Dancing With a Mustang in Inner Space

The soul-shattering news alert bit me in the face, cut me up, opened old wounds, and
rushed into my bloodstream. I heard the excruciating echoes of the past. And I thought
about wild horses and my father’s horse story.

“It bit me in the face when I was a kid,” he said nonchalantly. “Guess I wasn’t looking,
son. Got this pretty scar, right here in my left cheek,” he pointed proudly, grinning
wickedly, his gold teeth glittering in the sprawling sun on the Coney Island Boardwalk.
We sat on a wooden bench, devoured Nathan’s hot dogs with mustard and sauerkraut and
sizzling French fries with thick globs of ketchup. And Father told multicolored stories of
good and evil.

Maybe it was his right cheek. I can’t recall. But he rode horses in his youth in the
Austrian wilderness, perhaps the small, chestnut Haflinger or Avelignese stallions.

I drifted off again and danced with a Mustang in Inner Space, swirled around the Land of
Daydreams, clutching barefoot hooves that cut my olive hands, for the horny covering
stabbed my flesh as the majestic beast rose toward the Heavens;

I became the Mustang in my head on this day of unfathomable evil when another
innocent was beheaded by ISIS or ISIL or IS, the terrorist Apocalypse.

Evil is here and now, and it thrusts itself into our lives, for it is a thick knife slashing our
skin and cutting deep into our flesh and bones; and piercing and penetrating our psyches
and contaminating our souls; as it enters and violates us again and again.

Dancing with a Mustang in Inner Space, I rage against unspeakable evil, with the fire of
justice and the celestial breath of life and my love for others. I eat the dust of the dead
and mourn for them, and mixed with my anguish and its vastness, and my trauma and
shock, and the death of whatever I was before this bestial beheading, is the hole at the
center of my being-the emptiness that never ends-the abyss that is the nothingness that
gives birth to rage, a wild stallion that cries out against evil

Evil is here and now, and it wears many faces, and it calls itself myriad names, but today,
I call it ISIS, and we must obliterate it, for our survival and humanity and love.

I am a Mustang in Inner Space and I rage against unfathomable evil.


Artwork © Stacy Esch

Artwork © Stacy Esch


Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines including Hardboiled Detective, Espionage, the Saint, Pulp Metal Magazine and Audience. His poems have been widely published in magazines and books including Skive Magazine, Poetry Pacific, Poetica, The Jewish Press, The Jerusalem Post, Hotmetal Press, Ascent Aspirations, and Namaste Fiji: The International Anthology of Poetry. A past winner of the literary Gradiva Award in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in literature and is the author of 11 books. He recently completed an experimental mystery novel inspired by one of Freud’s case studies.

Stacy Esch lives and works in West Chester, Pennsylvania, teaching English at West Chester University. Digital art and photography are the twin passions that compete alongside her interest in writing, reading, songwriting, and gardening. She has previously published works in Ibbetson Street, Turkshead Review and wordriver literary review. She has produced cover art for chapbooks by Kenneth Pobo (Save My Place and Placemats) and her artwork is featured at Spruce Alley Press, where she published a colorful 2014 Calendar as well as distinctive illustrations for the chapbook, When The Light Turns Green.