24 Aug 2008

passive imagination

no. but here
stand dogs

and the keys to
a long-forgotten peroration,

cowboys’ skulls laced
with ranges.

the middle age is plagued
by mange

and the moon’s a
migrant loon

seeking six shooters
to roost in.

the penny arcades of

the corral’s okay for ghosts
of steaks

and centaur amputees. but the mud
streets seethe—in plastic chaps,

bootclomp and spurclang
and caps—with little palefaces’

screams: “Bang! Bang!”

at least we knew what it was then—
after all, even six cylinders ‘re

a poverty stricken facsimile—
to sit astride a single unit

sweat damp sinking
tin stars into muscled flesh

bone weary and butt sore
movement was effort and

spacevast—from the backseat they saw
‘are we there yet?’

here at least one
would like to think familiarity might breed

that the frayed hemp might burn
tanned palm
as much as corded throat;

after all, here was true frontier
democracy—monarchical display placed
in everyman’s gloved hand;

still, the fall denuded
oaks weave cats’ cradles,
awaiting a retrograde spring

redskin faces ghost
faced gunslinger—

shivers up tautdrawn
staggut string,

elmlimb and stonebone,
a curled finger coughs

up lead and


opens a redmouth to vomit itself
—unmanifest density

plastic tomahawk grip slick
between sweat-laced fingers the dyed feathers

caproll slips
inside the grease-blackened groove

a lolling tongue ready to snap bitesized violence,
an aluminum wing levers up to unveil the chamber—

hot here
in the unspooling winds, hills

like history’s humped dust,
stilled waves of countless slumbering hips,

dead shoulders raked
to molecule; rusthulk;

here come the Indians. prepare to open,


and would not such a tree
festooned with peacepipes—

though stolen from deadred palms—

slowly clunking in a twilight
bereft of hours wind a kind of silence?

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