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  1. Raw Horse

  2. "With the Breakdown of Faith in the Established Churches and the Collapse of Confidence in the Certainties of the Enlightenment, We in the Western World, at the End of the Twentieth Century, have Witnessed a Curious Blurring of the Boundaries between Art, Science and Religion." Discuss.

  3. Popular Culture

  4. Tim Turnbull's Poetry Quiz
Raw Horse    
Hear a RealAudio recording of “Raw Horse” 4.34


I step into the restaurant
                                        And bellow my order
                                     Bellow my order
Bring me a raw horse
Bring me a horse I roar!

Bring me a whole horse
Bring me a whole live horse!

The other customers quail
Bewildered children clutch their mothers' skirts
And wail

The maitre d'
Whimpers, smiles a nervous smile
And sidles up to me
'P'haps M'sieur would laak to traa
Som escalope of veal
Smothered in a rich waan sauce
With 'aricots vert
Et pommes Dauphinoise.....'


An uneasy murmur ripples
                                             Round the room
As diners shuffle knives and forks
                                                        And spoons
The air is dense with desperation
                                                   And gloom
They're hoping it'll all be over
They glance
For a way 
                                   To escape

One man panics and makes a break
I intercept him with a body check
That drives him through the plate glass shopfront
He dies impaled in a pool on the pavement


And bring me a raw horse
Bring me a horse I roar

The horse is brought
It shies and struggles and stamps and snorts
I strip to the waist
The waiter trips and stumbles
In his haste to get away

He crashes through the kitchen doors
Which clatter on their springs revealing
The sous-chef swinging by his apron strings

From a hook in the kitchen ceiling
My sinews strain and muscles flex
Flecks of foam from the horses nostrils
Spatter my chest

A couple of pensioners piss their pants
And with a screech beseech me
'Oh spare the noble beast
Eat us instead
We're old and bony
But our blood is red.
Oh spare the horse'
The pair implore.

Two well aimed fish forks
Nail them to the wall.
The air is thick with sweat
And fear
The horses eyes roll white
It screams and rears.

I grasp its head
And taking care to bite an ear off
While its still alive,
I wrestle it to the floor

Tables, chairs are splintered
Crockery breaks
I snap its neck
Its legs keep flailing
As I tear into its flesh

Eating, eating, eating, eating,
Eating, eating, eating,
Eating, eating,

Till I'm sated.

Then when gorged
I torch the place
And walk away
Covered head to toe
In guts and gore,

Because I eat horses

I eat horses

I eat horses

RAW . . . .

Raw HorsePopular Culture | Tim Turnbull's Poetry Quiz | Bio

"With the Breakdown of Faith in the Established Churches and the Collapse of Confidence in the Certainties of the Enlightenment, We in the Western World, at the End of the Twentieth Century, have Witnessed a Curious Blurring of the Boundaries between Art, Science and Religion." Discuss

That's as maybe.
I've been thinking about something similar
lately, at least where writers are concerned,
and I've concluded that the novelists' craft
is not unlike that branch of behavioural
science -
              the one where scientists persuade
day-old fluffy ducklings that their mothers
are battery-operated robots, or beach balls,
or some such, then film the tweeting creatures
tumbling over one another, trying to find
a wing to shelter under, in acute and evident
              Or the one where they build plastic
rat-cities, populate them with lab-rats,
then introduce viruses or engender
tumours on the beasts' backs. And observe.
And fill clipboards with notes on mortality
rates, population dynamics, aggression
or group relationships and then extrapolate
dubious conclusions about the human
              Our own art, which some still call
Poesy, is more analogous with, I think,
the vivisectionist's trade. Turning something
furry and familiar inside out;
exposing guts, gills, livers, lungs and a clutch
of unborn young, all infused with the stink
of alcohol and death. God have mercy on us.
                              Somebody get me a drink.

Raw Horse | With the Breakdown....  | Tim Turnbull's Poetry Quiz | Bio

Popular Culture
Hear a RealAudio recording of “Popular Culture” (6.00)

He's                                   waiting for his man.
We know this because he tells us so,
The rain lashes against the Scout Hut windows
and the young folks look on aghast
                                            or at best bemused.
Some suppress sniggers and glance at their mates
'cause this is Hertfordshire
                                  and not the United States.
He's                                    waiting for his man
and nobody here would doubt his
With his grey pony-tail and his
                                      raffish black beret
you can see he's every inch
                                the rock star manqué
and, ooh, the way he writhes on the floor
                                     in the tortuous solo,
enhancing the drunken guitarist's
                                tuneless noodling.

He's                                    waiting for his man
with his band of hand-picked, youthful musicians,
like the cool girl on the bass in fatigues
                                  who would look even cooler
if she could only peel her eyes away from the fretboard
or the drummer, who's keeping good time,
                                          and is in much demand.
Not least because he works for the builder
                                  and can borrow a van.

He's                                    waiting for his man,
while the main attraction,
                                  some hopefuls from Hitchin,
sit around on their cases and amps
                             and drink the free lager
looking bored and blasé and bound
                                          for greater things.
They'll put their forty quid towards the recording
of a demo tape that will make their name,
                                                                    or not.

He's                                    waiting for his man
but the reprobates from Stevenage
                                who could supply the narcotics
will not be attending
                                  this evening's pop concert.
They've had a rare old time
                                  dodging the police helicopter
and celebrated victory by burning out
                                          the Renault 5 Turbo
on a piece of waste ground at the edge of town.

He's                                    waiting for his man
though it looks like he won't have to wait
                                                 for very much longer.
There's a mutiny brewing out there
                                                 among the teenagers.
They're saying this is really, really boring
and doesn't that old guy have friends
                                                       his own age,
and they want to know if they can have
                                                  the disco back on.

                                  Turn the disco on.

He's got eight pounds sixty in his hand,
his life didn't work out quite the way he planned
it. He's got eight pounds sixty in his hand,
his life didn't work out quite the way he planned
it. He's got eight pounds sixty in his hand,
his life didn't work out quite the way he planned

And he waits.

Raw Horse | With the Breakdown.... | Popular Culture | Bio

Tim Turnbull's Poetry Quiz

Hi and welcome to our Poetry Quiz
your chance to test your understanding
of our Author's oeuvre.

Study the statements below and simply circle
the answer that corresponds with
or comes closest to your own view.

Number 1

I think that the Author's work is driven by:

a) egotism and misanthropy

b) destructive self-loathing coupled with a burning
    love for all of humankind

c) blind panic and alcohol dependency

Number 2

Technically I admire the Author's work for its:

a) playful deconstruction of the heroic couplet and
    wildly original use of spondaic, trochaic and even
    amphibrachic substitutions

b) complete disregard for traditional metrical convention
    and emphasis on the musical cadences of everyday speech

c) swearing

Number 3

Reading the Author's work leaves me feeling:

a) challenged, intellectually stimulated, but ultimately, hungry for more

b) elated, filled with the joy of the primal songs of the world

c) bilious and with a strange itchy sensation in the groinal area

Number 4

I would be most likely to find the Author's work in:

a) a dusty antiquarian bookseller's shop midst shelves
    of hand-tooled leather-bound tomes by classical scholars
    and their ilk

b) an anthology of the world's most heartfelt and uplifting verse
    by the world's most sensitive artists as measured on the UN
    agreed International Sensitivity Scale (ISS)

c) disarray

Number 5

If I could reward the Author in any way for pleasure
he has given me I would:

a) see to it that he was housed in an Elizabethan manor
    and received a handsome stipend in perpetuity

b) put him forward for the Novel Prizes for Literature and
    Peace so that his name will be forever revered

c) spit in his eye and shit on his living room carpet
Now to find out how you've fared -

If you circled mostly 'a's you are:

A piece of garden furniture, probably a plastic chair
left out in the rain, stained with dirt and slime,
aware, all the while, that the wooden furniture in the house,
the chests of drawers, the wardrobes and settees,
the proper furniture,
is tucked up snug and toasty warm,
smug and having a little laugh at your expense,
And the Lord preserve you if your leg ever buckles
at a barbecue.

If you circled mostly 'b's you are:

A man in a monkey suit with the zip stuck
running through the park, scrabbling around the
back of your neck, trying to loose the fastener
and elude the love-starved silverback
gorilla which pounds along behind you, knuckles
all ascrape, hot in amourous pursuit.
And God help you if it ever catches up.

If you circled mostly 'c's you are:

A coat hanger car radio aerial picking up the dross
of the airwaves; endless ads for double glazing, reports
from church bazaars, weather forecasts for farmers and
growers compiled by men with seaweed and pigeon
bones and talk shows where the guest's a woman who
still makes anti-macasars.
But tune in as we come burning through with another jumpin' transmission.
Never fear for help and hope are always at hand.

Hallelujah. Amen.


More Tim Turnbull? Yes Please!  Then... let's go to issue 22!
©1998/ 1999 TIM TURNBULL

Raw Horse | With the Breakdown... | Popular Culture | Tim Turnbull's Poetry Quiz |
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Audio info: Tim Turnbull 2 Poems with Rock Music
Popular Culture: Music The Velvet Underground
Raw Horse: Music Einstürzende Neubauten
Programming: Taka Mukai
Engineering: Georgette Okey
Thanks to Haringey Arts Council for funding

These poems may not be archived or distributed further without the author's express permission. Please see our conditions of use.

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tim_t.jpg (6958 bytes)Tim Turnbull was born in rural North Yorkshire in 1960 and lived in the same village for many years. He's worked in forestry most of his adult life and for fifteen years sang in a variety of punk, industrial, ska-type bands. When he finally got sick of other people, he started to write and perform his poetry, moving to London five years ago and taking to the city and the poetry like a rat to sewers. He's performed all over England and the U.S., both on his own and with the slam team "Heart of Darkness." Last year he performed at the Edinburgh Festival with Big Word. The poem "With the Breakdown of Faith . . . " Discuss was commended in the Poetry Society's National Poetry Competition. Turnbull is a regular contributor to Rising Magazine.