Monday, October 17, 2011

Insomnia-Sparks (Pilgrimage for Little Britches)

Jennie "Little Britches" Metcalf


Insomnia-Sparks  (Pilgrimage for Little Britches)

There are fewer and shallower next times.
Maybe sleep is for pius coin-grubbers.
You load the erratic-alignment green pick-up.

Darlin' offers a bacon & cheddar
biscuit sandwich for the road,
I forgive you... an on-the-surface forgiveness.

It is the sugar of driving near-eighty...
counting telephone poles past midnight...
dark two-lanes south to Pawnee.

Lonesome money in the wallet.
Lightning-crazed bison in the arteries.

Kansas-Oklahoma border roadhouse
at sweep-out time, no breakfast served:
Little Britches has been gone
over a hundred years.
Substitute?  No...
we ain't got a substitute available.

Down-road, no sign of the Doolins or Daltons.
Broke-nosed bartender,
dressed like a woman-hipped
Kansas City shrink at a country club,
This is a place for nice folks to get drunk,
so it pays for me to say out of fireworks.

You nearly run over a billy goat
with an electric no-bark collar.
You deal it a kick in the ass,
consider duct taping it to a fence post.

Women in tight, ironed Wranglers,
silver belt buckles, order rum
in a Tulsa brass 'n' ferns hotel bar.

Eroded red hills toward Arkansas:
a blind woman sits marble-still
on a creaky front porch,
listens to her Bible on cassette tape,
Sinners are frothing in hell.

Back to Pawnee where they caught
Little Britches and Cattle Annie:
quiet streets and morning shadows.
An old man walks past a cafe,
swings a thin chain without a watch.
A security guard, no gun,
comes out of a grocery store
with a bottle of Mountain Dew.

There are too many,
way too damned many street lights
to shoot out in one lifetime.

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