I saw a dead horse in the road on the way to Ballyfermot

Gericault (1823) Study for Dead Horse
Gericault (1823) Study for Dead Horse

Cycling to prison for the summer
To meditate with the addicts and murderers
Sweating in the sun on the cycle path in July
By a river, by the rushes and marram grass
With blue skies carrying clumps of cloud like afterthoughts
And wind singing the white noise of motion
My cycle carries me forwards
Towards the beaten broken men for repair

But as I thought
Of economics
Of the Buddha
And God

I saw a dead horse in the bushes on the road to Ballyfermot
And as I felt dread well in me like a thick oil
I saw the world with new eyes

This road was not just a way out to prison
But a path to the soul of the country

Passing diving children with that youthful frisson
Of chilled skin in sun and shining smiles
I could now hear their harsh ambulance techno
See their suspicious eyes and surly sensuality of puberty

And where before people enjoyed the summers day,
I now saw the lonely soused quicken deaths call
On the benches only moments away
Cans strewing the path

Quietly I pedaled and passed
But inside I screamed
There’s a dead horse in the road
On the way to Ballyfermot

Lit up by the fire in me
Graffiti blotted the concrete
Suddenly overwhelming in its omnipresence
Made filthy by association
With the dead horse in the road
On the way to Ballyfermot

Because no mere accident this
But a sign written in blood
By the devil whose face pushed out into the material realm
Through the silent frozen scream of the poor beast

In that face I saw the death of community
The death of the tribe and the ancestral lineage
Where nationality became more sensuality and barbarianism
Where religion became a weapon, politics a gag
With gaunt faces parasited by that looming shadow of an economy

And the future nothing more than Nietzsche’s abyss
Staring deep into those with the courage to lift their faces
Hollowing the brave and neutering the wise.

And so an omen was relayed upon me
Darkening the sun upon me
And foreshadowing a terrible future

Recalling a hungry time when my brethren
Joyously proclaiming their luck, would say
There’s a dead horse in the road
On the way to Ballyfermot

I saw the plea on its face
An unanswered prayer
For peace
Instead

I saw a dead horse in the road on the way to Ballyfermot

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