A Bootful of Hate
M.T.C. Cronin

In a year
I'd built up so much hate
Around the house
That finally I decided
I'd have to get rid of it
I started burning incense
But people still noticed it
Joe said What's that smell?
Marie held a hanky
A crushed white flower
To her nose
I never understood dusting
But bought one of those
Old-fashioned feather dusters
And went from room to room
But it just rose
And settled

I ended up using a pair of tweezers
Picked up every last bit of it
And put it in a superstrong
Garbage bag
I was dragging round behind me
Around the top of the bag
I twisted one of those
Wire things
Covered with plastic
I had to take a day off work
To twist it round and round
To take the bag out to the garbage

But when I lifted the lids
Of the bins
They were full
Of other people's hate
I couldn't just leave it
On the footpath
What if a dog got at it
The mess it could make
And it would just be too much
If there were dogs
Roaming the streets
Full of hate
And I couldn't take it back inside
It wouldn't fit
Through the door
So I put it in the boot of the car
Revved her up
And drove off


I occasionally look
In the rear-vision mirror
To see what's behind me
Things you are unaware of
Which can suddenly overtake you
Or sniff at your tail
For miles
I like my face in a vibrating mirror
All blurred and part of the air

If I stop at a corner
I can see everyone
Once you would never
Have been around
So many strangers
Especially ones that yell
And wave their arms
I blow my horn
I don't know how
They can expect sensitivity

I turn on the radio
In a traffic jam
A woman rings up and says
Aren't men
Just the stupidest things
And the radio lady says
How did they ever build
Bridges and skyscrapers
I say
In between screws obviously
They had a long time in between screws
Says the caller
And they both laugh at me
Stuck in my car
In this line of cars
In a car-hungry city

At the corner of skyscrapers
I stop at lights
And wait
Flicking my hair
For one of those stupid men
To rush out and give me
A bunch of flowers
A cigarette butt lands in my lap
I put it out in the ashtray
I used to smoke

Which reminds me
That I'm driving around
With a boot full of hate
With no firm plan
Of what I'm going to do with it
Dump it?
I started to feel a bit edgy
About cars getting up my arse
This stuff could have
The properties
Of nitro-glycerine


A man's voice on the radio said
Beware of women
With thin lips
Without thinking I glanced
At my mouth in the mirror
It was then I noticed the speck
On my collar
That looked like the specks
In my lap
That I had thought were
Just ash
From the cigarette butt

They were minute pieces
Of Hate!
I looked over my shoulder
There was some on the back seat
And more on the floor
In the front
I'd been so busy
With things I couldn't quite think of
To clean the car

I knew if I looked at it
For too long
It would scare the hell out of me
Or maybe even
Physically attack me
So I pulled down a side street
And set about getting that
Fucking stuff
Out of the car
I used my bare hands
They were cut and bleeding
By the time I finished
I went to the boot
And untwisted
Round and round
The wire thing covered with plastic
And put the new car hate
In on top of the old house hate
Did up the whole thing again
Shut the boot
And got back in the car

I thought Jesus
The next time I take a sickie
I'm going to take it easy
Maybe go on a picnic
Or watch telly in bed
No housework!
Revved her back up
And took off


I thought maybe
I should get out of the city
And have a think
Perhaps I could get rid of it
In the country
But I didn't just want to
Dump it somewhere
I'd watched a program
On nuclear waste
The country was green
Holding up well

A billboard told me
To stop for lunch
I went up to the bar to pay
And a man said
I know how to treat a woman
Ask questions
It was then I realized
There was going to be
More hate
In the car
By the time I got back
The stuff was like blackheads
I topped up the petrol

And there'd be more
Back at the house
I decided then
Not to go home
The cats were smart
They'd work it out
They'd been smelling the hate
For months
Wrinkling up their coloured noses
Purring like geiger-counters
Detecting hate
With the tips of their tails
They liked to eat
They'd move


By the time it was dark
I had few options
I'd thought about charities
Maybe I could leave the bag
With one
Maybe they could do something
With it
Or recycling
But I was sure it was toxic
There was a smell
And would infect other things

I was tired
Kept looking back
Over my shoulder
Instead of at the road
That must have been how
I ended up
Running head-on
Into a semi-trailer
As big as a ship

I was wedged into the wreckage
Like a clove in an onion
So tight
That it squeezed tears
Out of me
They pulled me out
Just seconds before
The whole fucking thing
And I fell
Into a hate-free

In my dreams
Voices said
What'd she say

Something about
Stuff in the boot ... mate
I think
Then she passed out

Oh well
It's too late now
It's just ash

She's lucky though!

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