Saturday, November 28, 2015

Talking Pictures

His spurs would jingle when he brushed his teeth

Or dusted. When he bent down to remove
Clean silver from the dishwasher, his hat
Would hit the floor, 10 gallons all at once.

He drilled the Jack of Spades clean through the eye
At 20 paces. Right handed. He left
A slew of weepy dance-hall girls behind,
Their garters disarranged, their fishnets full.

The rustlers swung from greasy cottonwoods
Or, planted upside down in alkali,
Displayed their soleless boots to noon. Though cured,
They went unclaimed, black villains, black and blue.

The Chirikawa called him Brother Love,
Notorious as they were for irony
And tropes of understatement and reserve.
He hailed them from a distance, clad in white

With crimson trim. The dry-goods store in Fort
Pauperis did his dry cleaning for free.
(He'd saved them from the Crippled Kings last fall
At 2:30 on Main St., dentist time.)

Sunday a.m.s he offered himself brunch--
Chicken satay and crepes and papadoms.
He rubbed his boots with neats'-foot oil and planned
Retirement along the Jemez Springs,

Where no one asked for favors, no one died,
Except in winter, firewater brought
Dreams of the schoolmarm larnin' little boys
How Cicero betrayed himself for fear

And sent out letters wetted by a slave.
(Additional Effects, he called them.) Spring
Fell late on Jemez, cutthroats coming home,
Packed to the gills with stories of the snow.

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