Selections from

by próspero saíz

the silence of lascaux

i am the archaic horse
nothing is forbidden me...
shrouded animal dream
sunk in the night
inscrutable time lost
dark animal rhythms
the black mane dancing
the red horse running still
awesome darkness
stillness and sacred terror
i tread the animal ground
in the dark cave of dread and awe
i return to my original fate...

quiet hooves and horns
graved figures
i am the painted horse!
mutilated by the eye
wavering flames
paleolithic torch
smoke on stone
running red horse
running brown horses
elegant chinese horses
little horses and ibexes
the power of the bull
obscure light of desire
deadly steps of the dance
hidden in the masks of man...

i have no fear of the animal
no fear of clumsy man
i am the galloping horse
i smell the black bull
the tips of my flared nostrils
dance between his ancient horns
my hindquarters slip into
the spell of the painted stone:
the fluffy mane and fulvous sheen
the monumental glide of the sturdy head...

but the dream of man lacks strength...
it cannot bear the movement of the horse
it cannot bear the play of hoof and mane
it cannot bear the depths of horse-time
and so it leaps into the tortured future...

yet in the silence of lascaux a breath is drawn
and a god is born in the dread of painting men...

the dark ears and aureate eye of the fallow horse
the thick mane and heavy chest (accents of our dreams)
black hooves and stiff legs jutting into nothing
the head freely pointing downwards into nothing
a neighing panic in the open mouth--the work of man--
our dream herded in the stone to the edge of the abyss
what has been captured by the absent painters?
unheard galloping thuds of the hurling stallion
animal glory refusing the hemming feet of man...

in the silence of lascaux a wavering light is fading
outside the cave the bones of slaughter linger still
traces of mass killings beneath the cliffs of stone
yet far from the equine ossuary stubby ponies tumble
in the vanishing lines of the sacred terror of the horse..







spirals of time
Lone Dog's buffalo robe
...the red blotches of the pox
......the moon was black and the stars were red
whooping blasts of air
               epidemic throat
spiral years
horses spreading from the spanish southwest
rifles spreading from the northeast


    i    dan
                  sh sh sh shshshsh sh

old order of the horse:
sandia mountain cave
small-horse bones
horse-hunters' campfire
twenty-five thousand years
                      before alburquerque
new order of the horse:
then the rifle
then sickness
the foot forgotten
and well-packed dogs

invasion gift    or from   gods?

move swiftly by horse
trade far and wide by horse
steal horses   breed horses   trade horses
go to war by horse for horses
produce by horse: the buffalo-kill
scarcity of food--
                eat horses
                [immemorial return of fire-time]
net-works new change of time
microbes s i l e n t l y stalking
the trail of the horse

and good old abe believed commander james h. carleton
enslave exterminate the Dineh
claim the "fields of gold and other precious metals"
and pay for the WAR AGAINST SLAVERY!
"petals of moonlight
into the thousand
everywhere..." around bosque redondo

after civil war civilize by war
reunite north and south
replace the hunter with the farmer
replace the buffalo with cattle
bring the nomads down
slaughter... buffalo
kill... ponies
wipe out... winter campsites
in the track of the horse

Wa Wa Wa
         Wa Wa Wa   Washita

look away    look away

torch tradition
=+=+=+        crops and camps
                      burning corn
puritan 1637: Pequot death: mystic river, connecticut]

custer's command was dead-eyed
shot hundreds of ponies

come home to fort lyon
Black Kettle
White Antelope
Left Hand
the snows of november
are good to militias
third colorado cavalry
glory for colonel chivington
and Black Kettle's lodgepole bore the American flag
waving high in winter-dawn
rifle reports in the grey light
salute the flag
Southern Cheyenne falling forever
ripe for mutilation
along with Southern Arapaho
White Antelope's lips trickled blood
upon the ice and offered death-song
swirling winds

and in montana
january is cruel
the wind howls
37 lodges
marias river
173 dead
children women and old men
frozen breath
300 horses huddle in the cold
300 horses slaughtered
entrails steaming
buffalo herds drifting   away   away

after sand creek 14 years past mid-century

Cheyenne rations

"they give us little maggots"

Buffalo Robe Craze
hides selected by discriminating

                                buffalo hunters

1870:           15,000,000

1875: one-million more or less

mid   day   sun
            maggots tin plates


hooves up

fly-swathed carcasses

pricked ears
blasting nostrils
the horses

             look away

hear and smell established death
buzzing flesh
stench rises
the sun
grasses clogged
hideous noise
          nothing felt

eagle mane    eagle tail
a painted horse glides in the wind
warrior visions
crushed under half-cured hides

Buffalo-People without buffalo are just people

and the ponies move in the night
and the ponies neigh
               away away    look away
and the people will die fighting
they will not be reserved
and the ponies prance at dawn
away   away   look away

(whinny gentle wind   whinny)

and the ponies drink from the red river

       from kansas
                   to texas

the Peoples of the Southern Plains
                                and horses gather
... seeking shelter
deep valleys...
palo duro canyon...
old winter campsite...
punish and return
the Southern Cheyenne

1874: palo duro canyon: col. RANALD mckenzie

u.s.   army

          burning campsite
          burning food supplies

cold cold air
blue flashes
report of rifles
                            (do not flinch)
thuds punctuate
cold earth
1400 silent ponies


                               horses are just men


horses in pictures    horses in pictures


cruel clamor before words
someone's death someone's life

        i   ta...

unbounded wind
split flesh and bones
dead blossoms of woman's hair
black sleep
grey sky
snow-covered plains

sand creek done
Washita done
marias done
palo duro done
done done done done......
"The Underground Horses
are rising

to tell their fathers"

......the mares come up from the river......

the horse of guernica
almost touched by the lamp
agonized open mouth
open-mouthed the bull
and human figures

space of the open mouth
gathering of open mouths
does she stricken with terror
leaning out the window with her lamp
see the horse
the animals exist
in space: flat pattern
perspectival planes
without shadows

[but there are days...bombs cast shadows...
upon earth]

three hours plus
late in the day
(time is a donation)
planes bombed the Basques
with great technical precision
death was perfected
--spare the casa de juntas
--spare the 600-year-old oak tree
and so it was done
1654 fatalities
889 seriously wounded

and we have an image
wide-open-mouth despair
no one can hear the snort
                       of the wall-eyed bull
the shrieks of undepicted women
(see with the ear... see with the ear)
the death rattle of the one below

the death-chant of the one beneath the bull
the teeth of the contorted horse
... and no one can hear the bombs...
... what is felt?
... in the technical perfection of the horse-lines...

"And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness...
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs."

braying asses mounting mares


horses wheeling

black-rumped conqueror of desert sands

thick hairy-hooved bearer of iron knights

...and they're off

a long time out to pasture

look away    look away    look away

the spanish horses stood at the brim...

omens for Motecuhzoma
ten years before the spanish horses...
           from the brim of the night sky
falling bits of a tongue of fire
the eastern sky a wound to the eyes
the columns of the temple burned
in the waters an ashen crane
iron men on the backs of deer-like animals

omens no more

the floating hills upon the coast
agitated deer disembarking
harsh metal clanging
black and yellow hair
upon the sturdy deer
covered in iron
lime-white faces appear


the Tlaxcalans happy in the march of the horse
on to Cholula for the first massacre
beyond the volcanoes
the   naturales   join the swelling columns
8 november, 1519, in Mexico-Tenochtitlan,
Motecuhzoma   hernan cortes   and horses
                         face to face
                                            the smallpox unseen
and on the feast day of Toxcatl
pedro de alvarado showed his iron
and Mexican entrails fell to earth
along with droppings of the horse

allies, cannons, brigantines
      and horses
(after the sad night of the spaniards
horses rearing up on the Tacuba causeway)
returned for the eighty-day siege
on day 1-Serpent of year 3-House
on the thirteenth of august, 1521,

                               Mexico fell




      the horse stood

                   at the brim...

golden-coated horse
white mane and tail
soaked in sweat and dust

head harnessed
bit and reins
on the trail of golden rumor
horse-shoes left behind
old iron nails lost
upon the parched plateau
near scattered Ashiwi dwellings
in the small river valley of Zuni-Pueblo
where the sun first strikes DOWA YALANNE
                      CORN MOUNTAIN
to the east

1539: fray marcos de niza with black Estevan
after the long explorations of cabeza de vaca
came seeking the "seven great cities of gold"


            and Hawikuh
and Ke'tchina
            and Kwa'kina
and Kyakime
            and K'yanawe
and Matsaki
            were transformed
            through the magic of desire
            into the golden cities of cibola
...last trace of the moorish capture of merida in 1150...

through the folly of the eye
the plastered walls of Hawikuh
in the aura of southern light
appeared all golden
the Black Mexican went to his death there
he offered
a pebble-filled gourd of two plumes
one white one red
which bit the dust an instant before him...
[collector of turquoises    now    muerto de oro]
fray marcos de niza tarried far   behind
and with eyes and mouth chock-full of desire
he made his way back to Mexico
where he discharged his panting visions
into the hot ears
of francisco vasquez de coronado...
who rode into Zuni the next year......

find gold     save souls
captain francisco sanchez chamuscado
champing at the bit in 1581
antonio de espejo
chomping at the bit in 1583
juan de onate took his time
in 1598 in 1604 in 1605
cattle and missions
fine leather saddles
grand silver spurs

in the track of the horse

worn out horse-shoes left behind
again and again

upon the high deserts
wild mares and brawny mustangs
caressed by the hands of the Apachu Nabahu

magnificently wrought silver NAJAS
dangling from the bridle of the horse
hanging from the neck of man





the sun in the east flames brightly yellow
a stallion pulls out of a mare's wet heat
his pendulous blue member glistening...

a mighty red mare rears up
her black hooves touch the moon
her open nostrils blast the night air
her warm womb quakes
her wild white eyes turn

                      the rain wheel in the sky

a warm gentle rain is falling
preparing the earth's decay...
a warm gentle rain is falling
wetting the desert's hard shells...
a warm gentle rain is falling...
on the ancient
                       of the horse

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Copyright © 1996 by Ghost Pony Press.

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