Friday, February 18, 2011

Dog Heart Mostly Sleeps in the Pickup

Rockabilly, a Ciara Shuttleworth sketch.



Dog Heart Mostly Sleeps in the Pickup

Battered, sweat-greasy 5-X Stetson,
too early for cold beer,
you're working
someone else's cattle
as if on a slot machine binge.
So what if Elvis left the building.

     * * *

A smart Ely girl offers up
more than a theory on global warming
or one on Sonny Liston's murder.
The scent of her perfume
is like vanilla car freshner:
she demon-smiles
the way you like it,
If it was my period, honey,
we could blood-stain
these motel sheets.

     * * *

In Tonopah, Wyatt Earp's toothbrush,
chipped blue wood, worn down bristles,
withers in a dusty glass case.
Imagine what a lock
of Earp's hair might be worth.
Or one of Waylon's coke-rotted teeth.
For $27.95, including tax,
you rent Wyatt and Sadie Earp's
Mizpah Hotel brass bed room,
pay an extra $45
for the dusty parlor.

     * * *

Over corn flakes
at that Fallon motel
next to the steak house,
the blonde grips your hand,
swears she'd be a winterkill
stallion... just for you.
You don't like her 
gender confusion on horses.
Later, the motel check-out clerk
believes, We're runnin' out of rabbits
to shoot.  Guess it's down to derelicts.

     * * *

You buy cherry donuts.
She's asleep,
her rhinestone spangled,
gravy-stained tube dress
on the warped floor.
Her first husband shot her daddy's
rottweiler, hauled her
to a single-wide near Elko...
wind-sprung roof,
queen-size waterbed,
scratchy army surplus blankets.
Last night she said you're lightning
striking her soul's pipe corral.

     * * *

Hey, buckaroo,
you're a wolf hide blanket,
a slice of last night's pecan pie
on a cigarette-burned motel nightstand.
You're a JFK lucky half dollar
in a Copenhagen snuff can.
The consequences are around the bend.
Driving sunlight near Austin,
you hit a coyote
and it flies over the cab of the pickup,
lands square in the truck bed.

     * * *

She's a Cheyenne, Wyoming, show:
vanilla-cream tight Wranglers,
cherry high heels,
and a mostly unsnapped
red-yoked satin
rodeo queen black shirt.
And you've got a broke molar
from a T-bone on your mind.
Outside the saloon, it's hailing.
Your heart's running
like one of Geronimo's horses.

     * * *

Somewhere east of Scottsbluff,
leaking oil on two-lane blacktop,
you reckon life's about spicing up pain.
Over a century's gone
and Stephen Crane's ghost
still explores what's beneath
abandoned High Plains homes:
old lace, eagle feathers, coup sticks.

     * * *

A stuffed lynx grimaces
in a dark Leadville saloon.
A local minister nurses a beer,
polishes a brass crown of thorns
for a pageant.  Oh, how terrifying
the days ahead will be.
Let's circle-up stones,
light the supper fire.

     * * *

Pass the Wild Turkey.
Everyone's got unspent excuses.
Now it's Wagontire, Oregon,
population seven.,
bitter stock tank water
for a bath out back
of the ramshackle,
roof shingles to the wind motel.
In the distance:
sun-parched ranch family graves.
These are the good times...
when you don't have
enough rope to hang yourself.


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