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(18 November 1939 / Ottawa, Ontario)

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Backdropp Addresses Cowboy

Starspangled cowboy
sauntering out of the almost-
silly West, on your face
a porcelain grin,
tugging a papier-mache cactus
on wheels behind you with a string,


you are innocent as a bathtub
full of bullets.


Your righteous eyes, your laconic
trigger-fingers
people the streets with villains:
as you move, the air in front of you
blossoms with targets


and you leave behind you a heroic
trail of desolation:
beer bottles
slaughtered by the side
of the road, bird-
skulls bleaching in the sunset.


I ought to be watching
from behind a cliff or a cardboard storefront
when the shooting starts, hands clasped
in admiration,


but I am elsewhere.
Then what about me


what about the I
confronting you on that border
you are always trying to cross?


I am the horizon
you ride towards, the thing you can never lasso


I am also what surrounds you:
my brain
scattered with your
tincans, bones, empty shells,
the litter of your invasions.


I am the space you desecrate
as you pass through.

Submitted: Friday, January 02, 2004


Read poems about / on: sunset, people

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Comments about this poem (Provisions by Margaret Atwood )

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  • Ambu R Nair (10/8/2007 7:05:00 AM)

    very good and excellent

    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
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