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Round and Round and Round

The horses I've met close up
were disappointing, not poised flame-like,
not eager like the ones in movies.
They were all male riding horses
for tourists. Meaning not a stallion
in the lot, and, of course, I was a tourist,
and that's a disappointing thing to be
when meeting a horse (not the lean, tough guy
I'd imagined I was when meeting movie horses),

These were the worst sort of hired labor
(featherbedders, no doubt,
with Marxist shop stewards),
moving as little as they thought
they could get away with,
making sure I knew I was the exploiter
of an enslaved species.

I expected a dog's responsiveness,
but then I never made my dog
carry me on his back. Still, it was odd
to see those massive muscles
responding more eagerly to flies
than to my flicks and tugs of the rein.

I was on vacation, and here I was
in my least favorite mode: Job Interviewee --
having to appear confident, pretending
I knew what I was doing, as if the horse
couldn't tell each moment by my inept
weight shifts...and if I tried to be
definite, tough, brusque, I was probably
as convincing as an inexperienced lover
pretending to be Don Juan.

These riding horses won't let you
get away with anything. Mine knew
right away I really wasn't sure
I wanted to gallop, so ignored
all my invitations to do so.

My dog will meet my eyes, if only
briefly. The horses maintained
that sideways leer of indifference
or feigned indifference. "You've still
got your balls," they seemed to say,
"so YOU be spirited. I get my oats
either way."

When (for example, passing a sloping field
in the Piedmont hills near sunset)
I squint at distant palominos high-stepping
from pasture to pasture, molten gold,
the old movie magic briefly returns.
Maybe someday I'll meet a real horse,
one who carries me so lightly
that I feel it is I who lift up my horse
with my lightest intention.

Maybe someday when that happens,
I'll be a real person, not a tourist.


(c) 2014 by Dean Blehert. All Rights Reserved.

Last updated: December 25, 2014