Monthly Archives: December 2019

Diary: El Cajón de Grecia, November 2019

I’ve been fixated on the story of the Four Horsemen in the Book of Zecharia and how it relates to the Four Horsemen found in the Book of Revelations. As those of you who know me are aware, I’m not religious in any organized sense. These are stories, written by men (I suppose) working within the literary traditions and histories of their times in response to issues of the day. The emotions, meanings, are universal. They are interesting even if, as in the case of Revelations, completely whacked. Still, they are fun to play with, imagining that similar stories are being played out today.

So, for this month’s blog post, I have two poems featuring the first three of the four horsemen.

The three horsemen I

Zeke asleep in bed
his body floats slowly
through the ceiling, soaring
above power lines, trees
high into the sky
skimming the clouds.
Below spread the forest
a clearing, a campfire
three men sitting
down logs pulled ‘round
their mounts number three
colored white, red, and black
tethered loose to a tree.
Their dining done
the men pass a bottle
Zeke hovers above
watching, listening
the first horseman speaks.

In the new world I was
the part to the north
hugging close the coast
the whole countryside ablaze
wind howling the slopes
embers and smoke
people fleeing in terror
ones that are able
some caught in their cars
bones baked to ash.
In the woods, in the hills
homes burnt to the ground
towns, cities too
lines down, power cut
dark save for light
fierce flush of flames.

The second horseman takes up.

Riding the austral land
north and east near the sea
summer early but scorching
dry air a gale
there I too saw
an horizon ablaze
landscape, settlements
abandoned to fire
reaching high to a sky
bellowing black billows
the day as of night.
Creatures wild, human
that could flee, had
those remaining, roasted
the scene looking, sounding
apocalypse come.

The third talks in turn.

In the new land, the south
the Amazon afire
at the hands of those
stripping the land
to mine, to raise cattle
emboldened by rulers
arrogant, lawless.
The Guardians of the Forest
having lived there forever
hunted down, murdered
by bands of armed thieves
cutting, selling trees
countless beings of the jungle
left destitute, dying, dead.

Zeke in dream shaken
by what he has witnessed
sweeps up, away
awakens in sweat
eyes opened wide.

The three horsemen II

Zeke in a scene
back in the States
Oregon, college town
a coffee shop, Starbucks
there three men seated
wearing breeches, boots
jackets of leather
sipping their coffee.
Zeke draws near the table
addresses the strangers.

Three steeds outside
white, red and black
hitched to a bike rack.
They must be yours
you look to be horsemen.

The horses, ours, the first replies.
We’ve been travelling long
hither and yon
each our own way.
Our paths sometimes cross
and we being old friends
get together, share tales.
Come, pull up a chair
seldom a local
dares to approach us.

Zeke sits with his latte
licks foam, takes a swallow.
You all seem familiar
a picture, a painting
a dream, perhaps.
The horsemen of legend.
Were not there four
the last, a horse pale?

Riders, horses
the times they change
the second rider explains.
The account you cite
the fourth, called Death.
The one who yet draws
the pale horse
must take care being seen
the pace of that mount
drumming of dirge.

Zeke curious, inquires.
Do four paths not cross
you all sharing stories
a meal, a drink?

The third strokes his beard.
Pale Rider of these times
not a brother, a woman
beautiful, beguiling
bounds not to be crossed
humors not to be trifled.
She keeps her own counsel
shadow still at her heels.
We convene but when called
to set forth our findings.

Chortle of Laughing Falcon
pealing the cañón
brings Zeke back
first blush of dawn.