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Chicagoetry: A Black Horse Grazes The Red Grass Of Mars

A BLACK HORSE GRAZES THE RED GRASS OF MARS

A black horse grazes
The red grass of Mars.
The horse is black

And the grass

Is red, red
Like the grass
In a painting called

"Vision After the Sermon"
By Paul Gaugin.

I saw the painting
On public television
And the image

Of something with wings
On the red grass
Seared into my memory.

As long as my electric bill
Was paid up,
I could get

Public television.
In Chicago, we are rich
With public TV,

With a couple/three
Stations available
If your electric bill

Is paid up.

WYCC, Channel 20,
Is affiliated with the
City Colleges of Chicago,

Thus the "'YCC"
("Your City Colleges").
Back in the day,

You could get

College credit
By following a course
On television,

Doing the assignments,
Writing the papers
And making the grade.

I learned a lot
About great art
When my electric bill

Was paid up.

It also
Eased my loneliness.

I'd momentarily enough
Become better able
To endure.

This must have been
A course about
Post-Impressionist painting.

You didn't get that
On the networks much,
Even when

Your electric bill
Was paid up.

In this painting
It looks like a group of
Amish women

Are watching these
Two dudes wrestling
On red grass,

Except one has wings.

One is an angel, apparently.
It's a Bible story,
Jacob wrestling the angel,

Symbolic, I think,
Of the eternal struggle within
Between good and evil.

At first glance,
I thought the two men
Was a horse

With wings.

So I heard
In my head:
"A black horse grazes

The red grass
Of Mars."
I felt like

I'd started
My own little saga,
A grand space epic

In verse, rich with
Romance, drama and wit,

Encapsulating the Zeitgeist
With brio and flair.
But it turned out

There wasn't any more
There there, not even
A second line.

Another one of my flops.
Just a riff
In iambic pentameter:

"A black horse grazes the red grass of Mars."

I think the horse comes
From the old Terrytoons
Television cartoon

"Luno the White Stallion."
This little kid
Had a figure of Pegasus

In his bedroom
And he'd go up, close the door
And chant:

"Oh winged horse
Of marble white,
Take me on

A magic flight,"

And off they'd go
On an adventure
Of the imagination.

Like how I feel
When I'm touched
By great art.

So this painting
On this program
On Channel 20

Was like
My "Luno,"
"Taking me away

From all of this..."
Often
I like to get away

From all
Of this.
Now:

When the hurt
In my heart
Gets heavy

I chant
A short prayer,
A spell,

A magic charm,
A recovery of face,
A projection of faith,

A summons
To my better angels.

And I finally found
That second line.
It only took twenty years.

Success!

Then my loneliness
Eases and I can
Better endure.

Momentarily enough.

"You'll see I'm right
When we conquer the stars:

A black horse grazes.
The red grass of Mars."


-

J.J. Tindall is the Beachwood's poet-in-residence. He welcomes your comments. Chicagoetry is an exclusive Beachwood collection-in-progress.

-

More Tindall:

* Chicagoetry: The Book

* Ready To Rock: The Music

* Kindled Tindall: The Novel

* The Viral Video: The Match Game Dance



Permalink

Posted on June 8, 2015


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