But in appearance Calamity had faded, and faded terribly.
Livingston (Montana) Enterprise, July 13, 1901
A lot of you Wild West codgers lived far too long – skulking
through alleys, unstoppered bottles unholstered
in Colorado suburbs, cadging dimes, dodging Ford runabouts
and flinching at the buzz of the first airplanes
wobbling overhead. Yep, America’d changed for good, but
a lot of you got bushwhacked at sunrise
still staggering through it: sidewalks and cops, some idiot
squelching around in green rubber boots
to water his flowers – there’s no place for you in a world
so dazzlingly trivial. But Jane, you cashed out just in time
without some final juddery excuse. I see you on your last
day spent nowhere, polka-dotted
by the spangles of dime-size sunlight leaking
through a saloon’s busted shutter, hunkered on your stool
in reasonable comfort, tucked into what’s left of a tattered
pink quilt. To giddyup the drowsy barkeep
you bang your last half dollar against the glass. Reduced
to nothing, you’d still insist on what’s
every American’s due. A five-cent cigar. A shot of rye.
And somebody, I hope, to listen to your old story of a lost
love and that old Mexican spur rowel,
the one hanging by a thread around your achy, grubby neck.