Bullfight - Poem by Andrew Leopold
The molten heat of the afternoon sun,
Invades the deepest shadows of the shingled-roofed tiers,
Which, reluctant to escape into the languid air,
Collects, in creases of the skin,
And upon scalps,
Then dribbles down shallow vertebral grooves,
And from armpits,
Or staining shirts with triangular patches.
In the open terraces the radiant force of the sun,
Parches the skin of exposed limbs,
Initiating subcutaneous eruptions,
And evacuation of body oils,
Presaging afflictions of the aged.
It bleaches eyebrows,
And glances from the frames of sunglasses,
speckling with flashes the multifarious colours of the crowd,
that has come to savour the bloodletting,
And to take vicarious pleasure in the deaths of tortured and frenzied bulls.
Into the arena of meticulous death, whose dark sands thirst for innocent blood,
The matadors strut with arrogant pride,
To the blurting applause of brass and brash strings, and the noisy, fickle, acclaim of the crowd:
A garish parade,
As an overture to the torture inflicted upon the unfortunate bulls.
But what emotions stir the crowd, that circle of jackals,
As the magnificent fighting bull, bred for the crowd's amusement,
That sleek-sided black aggressive flesh, hung with horns,
Enters the arena.
Then pauses, warily sampling the air,
While the red dust waiting to drink his blood, curls in anticipation
about his polished black hooves,
Then rises to mingle with the hot air that scalds his lungs.
As his flanks heave he snorts in angry confusion,
Tosses his gleaming horns, and bubbles at the nostrils.
Where is the valour, what is admirable about the vicious banderilleros?
That, like dogs of a ravening pack, dart forward to implant their cruel barbs,
In the neck of the bull,
Who rages impotently as they flee before his charge,
Affording him the briefest victory,
The ignoble picador with burnished phallic lance, armoured legs, bright silks,
And a comical hat,
Astride his mutilated and plodding steed, that is grotesquely padded against prodding horns,
And with sense of smell nullified,
Yet terrified still,
Has its blundering efforts to escape neutralised by the beast upon its back,
Who, lasciviously, upon the withers of the bull, with gouging weapon,
Makes indecent assault, to destroy the bull's tossing muscles.
The flashy matador, with ego preened and body groomed,
Incites the crippled bull, by fluttering his tantalising cape,
Goading the stricken animal into exhausting futile charges,
Confusing and mesmerising Taurus, to the acclaim of the crowd,
With cocky mincing steps he executes the Faena,
That little dance of death,
Until, with so-called masterful display,
He callously extinguishes, with barbaric flourish,
A spark of life, gestated in aeons past,
And which links all sentient matter,
That man wantonly destroys,
But is unable to create.
Deprived of life the mound of flesh'
A black hulk of aimless protoplasm,
Froths blood that dribbles to the sand,
Attracting flies, that adhere and suck,
As ignominiously, with embarrassed haste,
From the arena it is dragged,
For the market next day,
Leaving the matador the badge of merit:
And if the crowd is satiate,
Maybe a hoof.
Topic(s) of this poem: cruelty
Form: Free Verse
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