Let me explain how it all began; retrace with me
the sordid steps back to childhood pain.
Imagine an endless war: fanaticism shackled to atheism,
ongoing castigation, brutal flagellation,
guilt's spike rammed and jammed deep inside me.
A mocking crucified rictus leered above my bed,
peered at me, probed the shadow-dark corners in my head.
One night I tore it from the wall, lovingly replaced it
with the head of a haunting horse.
Its soul-sad eye-pools shone with empathy,
radiated liquid love in my loneliness, kept me company.
I loathed the trembling, timorous wretch I was,
fear-filthy and saddled with sin.
My only outlet and release was equine.
To escape, to feel freedom's blaze, I followed
enticing hoofprints across searing amber sand,
pressed my face into imprints
on the gold burnished strand.
Equus, son of Flequus, son of Nequus,
we galloped out together on tumultuous darkness,
his brawny neck jutting from between my vice-tight thighs,
the bit biting into tender, froth-flecked mouth corners,
his flying mane a white whip slashing my skin, spurring us on.
Rubbing my sweat-soaked self against the ripple of muscle
under silk-sleek flanks; the power plunge of thunder-hooves,
the lunge of sturdy shanks; his bludgeoning body
a white gash in the blackness. Aching-wet and wild
to be inside him, at one with him - a pounding union.
Nefandous nightmare stampeded at the stable door. Love became bestial.
I stroked them in strange, strangled dreams;
hauled them, mounted them, whipped them round
the blood-sticky straw of the stable floor.
Twelve coal-ebon eyes stared into a sinuous, skewed psyche,
accusing my urges, pillorying my perversions;
soul-stark, snaffling the bitter apple of blighted youth.
Those eyes - I had to put them out like snuffing stars.
Sorrowfully I sluiced sticky scarlet warmth from fevered fingers,
wretched with regret. But it had to be done.
I still see them: the six silky-flanked, softly snuffling ones;
spike-blinded, eye sockets oozing quiet crimson,
blood-roses blooming on their harrowed haunches.
You still batter me with questions, trampling
the dark dream-dust of my fantasies, seeking answers.
But I have learned how to sidestep neatly,
how to bury guilt and horror silently and discreetly.
*based on the stage play 'Equus'