image borrowed from bing
“If I’m going to kill you, you’ll be awake,
you’ll be facing me, & you’ll be armed.”
Reginald to his mother,
was a short drink of water;
it left him with a hair-trigger temper
& big knuckled hands that loved
to hover over the twin Colt Peacemakers
strapped down to each leg.
Like a lot of pistolero punks
scattered across the Southwest,
he was a handsome lad,
with long curly blond hair
& piercing green eyes;
at first fresh off the farm,
still having the faint odor of cow dung
on his expensive tooled leather boots,
& perhaps the odd hay blade tucked
up within his rolled pants cuffs;
but that gave way to dandy duds,
starched striped shirts, long gaudy
scarves cinched up with a gold skull,
black suit, with a tailed jacket, gray
silk vest, & silver cufflinks.
He began practicing with his father’s
Navy Colt when he was ten, spending
his allowance on ammunition,
firing thousands of rounds, forever
standing out in the barnyard blasting
at brown bottles, jars, & jugs--
assassinating them all.
He became a bona fide gunfighter
before he was 15, killed his first man
out in the street with the whole town watching;
he had a pine stick, they say, that he called
his death stick, and it had 30 notches carved
into it, with room for 30 more.
He did love the ladies,
& the whores all over town
loved him, loved his looks
& his fat wad of cash.
One night the year before
he shot a miner in the groin
for disrespecting Miss Annie,
one of his favorites.
He enjoyed gambling,
had a real passion for it;
poker was his game,
until the night it became
when Claude Haven sat himself down
at one of the beer-stained green felt
covered tables directly across
from the Kid, slapping a fat pile
of greenbacks alongside a tall stack
of twenty dollar gold pieces.
The Kid’s jade eyes lit up,
shining with mescal & arrogance.
He drew for an inside straight,
but the cards betrayed him.
He was all in, 500 bucks in the pot,
so he put on the glower & the bluff--
but old Claude had a full house,
aces over tens.
The Kid exploded, howling
like a wasp-stung bear,
as his big hands dove down
for the waiting Colts, dangling
from his waist like twin silver cocks;
it seems that Haven was prepared,
he had one of those terrible tiny
one-shot derringers, spring-loaded
under his coat sleeve, just above his right wrist.
The French pop gun made its small noise,
and the hot slug parted
the Kid’s eyebrows, burrowing
like a tick of lightning knuckle-deep
into his brain, so
before the Colt twins could bark death,
death itself leaped ravenously upon him,
taking his youth, devouring the light.
Claude Haven played the Big Man
for about a month until two half-breeds
backshot him in alley in Tombstone.
I wonder what he said to the Kid
when they met up in the town
Posted over on dVerse Poets MTB
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