Marlena Bontas’s poetry appears in Rock & Sling 10.2. Of “I Slaughtered Your Horses,” she writes: “I believe there is a deep connection between faith and literature. The most obvious one is the Bible, as there is a great narrative built around the time before and after Christ.
The Book of Revelation is closely related to my poem, ‘I slaughtered your horses’, because it emphasizes the need to control and keep people emotionally needy.
The rider on the black horse has this overwhelming power over others to control the rations of food, because he is holding a pair of ‘scales’ in his hand. This rider is also able to sustain ‘scarcity’. In my poem, I allude to control and scarcity, two themes that fit well with the portrayed father figure.
I’ve grown up in a deeply religious environment which shaped the way I write. When your life, as an adult, is dedicated to ‘God’, you have no power anymore over your own suffering. You only get strong if you pray and cleanse yourself of sins. My poem tries to deal with the theme of control that religion has over us. When we are dependent on a higher being to live our lives, we become weak and vulnerable. In a way, religion takes us back to when we were small and defenseless as children and our fathers took care of us. And, when we are defenseless, we give our power to somebody else. We become lost, confused, misguided.
I guess my main message is that love cannot be imposed on anyone. It has to be won, not conquered. However, if we are forced to love someone, it’s always good for us to ‘slaughter’ the ties with this type of love.”