Marty Smith

(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

Hinemoana Baker (audio)
James Brown (audio)
Rachel Bush (audio)
Jen Crawford
Emily Dobson
Megan Johnson
Andrew Johnston
Stefanie Lash
Anna Livesey
Stephanie de Montalk
Marty Smith  
Elizabeth Smither
Cath Vidler
Sue Wootton
Sonja Yelich

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