I can’t keep a dollar
in my pocket
or a girlfriend happy
for a day and a half

and she was a keeper too
oh well, boo hoo

sign says keep out
and I go right in

sign says keep left
but it didn’t say when

warned to ‘keep it up’
I comply with a grin

that keepsake of yours
I have tossed in the bin

guns and fences under the sky

my campfire can be seen for miles
signal to prey and predator alike
and in the old days some Apaches would
come and take me if not the Comanche

what spoils of that raid
I have nothing but loose talk and
indelicate gossip from the fort
where I am no longer welcome

laconic sons of bitches don’t truck
with no chatterbox shirttail leaving
word-litter drifted on a fence and
out here, let me tell you, the sound carries

my indiscretions have become self-aware
wild things galloping away, like mustangs
and I think at last to be rid
of them, but no no no

further West, the canyon walls
will ape whatever you shout
and as they say when the pistols are drawn
choose your words carefully friend

the prairie’s not owned by a boot print
but there are guns and fences under the sky
where the Karankawa once speared turtle and fish
and I press pause at the eventide’s first cricket

in the morning I am up with the gallows maker
hammering a sun to the lip of dawn’s bowl
and the Rio Grande is but a trickle at Big Bend
still a good spot for lookie-loos and selfies


among the driftwood, bits of plastic
a length of rope, a desiccated flip-flop
a tiny plastic shovel, a bottle cap
an age of unbridled thing-mongering
leaves a death bed confession on
a beach strewn with the corpses of
the defectors who threatened to talk


a tiny bronze flea
is set to leap on
a peeing bronze dog
as protest vs counter-protest
devolves into a
microscopic absurdity
about the love and
resentment we all feel
about money

Key Light

you couldn’t adjust the
angle of the light
any better than just waiting
for the planet to rotate

you can shout at the kids
and tell them to sit still
but you know that nothing does
and they know it too