Night of the Matador

By James McIntosh

The pavement suffers the night’s signature
Scrawled equal parts in haste and red,
A nocturnal incursion into the daytime
Where something had dripped, been left
Behind, from a portion of violence
Encased in leather or polystyrene,
Night’s actions are some kind of theft
Leaving traces here, and there, and here
Signifying that something has been taken,
Claw marks on the doorstep,
Strands of hair on the chicken wire,
A marooned shoe, adrift in juices,
As I walk on, striding through the crimescene
Turning up the volume to drown out shadows
I am walking along the line of the punch
Traced like a sky-scarring vapour trail.
Night steals from us
All those hours and all that flesh
And I just don’t know what’s become of it all
And night steals that too,
Reasons and ideas and hopes and beginnings,
Night occupies these and reclaims them for itself
In the rhetoric of the bullfight,
Violent night, wholly night,
Has no qualms who it bites,
And in its cloak and with its dagger
Night reduces dreams to stains.


James works for a healthcare publishing company based in Brighton, UK. Still working on his first novel, he puts off editing by playing guitar and singing in Supermarket and the Red Diamond Dragon Club.

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