The Jeansed Horse

Mark Leidner

A horse has jeans onup to its neckwhere the waistline istightso its maneremains concealedunder the seam of denimand all the way downto each hoofwhere the cuffsof the jeansare also tight.The jeanshave pocketscovering its thighsand the pocketscarry bucketsof change.So much changeyou would thinkit would be too muchto carrybut the jeansed horseis so strongthat the changeis weightless.The horse gallopseverywherehuge sweat stainssoaking through the jeanssalt lines etchedlike lightning in the denim.The jeansget grimy, taking onthe textureof a cowboy’s, the real kindnot the Hollywoodkind, all threadbare and faded and grossbut the fabric holds.The jeansed horse prances through heavenits big stupid meadowof empty beautychange shakingin its pocketslike cosmic maracas.Did I mention how hugethis jeansed horse is?There’s more changein the pocketsof its jeansthan the wealth on earth. Galaxiespoof underneath its hoof-fallslike dustballswhen it thunders down out of a rear.Black holes kick upin its wakeas it sprints, snortsand nebulas fire from its nostrils, leapscleftsbetween clusters of stars, etc.A single coinfrom its sail-like pocketswould flatten the sunlike a sewer access coverflattening a grape.What you hearbetween your earswhen all is quietis the aggregate jingleof all that changeshaking into itselfsound neutralizing soundin a giant equationin the darkness of its pocketsas the jeansed horse trots,lopes, canters, wanderseverywhere, etc.Knowledge lovershate this revelation.When they inveighthat this mythappears too infrequentlyin the recordto be weighedrespond with a shrugsay you want nothingof knowledgeof the already known.You have been to the spotthe myth began.You have seen the soundsbirthing their words.You have givenwith your earsthe hooves of this horsetheir very shoesas the psychic lanternsof the jeansed horse’seyes open endlesslyon seas of sawdust darkness!

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Mark Leidner’s latest book is the poetry collection Returning the Sword to the Stone (Fonograf Editions, 2021). He is the author of several other books of poetry and fiction, as well as two feature films: the sci-fi noir Empathy, Inc. (2019) and the relationship comedy Jammed (2014). He lives in California and is originally from Georgia.

The followup to his beloved debut collection Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me, Mark Leidner’s Returning the Sword to the Stone is simultaneously profound and irreverent, in the same way that the world is flat as we walk and round as we live. “A child surprised that a neon sign / isn’t hot the first time they touch one / knows how it feels as an adult to achieve one’s goals” states the speaker of “Youth Is A Fugitive” and this sentiment is one of the central precepts of Returning the Sword to the Stone. Congealing directly off the page, these are poems that only Mark Leidner could have written.

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