From the unpublished poems/screenplay contained in José Antonio Pérez-Robleda’s forthcoming book “El Caballo de lo malo” (The bad guy’s horse).
Morricone music playing. WHISTLES.
A horse trots through the desert.
only a certain earthy scent
eager to enter
and take to the nose,
a certain taste of rock,
the overwhelming beauty
of a wasteland.
The horse sets off towards the horizon
with the poise of one who knows their destiny.
It knows it’s the bad guy’s horse.
Morricone music is still playing. WHISTLES.
A Kind Awareness: Fred’s Ranch
By God’s wish, man has the right to appropriate any unproductive acre of land and, with this, falls on him the duty to make it produce goods for humanity.
Hume, II A Treatise of Human Nature.
this land belongs to me.
from the poplar trees to the river
from the valley to the cliffs.
It is fertilized with the corpses of my loved ones,
and that’s why I can
let my cattle graze on it
that’s why I can sow it with my sweat
and water it with my blood.
That’s why I can surround it, pierce it,
sully and rape it whenever I want.
my gun is eager
and, I assure you, it wasn’t loaded by the devil.
Not one step further.
I don’t care if you are just passing through.
You’re on private property:
this piece of land
has been my family’s forever
when the railroad came
our claim was already old
when the stagecoach arrived
our last name was already famous
when the gringos came
we were already here
when the Mexicans left
we stayed here
when the Spanish were thrown out
we celebrated from here
we arrived with the missionaries
only the savages preceded us.
But they did not own the land,
That was dangerous,
that’s why we had to kill them.
Just as I intend to kill you
if you take another step forward.
The camera pans right.
The camera stops.
The horse is on the right side of the frame.
Sounds of hooves.
Another horse enters from the left.
It has no saddle.
It is a wild horse.
They are face to face occupying the entire frame.
They flare their nostrils.
They recognize each other.
The foreboding of a farewell.
And then a count.
Where the horse went back to being wild again
and was reunited with the man
and relived its story
and perished again
on both sides.
Sounds of hooves.
The wild horse leaves the scene from the left.
The bad guy’s horse takes two steps forward.
He stays in the center of the frame.
It digs the ground,
FADE TO BLACK.
is not afraid that the moment will flee
as it looks inside itself
outside everything dies
that’s why it’s hard and solid
and does not host
a place for absence.
The memory of the rocks
is made of indentations,
a smooth rock does not remember
what paths gave it that shape.
It is interested in nothing but itself
there are no mysteries in its world.
But, there comes a crack
to dislodge that world:
through the crack some things
maybe four or five
and many more to come.
A dog howling
—It is the howl of the dog with a foreboding of death,
My aunt Eleanor said as she hung out the clothes.
And after three rounds of washing,
the bells were
tolling for the dead.
Then she gestured for me to be silent.
She counted the chimes
as if reading a message written in the sky.
—28 years old, female; surely it’s Anne,
she was very sick.
In the village, they all knew each other.
—12, almost a child!
Oh my God! The butcher’s son.
between the howling dog
and the tolling bell,
grew more and more
frequent. But my aunt kept counting chimes as if nothing were happening. – Male, 18 years old,
surely the middle son of the Garcias.
he’s resting now — and letting us rest.
She never taught me.
When they tolled for her
I couldn’t read the bells.
there was only the dog howling
and the shots
and the silence.
Until everyone forgot
about the bells.
It’s strange that the dog is howling now.
It must have a premonition
of its own death.
St. Stephen’s flowers
That summer, on St. Stephen’s day,
the hilltops were filled with clouds.
Instead of dissipating
they lasted for weeks.
The clouds rolled down to the valley.
The moisture revived the desert.
The telegraph spread the news.
People came from other towns.
The Middle Town Post
took the only surviving photo .
This phenomenon was christened St. Stephen’s Showers.
The Catholics thought it was the Virgin’s doing.
The Protestants that it was the Devil’s doing;
but only those who knew
the old legends
set off for the Serpent’s Pass.
The insects rushed to lay eggs.
The rabbits rushed to dig burrows.
The young men rushed to lie on the grass.
[Out of the valley,
there were a whole bunch of births:
the children of St. Stephen]
When it started to rain
the visitors left.
At first, it was a slight spark.
The joy of full wells
Then the streams had to be channeled.
Then the water burst the ditches.
Until one night,
after a huge roar,
a tongue of mud caressed the valley
Burying any vestige of progress.
Only then did they understand
Given by the original inhabitants
to that place.
On the fresh mud
Grew graveyard flowers.
In the absence of telegraph
there no longer were
No one could name the phenomenon
“St. Stephen’s flowers”.
Morricone music plays: MORE WHISTLES.
One could make out a horse on the horizon.
The music reaches its climax.
It stops to eat a blade of grass.
It’s in no hurry.
The bad guy’s horse knows its destiny
is to always be at hand.
Morricone music continues to play.
José Antonio Pérez-Robleda (Sevilla, 1980) is a Spanish-born educator and poet who has been living for many years in Mexico. He has a degree in Philosophy from the University of Seville (2006), has won the Premio AMCO (Asociación Mexicana de Comunicadores Organizacionales AMCO, 2012), and won second place for the premio Adonais for young poets( España, Comité premio Adonais, 2014) which enabled him to publish his collection Mitología íntima (Rialp 2015). He has participated in the Cuenca, L. A. (2016). Séptima antología de Adonais. Ediciones Rialp and in the collective book Fakir Confinado (VVAA) El noticiero de poesía/Línea Imaginaria/Vallejo & Co, Ebook 2020). Currently is the founder of the video journal el noticiero de poesía.
Cover image: Photo by en nico.