Gone West

      We are not strangers to
the double.The chair
is not a chair;its saint
is not a saint.The decoy
in the stagecoachdistracts
the gangfrom
their leader’slong march to the
gallows.What a cowboy
 won’t want to
know:the villain
is a decoy,the gallows
a decoy,the handsome
      ten-gallon hat of the sheriff—
decoy.As close to
what we wantas possible.  Close to
what we think we
worshipwhen we worship.
The location almost fixed.


The showgirl lifts her skirts.  In her
black satin garter: a knife.  Her aim,

spectacular.  The rope, sliced
through.  The location, almost

fixed.  The villain, almost
saved.  A trusty horse loping

aimlessly in the wings.  Goddamn
the fatal delay.  Everyone is thirsty. 

The sun searches for a crucible. 
The crowd won’t leave the square. 

Only when they collapse into them-
selves can we begin again, correctly.


Meanwhile, the gang is unaware of new beginnings. 

Meanwhile, the stagecoach shimmers
in the distance. Heat has its way

with light. Everyone waits
in the cliffs above the canyon. Everyone
wishes for water. Horses are spooked

but stupid. A driver is wary but then
dead. No one can trust his

eyes. To go thirsty for a double. 
A stagecoach is not

a crucible. It burns as quickly as the man inside.


The preacher steps forth.

      Therefore speak I to them
      in parables: because they seeing
      see not; and hearing they hear
      not, neither do they understand.

The crowd rises from the dust.

The villain continues to resemble.

The showgirl could die
of shame. How is it, after all
these takes, that she is the one
cursed to fail? The sun scorches
her skin, dressed as she is
to excite.


             The villian       who is not
          a  villain was  captured (in the
       first place) because he remained in
      Bisbee when he could have fled. He
         remained in Bisbee to love or to
            sketch a woman not a decoy
               not a barmaid not a show
                  girl, not the double,
                        no. This one
                           here. No,


The villain is nota villain. 
The sheriffis not a saint.  The stagecoach is
nothing buta prison. 
The showgirl
isn’t right for the scene.The gang gives several
marketingexecutives profitable
ideas regardingbank credit
promotional campaigns.The gallows, the crowd, the preacher       
 don’t matter.  And still,
the showgirl stands beneath a high noon sun sharpening her knife.

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