Portrait of the Horse

Sometimes the horse is simply a horse.
 
               Sometimes the horse is a stalwart
               bearer of bodies.
 
                              Sometimes the horse is stubborn,
                              refusing to ford the river,
 
or the horse is a mistake
 
               in the vapor, what looks like a horse
 
                              emerging out of a thrust
                              of fog on Telegraph Avenue.
 
There’s the perpetual feeling of being
 
               overdressed for summer
               and underdressed for spring.
 
                              I’m variously sweat or shudder.
 
I mistake the strange bodies
for those I owe apologies to,
 
               oversleep and open my eyes on
               the clock radio, the time a typo,
 
                              the apartment a disaster.
 
Sometimes the horse is a disaster
or the horse is time in a trot or a canter.
 
               Sometimes the horse is a boy
               growing in time into a man
 
                              who often laments,
                              A horse, a horse, my kingdom, etc.
 
But there is no horse.
 
               There are two days good and one day bad
 
                              without any hint of a horse.
 
Sometimes speaking about the horse
is a means of avoiding speaking
 
               about myself which is lousy.
 
                              Late last night myself
                              regarding another carelessly.
 
Late last night my body
with a temporary body.
 
               The horse is the taut metaphor for sex,
 
                              but sometimes the horse is the taut silence after.
 
Sometimes the horse is the silence
after her body rises
 
               in the embarrassment of morning
               and leaves,
 
                              and this silence is filled
                              with less than remorse
 
but with more than indifference.
 
               This is a feeling there is no word for.
 
                              What I decided in place of what I needed.
 
I should eat better.
 
               I should vacuum more often.

                              I should settle down
                              and raise a young horse.

Sometimes the horse is unspoken,

               the horse is this feeling
               that will be forgotten,

                              is the self unable to alter its ineffable horse.

Late last night, a pervasive clopping
of the horse on the hill.

               Late last night, the horse as a foghorn
               over the Bay.

                              I should be rained on.
                              I should not be forgiven.
 

Jaswinder  Bolina, "Portrait of the Horse" from Phantom Camera.  Copyright © 2013 by Jaswinder  Bolina.  Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press.
Source: Phantom Camera (New Issues Press, 2013)
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