Jon Horton
Jackson Hole Mysteries
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Look on my works ye mighty
And despair

— Percy Bysse Shelley —

I see

A horse fair there
under the tumbled traffic exchange
near where the air machines
used to go

horses fair and foul
dickering horsemen
do business in the dozens
while their bickering drovers
wager, drink and strut
on their one day a month in town

Along a track
tall-wheeled carretas lumber and squeak
one carrying the gap-toothed produce man
his corn
his worn wife
his wary children
to the market on Fairfax Road

Along their way
a relict overpass has been bricked up
with scavenged cinderblock
turned to tenements where
two peasant gossips
resting their milkdamp bosoms
on plump and dimpled arms
stop their chat
to wave at the carretero's wife

Back down the road
the Santa Monica Trace ends
at the wrecked pier
where coastal lighters carrying oranges
avocados and dope
bump against stumped pilings

A strawhatted captain
bullies barefoot stevedores
who hump their burlap burdens up the plankway
while their epicanthic compadres
give him the finger behind his back

And atop the bluffs
among the shifted and tumbled
tiers of scavenged buildings
the exotics:
English ivy

Down a lane
that wanders 'round the wrecks
there is a cleared place park-of-sorts
grassy and green
bordered with wildflowers
where children shout and laugh
unwary and unafraid
innocent again at last
play tag beneath the hangman's tree

Across the coastal campana
in a redolent eucalyptus grove
overlooking the Cahuenga pass
which leads to a waterless valley
to the scorched interior hills
carpe diem
a bloom-cheeked gal
ravenhaired and horny again
works her soft belly
against a giddy, wine-drunk youth
his codpiece skewed
as they laze in the shade
next to a wicker-covered jug
while their horse switches his tail
stomps a hoof and ripples his hide at the flies

And above them on the hillside
giant tumbled letters lie
gripped by ivy
meaning nothing


Jon Horton

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Jon Horton

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