Friday, July 13, 2012

Doc Holliday, Sauced

The clink of dishes being put away, coffee grinding, the scuffle of hooves, some stringy piss-yellow tattered clouds. 
          On the bookshelf: old wanted posters, a cravat bandage dangling brass safety pins, a few pieces of silver, three cigarettes, and a bullet-spent Colt Peace Maker.  
I am lifting
      certain habits from legendary drunks,
          gilded scraps of bouts I’m too scared to fight
with or against;
                               hove like this tackling coffee grounds into the straw; 
            spurred to dull; lazy under the wandering drone of flies.
My ceiling is a whore’s floor.
    Shit stews in all the crocks while I’m lassoed along by branded moods,
                 flunked into this,
     coughing up raspy laughs that never quite get rolling.
       Fuzz-dust clings to a woebegone Stetson,
a shine-less tin star in the sapphire light,
a train ticket back to Valdosta
                                                      just out of reach.   
    Joy exits out the front door’s mail slot.
                  My fleeing’s all done--
                      tails never to be tucked again,
                                                 guns all smoked out,
paint-smeared mirrors, and dirty socks bundled in a corner.
               Bash in my mush-mulled head to the squealing of horses,
and the heaving thrash of disorderly wagons, 
         and the crammed thudding of a thousand passenger pigeons flapping by,
shit-soaking the land and blacking out the sky.  
   It takes a lot to keep taking a look back:
Big Nose Kate and a dentist’s drill,
Johnny Ringo, Leadville and a drop of laudanum,
The Bella Union, Dodge City, Tombstone and the Earps.
It’s all a sham in the gone-by wind.
           Bravery’s lost its charm,
      and my draw’s gotten slower than waiting for water to boil.
  Chipped and marred, my best days
married to a bottle and a holstered dream.
                  Chumps like me tackle their own shadow in broad daylight
     sappy enough still
to still think they’ve got a few bullets left
   in the rusted-shut chamber of their waning days;
      pining for that warm, tufted, bristling smack of home;
        lying in bed barefoot,            
              dying for their boots back,
 just like me
             saying, “damn, this is funny,” to nobody but the cold, cold wind.