Shooting Wild Horses
“... 26 wild horses were found shot at point-blank range
on a remote mountainside of Southern Greece...motive unknown”
on the island of Pelops, son of Tantalus,
once venerated at the temple of Olympia
with ritual sacrifices, a donkey
burned whole on a stone alter at night
before the carcass was offered to Zeus
at dawn with the sun rising
over the Taygetes Range
and wild horses roam these peaks
near Corinthia, home to Pan
of flutes and shepherds,
running free, wary of pastures
and open fields, running together,
leaping stone fences, evading men
desperate to find solace in hard times
the last herds of wild Pindos horses
struggling on dry slopes, watchful, thirsty
lured to stone troughs after a hard winter
so eager they miss the slight movement
of a hand with a glint of metal
too late they fall screaming
left among the rocks, found by tourists
hiking the ancient trails, blood seeping
poetryrepairs #230 15,11:127
Hollywood Heat: 1960
a typical coffee shop—
the scene opens at the counter
where you begin and end:
'this way, honey'
the Roi-tans at the register
in their heavy box next to
the Peppermint Patties
dirty glass-fronted display case
the next shelf down: Rolaids,
Bayer aspirin, Dentyne gum
then Indian maiden doll figures,
at the bottom, dusty stuffed
animals, souvenir post cards
“Los Angeles Queen of Cities”.
(Mexican bean works the dishes out back
eats rice and tortillas from a small sack.)
'coffee' (a statement)
Take a greasy vinyl menu
thick white coffee mug
scratched plastic water glass
pepper shaker clogged,
never used (unscrew the lid)
fork with bent tines, empty
catsup bottle with rusty top.
Add a waitress with frilly
hair and apron, older
heavy-set with a beady stare
both suspicious and tired
pink lipstick beyond her thin lips.
'what'll it be today?'
She doesn't bother writing orders
wipes the table with a gray cloth
piles five platters on her arms
offers endless re-fills of stale coffee.
'warm today, huh' (another statement)
Now sit and push your eggs
with a thick biscuit, with four
slices of salty bacon, mug half-
filled with cream, Wonder bread
toast, grape jelly.
(Mexican dishboy hauls away plates,
stares at a mess of breakfast he hates.)
The final scene: approach the same
register with a bill for $5.47, only
the total written, take a toothpick
with a spin of the dial, a mint,
a Rolaids just in case, and a cigar.
'see ya next time'
Step out into the heat of Hollywood.
(Mexican bean car passes unseen,
gabachos ignore the dark-eyed queen.)
poetryrepairs #230 15,11:127
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EMILY STRAUSS has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry, which she has written since college. STRAUSS’ poems appear in a wide variety of online venues and in anthologies, in the U.S. and abroad. The natural world is generally Emily’s framework; she also considers the stories of people and places around her and personal histories.
EMILY STRAUSS is a semi-retired teacher living in California.