Abattoir Ponies


I’m going to start writing and posting every day for a while; I want to gather together ideas, memories and images from my every day life to make sense of it if I can. Tonight just before dusk I walked by the abattoir and talked to the ponies. There was this shy pony and the Whitney Houston of ponies with a shaggy, crimped, black mane. These poor ponies live with the smell of death under their noses all day. By the abattoir it stinks like rancid meat, decaying corpses and shit. I worked there when I was nineteen. It was like going to Hell every morning, 5am and I would vomit a lot. I really wasn’t tough enough to stick it out. The ponies see the animals ushered in out of lorries and ushered out as headless torsos, stripped of all life. There was an open lorry parked by the abattoir, just full of metal hooks to hang the animals. I would wash my boots in a trough of disinfectant and walk into purgatory; men with bloodstained aprons casually holding knives and talking about sex. Them eating bacon butties with tomato sauce in the canteen. Death on top of death on top of death. Screens of transparent PVC separating one room from the next; different stages of death in each room, different processes. I worked in the mincing room. I remember calling my mum one night and actually saying ‘I just keep thinking about what my insides look like.’

I live in a lovely, lonely Lancashire town where nothing happens and I love the familiarity, the safety, the isolation and these are my roots now. However, I am isolated here and need to feel connected to the world as I can drift off into my own universe for long periods of time and fall out of orbit completely if I’m not careful. Today we visited a beautiful friend and had coffee and talked about how we are all afraid to talk about the reality of family lives, that they’re not perfect, and on facebook we all give the impression it’s all just so spot on when in fact mostly life is mundane and banal, and when it’s not banal it’s difficult, and when it’s not difficult it’s too busy to stop and spare a thought for abattoir ponies or how far we’ve come. Sometimes if I’m honest I just feel all alone and can’t bear it but I have my art, my writing and my family and friends and although no-one knows what’s going on in my head or I theirs we can find ways of reaching one another, I know it and I’m sure of it.

Nothing I write here will be edited at all so this is going to be a bumpy ride. I just took two promethezine and will sleep heavily tonight, and thank god. Last night I prayed just to say thank you, and not even to a god, just because I feel so grateful for the life I’ve been blessed with and I like to say it out loud, and in poems and whenever I can. I have a beautiful life. I am still quite ill from an episode which began in September and which I’ve found has resisted treatment. The pills all calm me down but sometimes my thoughts race and race and the pressure to talk and act and think and move and do fifty things at once is just so intense and I lose it so easily. Fall out of orbit. The simplest tasks can be so immense in my head. The days are full and bright. My mind rages. Whilst nothing is happening I have had a whole day’s thoughts in just an hour. I feel tired and can’t sleep. I’m agitated and preoccupied. I lose my fizz at midnight when the pills kick in and I can close my eyes without the painful intensity of a dark and quiet room. Death always features in my dreams no matter what and always has, alongside piercing snapshots of all the people I love and their beautiful unknowing expressions, and I reach out to touch them but never can; I’m either too tiny or too quiet, invisible or a ghost they can’t see, but I want to reach out and I want to touch. I want to connect, be visible, be seen, be real and be on this earth. I want it bad. I think too often in life we are afraid to say ‘I want’ – well I do and I’m not ashamed of it. I want.


4 thoughts on “Abattoir Ponies

  1. Pingback: Abattoir Ponies | Poetry News | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: Abattoir Ponies | Writing & Reading | Scoo...

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