Abattoir by Colin Carberry

by Steven McCabe

Seer h


seer ing

The stench of knackered horse carcasses seethes

into noon’s flushed stagnant light. Each slow,

inescapable death breath blights, impedes,

confuses; hits home with a body blow’s

paralyzing insistence, Let me in.

My one fan whines full tilt, I try to write,

but the sweat sticks, rasps like a second skin.

A stoned sun blanks down on the same old shite.

centre a


centre b


centre c

Blue skies blacken. Somnolent church bells toil.

Coarse hands sort the day’s takings in a till.

Our streetlight blinks and goes out. One by one

the furniture store’s night screens rattle shut.

A school bus bearing the shades of burnt out

workers belches past, RUTA: BABYLON

Seer x


Seer f

Colin Carberry is an Irish-Canadian poet and translator and the director of the Linares International Literary Festival (Mexico).


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A 23

Colin Carberry has said this poem is all about death and our powerlessness against it. In this work he blends, acutely, an existential scenario with social realism. I am reminded of the French expressionist painter Chaim Soutine who painted street scenes in Paris. And how, with obsessive, raw emotion he depicted carcasses hanging in butcher shop windows. Chaim Soutine at his end, sleeping in forests, hiding from the Gestapo, as sadly knackered as the horses in Carberry’s poem. And into the window of an unbearably hot room comes a seething stench as the death breath impedes and confuses the poet. The poet painting a street scene with words, situating the fragility of the senses, while rendering an empathy. Wherever I look in this poem I find empathy. The manipulated map is, appropriately, a visual metaphor.