Wooden Horses

Wooden Horses is about the juxtaposition of family and work, love and society. Brogan’s words highlight different aspects of everyday life and focuses on becoming a father for the first time. Brogan highlights these balances with at times naive, poetic forms that ring with subtle, yet relatable detail. We all must navigate the sometimes complicated waters of relationships and family, but were there is struggle, there is truth. Brogan’s words will  haunt the reader with familiar ghosts and inspire a fresh understanding.

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“These poems are time traveling and sturdy! Brogan utilizes classic poetic devices in “Wooden Horses”, poems about family bonds, work life and the act of balancing both. These stanzas and lines embrace the natural and simple wonders of life. His lyric and patterns are humorous, honest, and refreshing like a morning breath of spring dew.”

–Kisha Nicole Foster, Author of Poems 1999-2014 and Bloodwork.

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We were all ill prepared, a slim stem

rootless in firm ground; the door

opens on life without a sound, leaving debris

to piece together unknown realms.

 

Newborn, he grabbed for a flower,

and we as parents wonder in what ways

The petals will tear; as he grazes through days

what will he say is the story of his tower?

 

Transitions are doors to gated daffodil beds,

where foreseers, sprouting in Eden’s den, say

“Welcome to a piece of life!” Whose aim

is to discover sense — a drive to ascend.

Some say there is a golden ladder—

It’s secretly discussed by the press.

No paper covers or flatters,

As though the point should be put to rest.

Those who wrote of holy sin captured

What was told to the masses in jest

Since angels, weary of the Rapture,

Fled quick — mortality a failed test.

The laborers stuck to fight capture,

Sharpening blades for unholy raids

In attempts to destroy the ladder.

It’s said that those who’ve seen the flavors

At the top get rid of what matters

Since the rungs were their only savior.

 

Some say a boy once saw the structure,

Rushed to it, eager for splendor,

To find the ladder a render,

Practically a mirage with gold paint.

The top was boarded, though looked tender,

As if welcomed just if worth the rank.

These stories insist that the papers

Know the ladder is stained-over rust;

That capturers need a long line

So someone’s always behind.

A line has order like ladder rungs,

Keeping big eyes small, unrewindable.

Some say there is a golden ladder

Always a fingertip away. 

Love is east of eden,

Right of paradise—

And forces us to roam.

 

A vagabond stuck to form

Walks along silk roads

Aware it’s been done before.

 

“Haha, right?” at the taverns;

We eat aloneness—

Stick up a thumb, smile.

 

Backpedalling quiet routes,

Moving toward Eden in stride,

Just to chase the feeling.

I trust epic poets least of all,

they reject the hopelessness of life

favoring more dazzling locks.

 

Doors are scattered in resale

furniture shops. Entries are shelved

to collect dust: new money

 

laughs at uptights insisting

things aren’t made like before

as if forever isn’t a dreadful thing.

Often handled incorrectly,
  She stings in ways that leave
You motionless, semi-erect—
  (A jabbed, ringing left ear).

We step on cold mats to muscle
  Out our guttered stirring—
Synching gloves on swollen knuckles,
  All the rage transferring.

You learn quick how to roll a hit,
  Counter the next movement.
She’ll teach you the weight of fingers
  As you drag your heavy fist.


Like a brand new casket,
  She is patient, relaxed;
Not in a rush or a frantic,
  As if time won’t elapse.

A ticking clock is melting in a brass melting pot.

A regime is falling, leaving the aristocrats

of before aching and fighting

not to be the peasants of tomorrow.

Mothers flip pancakes behind locked doors

and closed blinds, hearing nightmares

of the undead scathing malnourished nails

under a red moon; fear creeps into

the developments built yesterday.

Children watch zombie movies

behind picket fences, hiding under beds

when a knock comes at the door.

The monster underneath sits beside

as the mailman leaves the bills.

The paycheck is smaller,

and the envelopes are laughing

as Uncle Sam pierces his bloodshot eyes

in through the upstairs bedroom.

He needs his fix, and he wants you;

but his dealers are low on supply.

The pot is too hot, and the stew is evaporating;

it will soon be charred and stuck,

leaving other regimes to scrape off—at a cost.

The citizens are fuming, and clean air is limited

as the smog increases.

Throats are sore from tears,

and kids shooting hoops

don’t know why their neighbors

are slitting wrists

behind home security systems

and modern drapes.

The only thing left is the foundation of it all;

find speech and free will spilled out or gone.

Between adjacent walls of capitalized shapes

is pavement—roads we create

to capture the view, forfeiting riskier stakes;

agreeing to billboards for a car path that is safe.

 

In accordance with pirates throwing loot overboard

(and although mountain time is still), gold—like rebar

in cement, is plastered to the molded seafloor,

and is a picture-in-time’s wily keyboard.

 

Richer lands may not be greener—golden

silhouettes of sand dance in circles from winds

that cover signs, and remind travelers

that billboards are not on mountain time.

I was born at the dog race

on a cold bleacher seat.

Umbilical to birth’s source

was when I first heard

the sound of a gun.

 

Shock opened my eyes

and the first thing

those virgins ever saw

were snouts

crossing the line.

 

In the years since

the dogs have circled

too many times

to keep with my count.

I can now only deduce

that God gave ten digits

with a purpose.

 

Their intentions

never made sense

until understood

from behind.

Opening blinds

bring in heaven’s

serpent tongue.

 

They rabidly race

with a bleeding vigor

that I must admit

sings to my Achilles soul.

 

They tell of what it takes

for each spirit

to become undone;

that it’s not only me

but that we’re

all babies

with only days between.

 

I am still today

on the same

cold bleacher seat,

and the dogs are yet

to finish their race.

A tree bends down its branches,

pulls up its roots by the shin,

and walks toward the beautiful maple;

having been wild for her

since they were both but seeds.

 

The symphony of streams

along their shared view—shared for many days

and months and years—gleams up

as dirt is wrenched from the long-remaining

ground and into the lapsing water.

 

Fully erect when released, the days

have passed rather like seconds in the streams

that flow readily in their shared view

for what the future should hold—

as was outlined when dreamed of in the past.

 

And so in its infancy of lust—called on

by the charm of a lover with a shared view

of the begging and pulsing streams,

which contain the dreams they hope to share

of what should be—

 

a tree bends down its branches,

pulls up its roots by the shin,

and walks toward the beautiful maple;

having been wild for her

since they were both but seeds.

when i was little i thought a bastard

was a small fish

i confused it with the word sardine

it seems ridiculous now

but i remember saying it after school one day

thinking nothing of it

playing with the aftercare kids

whose parents came four hours later

than the parents

that we all thought loved their kids

more than ours loved us

i used the word for some brilliant

seven-year-old playground analogy

and still remember

the aftercare lady looking at me

with a very slight watering in her eyes

looking at me like a statistic

like a bastard who didn’t know yet

he wasn’t a small fish

i didn’t mind it at the time

unaware of what her thoughts may have been

but looking back

her feelings didn’t help me in any way

i have no interest in being a statistic

An idle fame rests on the mantle, rewritten to be

gawked at under eyes of herded cattle

who as a mass are only to engage in idle chatter.

 

The idle fame is sprawled on a picturesque wooden T,

with a bandolier sketched over, hanging across his ribs

like a rosary dangles under a shrine of glowing candles.

 

Like sheep to slaughter, the crowd is only vaguely

aware of a larger show, bull’s-eye-bound arrows

with unknown targets (spectacles invite silences).

 

Night’s eve to the garden after the fall has been revised

to cater to the needs of thrones; rewritten by restless classes

is a story set ablaze, urging violence within the masses. 

A Hitchcock film is being narrated

inside an automated sex machine

doubled as an overregulated paper press

on the top of an old Jazz Era oak desk;

what ruins a generation can make.

 

Moviegoers watch Greek goddesses

roam the district of lights

hoping Caesar opens his gate

wielding a king’s sword once stuck in stone.

Battles in the jungle trenches leave dead

many men who fought to have

their names heard, otherwise erased.

 

Hanging rosaries caress the priest’s hand

of a mighty Catholic cathedral

wrapped inside of an Egyptian pyramid.

Doctrines are organized the same today

in the great American Plains.

 

Aztec ruins paint a blank canvass

in a medium of internal impressions;

likewise searching were the imperialists

who came to enforce a new land.

 

The ruins of man are romantically studied

only long after the massacre;

the rest thought not to be at all—

even when witches and werewolves

walk the streets cloaked in epaulets

where there are no clean hands.

The universe, with no end,
Lacks a point of understanding
Though scars always seek one to mend;
Fanning fires only keeps a base-tan—
Recognizing disorder is to eat death.

As square shapes are lost trying
To decide where their lines are,
The charcoal pines (like broken eggs)
Are dying to be whole,
To be the sun, an adored star.

Barbaric, bizarre; with no end—
Like a vulture’s well-spent time,
there’s one True Word to record,
(A crease in the fold that holds it all);
Maggots live lives most explored.

Eating death, now that’s a line
With three others that can
Be called a square; there’s no end
To any one point of reasoning,
So the savvy eat death all the time.

Exhausted rubber burns with the mourning

of America’s not-for-profit funeral.

Midwest stuck in a Chevy ’02,

pulled down into an event horizon blues.

Engines ream as pedals strike the floor,

steering away horrors on a mega bus tour.

Youngsters are doing research on the inner soul;

time spent leaping from growing black holes.

They’re learning the expense

of leaving loved ones, young and old.

It seems they’re preparing caskets

and digging further into already-present holes.

Sunlight pushes on torn-down towns

of the American Dream’s sorrowful repent.

The heartland’s foreclosed and up for rent—

can’t help but notice the interstate’s bend.

Kingdoms are clay

and their language a river,

bleeding into the hearts,

and under the fingernails,

of individualism—

created by the king’s clay words;

transmitted to

the kingdom’s clay people.

the boy in his hole

sings a song to himself

as he digs to the middle

of the earth

 

once all alone

he smiles to himself

as the walls

come crumbling in

 

he’s dug far too long

and has lost his own

way the darkness is

taking his name

 

when the hole caves in

and the lights went out

he sang to himself

in the shade

 

the boy in his hole

sings a song to himself

as he digs to the middle

of his grave

 

as the dirt in the air

sings a song so sweet

he knows that his

death is near

Mental representations

of realities

beyond our scope

of interpretation.

 

Give me an impression

of why beauty

is beautiful,

 

and ugly

is hateful.

An impression

of my existence

is imprinted in the

malleable beach sand.

 

It shows my bodily features,

of which I interpret,

but do not truly

understand.

 

I didn’t create

language,

but, rather, language

seems to have

created me.

 

It changes,

like the sweat

on my hand,

and the thoughts

in my head.

 

The night is all the time:

One day it will see light

(Like a bird seeing its reflection

While hitting its last window)

 

Hidden in our senses the outsider,

It holds another face, self-butchered

(Weaving seams like barn spiders,

Patching deep scars, cheaply sutured)

🔶

It burrows to survive, those dainty legs

Making a pastry of memory’s archives

(The night is all the time,

One day it will see the light)

 

In a switch the mind is gone; the spider

Crawls, leaking out of the right ear

(Dripping like a leaky faucet onto a

Fraying doormat, long abandoned)

🔶

The outsider is useless, dormant,

A waiting doormat of abuses

(Waiting for its moment to see the light,

Like a bird seeing its last window)

 

The trigger is set and the rage has won:

Sleep buddy, then the fear will get gone!

(The mirror cast a light too strong

Like a bird hitting its last window)

🔶

Hidden in our senses, the outsider,

It holds another face, self-butchered

(Weaving seams like a barn spider,

Patching deep scars, cheaply sutured)

 

The night is all the time:

One day it will see light

(Like a bird seeing its reflection

While hitting its last window)

“The truth is somewhere in the middle”

says the rational person—

probably the right answer, really.

 

But it leaves the heart aching;

discontent with the idea

that emotion can misconstrue logic

in an argument between two opposing forces.

 

We’d rather a bullfight—

desperate for blood to pump our veins,

finding in it a reason to believe.

 

Throw ‘em in a cage,

call it a race to be king.

Remember, when you go to the booths,

vote for someone you believe!

A representation of the divine

presents itself as an allegory

inside the icon of a rising sun

 

as much so as it is contained

in the republic of marching ants,

creating a world of their own recognition

under sidewalk streets.

 

Every piece of plastic found

floating in the deep sea of themselves

symbolizes the ideal world.

 

We claw ourselves from caves of darkness

to see worldliness only in geometric lines,

which the artist bends and refracts

to take in their hand

 

nothing which creates something

within a divine source

which we view as an idea.

Culture is the grandfather of prose.

The author, an extension

of a structural language born into;

his creations inherited

from the earliest of mornings.

Wild is authorship, an outlet more present

than the psychology of the individual.

Uniqueness lies not in the artistic mind,

but in the systemic life the mind exists within.

Humanity! not the end, nor the beginning.

We are but extensions of systemic naturalism,

expressing life within human thought;

whimsical in its metaphoric description.

He busy dying

may understand life,

but understands little

of living.

 

Plastic bags cover the floors

of the homes and towns;

even those I adore.

 

A fella’s plate

means nothing to yours,

but a painter’s brush

is a right to enjoy.

 

The untamed West

is but an illusion

to untamed souls,

both them and yours.

A cricket croaks out a lonely tune

on a bitter summer morning

  reminding me that in his vain pursuit

  he is alone on an otherwise pleasing day.

 

In his call I think of a friend and of myself—

desires for the days ahead that I realize

  to be foolish enough to ponder

  fully aware lust’s vehicle always moves.

 

He shouts to the sky the same as the moon

during its unusual and sensual time spent

  visible on a clear morning, making one

  wonder if it’s where it’s supposed to be.

 

The outlined globe of sand calls back

with heated words of love

  and I must warn the changing of the tides

  not to be impatient.

 

The sea that calls will be sailed in time,

for we are now on a trail through the mountains

  the same as she, making way with barriers

  that we hope not to leave our youth to die.

 

Wherever it may be, in the clouds,

day or night, we share the moon

  that moves and grows large like Earth’s seed

  and guides us always in the end together.   

Let’s rest outside today

and throw stones in our minds.

Dirt under callused feet seems to be alive.

It tells us to sit and bleed thoughts or else die.

It is for me the opposite of suicide.

We’ll sit and laugh, watch wheels go and go.

Lazy is a word too obscene to articulate

the delicacy of flavor I smell in the air.

Watch wheels pass with clouds in the sky.

Physical movement is but an aspect

of heightening movement of the soul.

Forewarn the wanderlust who knows this not.

Where once there was gold

Standss darkness the likes of which

Was long before rigid,

Course like a dagger

With its polish shine,

Mountains turned to dust

To drown in the tide.

 

Where once there was sand

Stands the sea, dead calm, kids

Keep jars of what was, once,

Holding time in an hourglass

To rest in their palm.

 

Pebbles fall through hands

Of an image, where two

Can’t exist; memory holds

One, the sea takes another.

a spherical planet

in empty space

light fragments of energy

bounce from object to object

all the same

a trampoline warps and bends

as the fat kid jumps

causing the smaller objects

to detour their paths

circling the sun

circling the pretty girl on the trampoline

everyone pretending they don’t care

when everyone there

wishes they had the guts

to talk to the girl

and talk to the sun

and ask why they care

about the girl

and about the sun

energy particles dance through the window

and shine light on the girl’s face

i lie with her

and with the sun

on a spherical planet

in empty space

Using some worn out metaphor

to look into the deep dark dead sea

brings to mind a chirping red bird

on a windowsill

whistling painful pictures of worn out

and tired faces; wrinkled old faces

that all look like the red bird and are all tired.

They bring to its eyes tears of beauty;

it hurts to speak and listen.

The red bird sings up a well-known mountain

where old cigarette butts and cheap

empty wine bottles are littered.

It’s thirsty but the bottles are dry;

those good speakers of before stayed thirsty.

They are silent now, and the red bird is young.

But it is tired; all it sees is that the trek is long.

The mountainous path is filled with pains

and vices are littered around its pursuit.

The lonely mountain air

calls out to the searching eyes

in each town and square and market,

slowly creating creases in their features;

creeping toward being old and tired;

creeping toward the sea while falling in love—

some sort of form that has meaning.

She puckered her chin,

clenched her lips,

in the normal routine

before she spoke.

 

Readying herself—

putting her face on.

 

But she was too weak to go any further.

 

Her eyes opened, and for a fraction of a second,

looked—

in a lucid way.

 

A way that forever questions

whether there was an understanding—

I was looking back.

 

She tried,

and I will never understand

how hard she did.

Until perhaps I find myself

on my deathbed.

 

But know that a mother’s love

need not be expressed

 

more so

than the puckering of a chin,

and opening eyes,

for a fraction of a second.

Beauty originated the desire to interpret.

Looking forward to the past,

life arises from a narrative, like a body crucified

for the sole purpose of returning.

 

Every tragedy births a fetishized story

crying to be interpreted;

holes in hands prevent the grasp of life

outside of its communication.

 

Mathematics is the new angel

of the old western world;

its mythos cloaked in the belief of logic,

feeding humanity’s continuing search.

Elephant tattoos are painted

on Rocky Mountain walls, far below

untouched Rocky Mountain highs.

Faith-looking is the mime

with an irreversibly painted soul.

Hearty flight and weighted melancholy

are inside the climber crazed.

Better off behind bars! says the freighted train.

Reach the top or else stop

in a field of ghost-hidden tracks;

monotony ruined man

well before Adam ate an apple.

Death or else splendor!

says the slender young rebel;

risking a chance to defeat

a deadly, life-procuring devil—

a place no sane man dare be.

Alas! he says when he grasps

what for millennia he has seen.

Touch a brisk, frosty heaven

and laugh within and away

a devilish pain.

Let go of what once was, and see what is!

He shouts a wolf puppy howl

and then makes his way down.

Eventually older, he wonders

if he was the fool he’d spoken of before

and then blushes;

he acts so similar to how he was before,

and it makes him wonder,

even when thinking

of those he’s once adored,

what his time waiting had all been for.

Is all one is read backward?

Pantomime the gesture of a setting sun

while touching the tear from a lover’s eye.

Trek to the top of the hill

to find it was never a place at all,

other than to enjoy

Hebe’s eternally youthful soul.

 

Laissez faire in the heated summer sun.

Watch leaves turn strange colors

with the coming of fall.

Wear a sweater that covers the winter breeze

and call to a woman, perhaps a wife.

 

To school before dawn and work until night;

good occasion with friends

between times of fright.

Perhaps a hobby to pass the time; false interest

in promises from politicians who lie.

 

Think of your own death

and witness a family member’s come too soon.

Learn and realize how unlearned you are still.

Perhaps these are some of the things of life.

Backward read is one all is.