Published on Academy of American Poets (

this sad little enclave of horses

of all the lines of all the subway cars in all of new york city
we walk into the one with a corpse
it just puts everything into prescription for us
as jason stackhouse says

alabaster turning into crystale
nantáa ndé telling me unsaddle yr horse
means to take off your hat

I love it when people use words wrong
like repertoire for rapport, like when
brenda said she had a good repertoire with her students
or cynthia saying she wouldn’t spend an exuberant amount of             time
or when nick says anything anymore

the elk antlers are blood-brown
if we can find them on this mountain
edith says she has found
skeletons of bucks who had died 
antlers entwined together

on the way to JFK you pass
this sad little enclave of horses

there was no way to assess the land, or the landscape
n/t was real about it.
perhaps by the sides of the railroads s/times,
a hint of the old ways

the river could be…a source of tension
a jackass painted like a zebra
from the ghost’s perspective it’s not humid
when bojack horseman vomits up all that cotton candy
long forgotten poisons
smallpox, ricin, the bacteria that causes
the plague

the way that crows remember
the faces of their adversaries

Louise Michel held sick horses in the street
Nietzsche’s last act
was to embrace a horse

the taxi driver who hinted
of his dark past in nyc
wiped his hands together in the universal
gesture of sloughing a thing off


Copyright © 2016 by Julian Talamantez Brolaski . Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 11, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“One day my best friend and I walked onto the A train and there was a dead person on it, or a person who appeared dead, with a sheet covering them. Everyone ignored it. And I was thinking about our willfull obliviation, the anesthetizing lure of homophony, people who don’t take their hats off in restaurants (or maybe ‘unsaddling your
horse’ is an anachronistic nicety), the way the horses in Central Park have morphed into mere emblems of our ‘quaint’ history.”
—Julian Talamantez Brolaski


Julian Talamantez Brolaski

Julian Talamantez Brolaski is a poet and musician, the author of Of Mongrelitude (Wave Books 2017), Advice for Lovers (City Lights 2012) and gowanus atropolis (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011), and coeditor of NO GENDER: Reflections on the Life & Work of kari edwards (Litmus Press 2009).

Date Published: 2016-11-11

Source URL: