(Crimson Saint — Shocking)
Still dark outside,
I fight to get the bit in.
He pulls me off my feet.
Get over you bastard, says Alfie
knees him in the guts
to make him let air out
drags the girth up tight —
Dracula savages the air
shakes it up in shock waves —
I’m too scared to admit I’m scared.
Alfie throws me up.
The horse sinks on his hocks, lurches against the wall
rattles the chains like snakes.
I snap the clip of my skull cap shut.
alright? asks Alfie.
I nod. He unclicks the chains —
explosive swing away
the back muscles bunch —
we let loose this way, that way
in leaps across the yard.
Trackwatchers flatten back.
Just sit quiet on him Alfie says
jig, jig jig goes the bit as Dracula worries
at steel, pull-jerks my arms
jolts us towards the open grass the course proper
we’re coming out on
wide wide green
If he gets away on you, says Alfie, don’t fight him.
When you try and fight, they just pull harder. If you get in trouble
kick him up hard along the straight
make him think he’s had a race, he might ease up
once you’re past the post
horses go snorting past, Dracula sinks down
like a cat
little prayers keep leaking out
I put my feet in the irons, cross
the reins to get a good hold
Alfie lets the bridle go