Quickdraw Blues

I’m going on down to the river
where the bodies float downstream,
going cuz life’s an Indian giver—
gone in a flash; a gunsmoke dream.

Going to throw my Smith & Wessons
into the water, down deep;
I have learned all of my cowboy lessons
and I’m going for a long sleep.

You can get railroaded by your past;
can get lynched, tarred, and feathered,
hung up by a mob of memory amassed
by the wrongs done, and wrongs weathered.

The ghosts gather like an outlaw gang
and steal all what you hold dear—
you may have caught ‘em with a hair-trigger bang,
but they’re the horseflies, you’re the steer.

It’s a haunted life you gotta lead,
carrying all of ‘em dead
and rememberin’ every misdeed
like a crow cawing in your head.

Once upon a time I knew of love,
(a mirage in desert lands)
and she was gentle as the cooing dove,
gunned down by my own quickdraw hands.

Standing in the bedroom corner, shawled
by the morning light behind,
she looked like a wraith of wrath from Hell called,
or least so in my haunted mind.

Before I knew just what I had done
my pistol flashed from the hip
and her pale breast bloomed red, the guilty gun
breathing Death’s black smoke at the lip.

My whole goddamn life has been high noon
and the squint remains, blinding,
which is why I will be downriver soon,
down that deep river unwinding.

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