Fiction

Poetry: ‘I Went to the Track’

by Lord Flint’s Volunteer

I WENT TO the track.
A good night out watching the greyhounds race and having a bet.

The mechanical rabbit whizzed past.
Traps sprang open.
Dogs chased.
They ran full tilt.
Perfect canine athletes, they ran as if their lives depended on it.
Trying to catch a mechanical lure — a pretend rabbit.

And at the finish they were taken away,
To repeat the game another night.
Bets were settled and the bookies counted their profits.
The unsuccessful dogs would be “put to sleep,” mostly.
The fast ones would be raced over and over —
Until they, too, were past their best.
No longer fast.
Then they too would be discarded.

The fittest dogs of all,
Spending their lives
Chasing something they would never be allowed to catch —
Something that wasn’t even what they believed it to be;
Something controlled by forces they knew nothing of.
Creating a profit for those in control.
A profit for the manipulators.
Retired/discarded if they didn’t do their best.
Discarded if they couldn’t keep up.

No matter how hard or how long they tried,
No matter how much they “won,”
Discarded once they no longer made a profit.

And still they tried.
Thinking of nothing else but the illusion they chased.

But they were animals.

I looked at the middle class professionals.
The businessmen, small time.
The office workers, the others.

Chasing something they would never be allowed to catch.
Something that wasn’t what they thought it was.
Something to which they would devote their entire lives.
To be discarded when they no longer made a profit.
A profit for forces they didn’t know existed.

They were people.

I am a man.
And a warrior who sees.
I don’t chase lures for others’ profit or pleasure.

* * *

Source: based on a poem published at New Order

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