baby still in her arms,
The two of them hanging from her hair.
The baby looked only at her
And did not cry, so steady was her cradle.
Her sisters came running to save them.
But the hair would not let go.
From its fear it held on and had to be cut,
All of it, from her head.
From that day on, my grandmother
Wore her hair short like a scream,
But it was long like a river in her sleep.

PAINTING: “Woman Combing Her Hair” by Edgar Degas (1894).

SOURCE: “Refugio’s Hair” appears in Alberto Rios‘s collection The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2002), available at Amazon.com.

Image ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alberto Alvaro Ríos was born in Nogales, Arizona, in 1952. He received a BA from the University of Arizona in 1974 and an MFA in Creative Writing from the same institution in 1979. His poetry collections include Dangerous Shirt (Copper Canyon Press, 2009); The Theater of Night (2007); The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body (2002), nominated for the National Book Award; Teodora Luna’s Two Kisses (1990); The Lime Orchard Woman (1988); Five Indiscretions (1985); and Whispering to Fool the Wind (1982), winner of the 1981 Walt Whitman Award. He has been honored with numerous awards, including six Pushcart Prizes, the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1994, he has served as Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University, where he has taught since 1982. In 2013, Ríos was named the inaugural state poet laureate of Arizona.

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Light chaff and falling leaves or a pair of feathers
by Gail Wronsky

on the ground can spook a horse who won’t flinch when faced
with a backhoe or a pack of Harleys. I call it “horse
 
ophthalmology,” because it is a different kind of system—
not celestial, necessarily, but vision in which the small,
 
the wispy, the lightly lifted or stirring threads of existence
excite more fear than louder and larger bodies do. It’s Matthew
 
who said that the light of the body is the eye, and that if
the eye is healthy the whole body will be full of light. Maybe
 
in this case “light” can also mean “lightness.” With my eyes of
corrupted and corruptible flesh I’m afraid I see mostly darkness
 
by which I mean heaviness. How great is that darkness? Not
as great as the inner weightlessness of horses whose eyes perceive,
 
correctly I believe, the threat of annihilation in every windblown
dust mote of malignant life. All these years I’ve been watching
 
out warily in obvious places (in bars, in wars, in night cities and
nightmares, on furious seas). Yet what’s been trying to destroy
 
me has lain hidden inside friendly-seeming breezes, behind
soft music, beneath the carpet of small things one can barely see.
 
The eye is also a lamp, says Matthew, a giver of light, bestower
of incandescent honey, which I will pour more cautiously
 
over the courses I travel from now on. What’s that whisper?
Just the delicate sweeping away of somebody’s life.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gail Wronsky is the author of ten books of poetry, prose, and translations, including So Quick Bright Things (What Books, 2010), Poems for Infidels (Red Hen Press, 2004), and Dying for Beauty (Copper Canyon Press, 2000). Visit her at poetwronsky.com. (Source: poetryfoundation.org)

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DON’T LET THAT HORSE…
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti 

Don’t let that horse
eat that violin
cried Chagall’s mother
But he
kept right on
painting
And became famous
And kept on painting
The Horse With Violin In Mouth
And when he finally finished it
he jumped up upon the horse
and rode away
waving the violin
And then with a low bow gave it
to the first naked nude he ran across
And there were no strings
attached
***
“Don’t Let That Horse…” appears in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s collection These Are My Rivers: New and Selected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1993), available at Amazon.com.

Painting: “Equestrienne” (detail) by Marc Chagall (!931)

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REFUGIO’S HAIR
by Alberto Rios

In the old days of our family,
My grandmother was a young woman
Whose hair was as long as the river.
She lived with her sisters on the ranch
La Calera–The Land of the Lime–
And her days were happy.
But her uncle Carlos lived there too,
Carlos whose soul had the edge of a knife.
One day, to teach her to ride a horse,
He made her climb on the fastest one,
Bareback, and sit there
As he held its long face in his arms.
And then he did the unspeakable deed
For which he would always be remembered:
He called for the handsome baby Pirrín
And he placed the child in her arms.
With that picture of a Madonna on horseback
He slapped the shank of the horse’s rear leg.
The horse did what a horse must,
Racing full toward the bright horizon.
But first he ran under the álamo trees
To rid his back of this unfair weight:
This woman full of tears
And this baby full of love.
When they reached the trees and went under,
Her hair, which had trailed her,
Equal in its magnificence to the tail of the horse,
That hair rose up and flew into the branches
As if it were a thousand arms,
All of them trying to save her.
The horse ran off and left her,
The baby still in her arms,
The two of them hanging from her hair.
The baby looked only at her
And did not cry, so steady was her cradle.
Her sisters came running to save them.
But the hair would not let go.
From its fear it held on and had to be cut,
All of it, from her head.
From that day on, my grandmother
Wore her hair short like a scream,
But it was long like a river in her sleep. 

PAINTING: “Woman Combing Her Hair” by Edgar Degas (1894)

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I LIKE YOUR BOOKS
by Charles Bukowski

In the betting line the other

day

man behind me asked,

“are you Henry 
Chinaski?”

 
“uh huh,” I answered.


 
“I like your books,” he went

on.


 
“thanks,” I answered.


 
“who do you like in this

race?” he asked.


 
“uh uh,” I answered.


“I like the 4 horse,” he

told me.


 
I made my bet and went back

to my seat….


 
the next race I am standing in

line and here is this same man

standing behind me

again.

there are at least 50 lines at

the windows but

he has to find mine

again.


 
“I think this race favors the

closers,” he said to the back of

my neck. “the track looks

heavy.”


 
“listen,” I said, not looking

around, “it’s the kiss of death to

talk about horses at the

track…”


 
“what kind of rule is that?”

he asked. “God doesn’t make

rules…”


 
I turned around and looked at him:

“maybe not, but I

do.”


 
after the next race

I got in line, glanced behind

me:

he was not there:


 
lost another reader.


 
I lose 2 or 3 each

week.


 
fine.


 
let ’em go back to

Kafka.

Photo: Charles Bukowski picking his horses at the race track.

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I LIKE YOUR BOOKS
by Charles Bukowski

In the betting line the other

day

man behind me asked,

“are you Henry 
Chinaski?”

 
“uh huh,” I answered.


 
“I like your books,” he went

on.


 
“thanks,” I answered.


 
“who do you like in this

race?” he asked.


 
“uh uh,” I answered.


“I like the 4 horse,” he

told me.


 
I made my bet and went back

to my seat….


 
the next race I am standing in

line and here is this same man

standing behind me

again.

there are at least 50 lines at

the windows but

he has to find mine

again.


 
“I think this race favors the

closers,” he said to the back of

my neck. “the track looks

heavy.”


 
“listen,” I said, not looking

around, “it’s the kiss of death to

talk about horses at the

track…”


 
“what kind of rule is that?”

he asked. “God doesn’t make

rules…”


 
I turned around and looked at him:

“maybe not, but I

do.”


 
after the next race

I got in line, glanced behind

me:

he was not there:


 
lost another reader.


 
I lose 2 or 3 each

week.


 
fine.


 
let ’em go back to

Kafka.

Photo: Charles Bukowski picking his horses at the race track.

buk_cover_erickson

We are excited about the upcoming Silver Birch Press Bukowski Anthology — a collection of poetry, fiction, memoirs, and essays about Charles Bukowski from authors in the U.S., U.K., and Europe — and are planning for an August 16, 2013 release to celebrate Buk’s 93rd birthday. (Cover art by Mark Erickson and Birgit Zartl.)

To give you a preview, a poem from the collection is featured below.

THE ART OF VICTORY
by Mark Terrill

A hot, smoggy day in LA.
Bukowski wheels out of the lot
at the Hollywood Park racetrack,
past rows of cars shimmering
in the brassy California sun.
 
Bukowski is ninety bucks ahead today.
He roars out onto the freeway,
slips over into the fast lane,
turns up the Mahler symphony,
lights a big black cigar.
 
For the time being, he is
beyond poetry, beyond women,
beyond the post office, back-rent,
and that long war of attrition
we all know as Existence.
 
He grins sublimely, focused on the
hard, glittering diamond of Fortune,
like a Zen monk tuning in
to the true meaning of life,
which is essentially the same thing.

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I recently visited the website of Adam Jahiel, and enjoyed reviewing the breathtaking photos from his book The Last Cowboy.

During the past two decades, Jahiel shot the photographs as he spent months at a time living among the men who live on the range. In a recent Huffington Post article, Jahiel remarked, “It is a culture that has dwindled and almost disappeared through the years right in front of my camera.”

The Last Cowboy — 158 pages in hardcover or softcover — is available at blurb.com.

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