How to Talk with a Horse

How to Talk with a Horse

To talk to a horse
you will have to
learn a new language —
one more subtle than
English, more
intricate than
Mandarin,
more delicate
than French,
more passionate
than Spanish.

Its rhythm is in
the details.
Its poetry is in
the motion.

It is a language
of the soul
whispered
through the body.

You should begin
by learning
to be silent.
Observing
ears and whiskers,
perceiving
a shimmy of flesh,
understanding
a shift of weight,
regarding
the slight of an eyebrow,
construing
the flick of a tail.

Then practice
until you master how
to speak
with your balance,
to express
with your energy,
to reveal
through your heart.

If you are consistent,
a consummate student,
a devoted truth teller,
the horse will talk back —
will whisper the secret
of all life and beyond
straight into your soul
through the warmth
of his breath.

 

 

Nightfall

Nightfall

shade
shadow
awaken
free your darkness
float through time’s window
slide out into the wide open
slither your ebony being
through first silver moonlight
constrict your black skin
around the dusk
hold twilight
breathless
fade

ode to the mediocre moments

ode to the mediocre moments

How many mediocre poems
Fall in between the pages
Of the masterpieces
Sonnets in the triple digits
Never memorized by students or suitors
Eldorados to The Raven
Little eulogies on left hand pages
forever undogeared

How many mediocre moments
Fall between the revelations

Peanut butter sandwiches
Before the passion of a new lover

Dirty dishes
Following a funeral

Hungry cattle
Intervening in divorce.

Steps in the middle of the flight of stairs
the space between floors
hallways that lead to better rooms.

Tuesdays never get to be a holiday.

They are the thin dull paper
The 22nd birthday
The 7th anniversary
forced to be on duty
required
Burned at the hearth
to stoke the fire for other days
that get the glitter and the billboards.

Simple moments
tied up with plain string
left to fend for themselves

Somewhere Off a Dirt Road

Somewhere Off a Dirt Road

Somewhere off a dirt road
curled up in the dust
I fell fast in love
with the beauty of grass
behind a fence of barbwire
below a hill of grazing cows

As they wander, I follow the cows
far away from the dirt road
through a hole in the barbwire
to a place unreached by dust
alone with the grass
I let myself feel the leaves of love

Deep in that field, I make jeep love
with the farmer of the cows
our act is judged by the grass
we should have waited for the dirt road
but there would have been so much dust
and a difficult gate of barbwire

Found guilty and punished, I use barbwire
to fence around my love
bury him under a thickness of dust
walk on his grave with the cows
who flow toward the dirt road
searching for autumns last grass

When it dies, the grass
becomes sharp as barbwire
choked by the dirt road
lost, without rain’s love
I leave with the cows
the field becomes dust

I force my pain to be dust
so my tears feed the grass
bringing back the stray cows
who escaped the barbwire
I once again try to love
living at the end of a dirt road

I round up the cows, spit out the last of the dust
we leave behind the dirt road, drifting together in spring grass
I crawl under the barbwire and fall fast sleep with my love

Gray

Gray

Gray is honest

it claims nothing
in exposing the lies
of black and white

even in the honeyed light of morning
when ambiguity can seem warm
it casts itself in the shadows

when caught by the moonlight
it will reach into you
sharp and steely
make your breath catch
as it slices away
the security of all
that you once thought
of as truth

Kansas

Kansas

There is something
in the emptiness
of the Kansas prairie
that can fill your soul,
if you allow it to
scrub clean
your intentions
with the brush
of a cottonwood tree.

Under a Kansas sky
you can let loose
your worries to run wild
watch them from a distance
as they unfold into a vapor
on the horizon of a hot
August afternoon.

Witness from the rise
of a flint hill
those things that
once seemed important
become nothing more than
air and wind
when you wrap them
around the spinning blades
of a windmill
or let them wash away
into the breeze tide
of a wheat field
as it flows into the sun.

This is a place
where a stone house
can employ the
secrets of the past
to keep its shape.

This is a place
that invites you to sit with
your demons and talk
about sunflowers
and lightning storms

This is a place
that will teach you
nothing is as
flat or simple
as it appears.