Tuesday, May 12, 2009


On Saturday, May 16, from 1:00-4:30 PM, a poetry and music event will be held at the Anasazi Fields Winery in Placitas to benefit WHOA, the Wild Horse Observers Association.

WHOA watches over the wild horse herd in the area, lobbies for the preservation of open spaces and the creation of more such spaces. In this same spirit, WHOA is involved with establishing the last piece of the Nature Wildlife Corridor (Wildlands Project's Spine of the Continent?) in Placitas, which will complete the corridor from the Canadian to the Mexican border.
Additionally, WHOA persuaded Governor Richardson to issue a protective order for the threatened wild horse herd of Placitas.

Wild Horses of Placitas,
Patience O'Dowd, Sandoval Signpost, July 2006

The program for this event includes poets (many familiar from Poets & Writers Picnics past) Lou Liberty, Dale Harris (with her flautist Ingrid Burg), Merimee Moffitt, Larry Goodell, Marilyn Stablein, Mitch Rayes (with guitar), Mary Oishi, E.A. "Tony" Mares, Jim Fish, Rev. Elizabeth Lowry; plus flautist Johnny Alston and John Bullock, with members of his band, Cheap & Easy. Poet Gary L. Brower, organizer and MC, will also read. The suggested donation is $10.

For the wild horses of Placitas (Gary Brower 2006)

There are artists in Placitas
who create beauty from nothing,
and there are these horses
who have nothing but beauty
of body their ancestors gave them,
creating when they run
a changing dapple of sun
on their shiny skin.

These wild ones don’t know
their existence, their freedom,
their wildness, the natural artistry
of their lives, their hoofbeats
across the open space,
the unshod pattern of hoofprints
are a nuisance to some.

When these equine phantoms
suddenly appear among people,
you hear the comments:
What are they doing here?
Why aren’t they tamed?
Where are their owners?
How did they get out?
Why aren’t they dog food?
Why should they take up land?
They’re costing us money,
costing us time, costing us
trouble, costing us something
when they are nothing to us;
homeless of the high desert,
lost out of history, even if they
are descendants of jacas
left by Spaniards centuries ago,
they are discards of society
who refuse to stop at our stoplights.
Our fears of lack of control
have taken equine form.
After all, if horses can run wild,
what about children, what about
chaos in the universe?

We know our society traps us
to keep us in check, know
we often trap ourselves, others.
How dare these creatures
run across straight lines
we fear to cross.

These last wild horses
turn their long faces to you,
their long muzzles, large eyes,
warn their death
will kill your freedom,
after they are a memory,
a small herd of historical footnotes,
a myth that once wild steeds
roamed untamed, like the
village, unincorporated.

Look again at the long faces
of these caballos desiertos,
the long muzzles, large eyes.
They have no master,
perhaps this is what bothers you?
They speak to your subconscious,
perhaps this is what frightens you?
They are not harnessed to work
as you are, perhaps this
makes you resentful?

Look again at this orphan herd,
their long faces, muzzles, large eyes.
If they run wild, remember,
they are not your children,
not from outer space
but the open space.
They didn’t cross artificial
lines in the sand
like poor immigrants
searching for survival,
they are simply here
trying to survive
in an unforgiving land.
Ask yourself: Is there no space
for them anywhere on the land,
in the mind, in our lives?

Does their equine lineage matter
more than their existence?
Bureaucrats, projecting their own nature,
say these animals must be
either “wild” or “feral,”
insist they abandon their horse trails
for a paper trail, or die.
For if they are killed,
they would at least be saved,
like Orwell’s non-persons,
from being the non-horses
they now are, on land not theirs,
with lives they shouldn’t have.

We divide, subdivide ourselves
down smaller and smaller,
drawing more and more
straight lines, artificial borders
across the horizon,
strangling on rectangles,
squaring wildness out,
fencing out free range,
cutting down old forests,
fishing out oceans,
hunting down animals
bigger than we are,
shooting down birds we don’t need,
polluting water we need,
destroying our planet-home,
with our habit of habitat destruction,
till nothing is without control unless dead,
inside or out, not even yourself,
till you have trampled everything
free and wild into the ground,
the syllables of the word “freedom”
lost like yucca blooms
in breezes over the mesas,
till these wild beings
are only gusts of wind
blowing through your mind,
whipping up the dust of Placitas,
blowing it into your eyes,
leaving you blind
in your own land.

from Sandoval Sandpost
Placitas, NM July 2006

To get to the Anasazi Fields Winery, take Exit 242 off the I-25, go east on Highway 165 toward the mountains. This will lead you to the Old Village of Placitas and as you start to enter it, turn left onto Camino de los Pueblitos (there will be a sign saying "winery"), go two stop signs, then turn left into the parking lot for the winery.


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