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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Backdropp Addresses Cowboy by Margaret Atwood

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 
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.

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