The gunfighters raised their own pantheon
Of martyrs and saints up to the heavens,
It was the grave alone that could place them
Firmly beyond the reach of challengers
And all their blood-thirsty aspirations.
Their tortured headstones riddled with vein
Pot-marks of bitter grapes from later comers.
Living practitioners were but touchstones,
Their cold professional blood a prized ink
For others to scribe their eager names in.
Those heady days, buried with Marshal Erp;
No more would big hats and righteous anger
Excuse the exchange of lead in the street.
People seem to find it less cute these days,
Now only the cops get away with it.
There are tom many cases of deaths by gun fire today. You seem at the end of your poem to be refering to that case where the cops shot that Hispanic male who served our country. That was a sad thing. There were alot of metaphors that could allow a person to gather what they will about your poem. This was intense and powerfully written. I could not find any faults with this. Great job.
I don't quite know how you get such a creative edge, or how you come up with a completely amazing piece, but you've done it again. This makes even the meek want to run out and protest right along side of you! I love how you put at the end that only cops are allowed to get away with it now (and even then it seems it's not warranted lately, they overabuse thier badges)
Earp would be proud Jason. You have such a way of expressing your anger and emotions in subjects such as these. All too impressive to me really. I think that's why I read them all!
The comments thus far seem to be focusing on the third stanza and it's almost nostalgic look back. However, I got a different perspective altogether from the first two stanzas.
In the first two stanzas, old-west murder seemed to be a game almost - a bloody, painful gang fight.
As such, I personally read into the last stanza not nostalgia for the old days, but hypocritic reverence for modern murder.
The public in the poem seems to be condemning the old vigilante and gang violence of a century+ ago, while tolerating its contemporary approximation. (I think a couple posts touched on this point though)
Ya know, I grew up in Wyoming, and this piece had me spitting out tumbleweeds!! LOL
In all seriousness, I really liked this. It has a rustic feel to it.
The 'old glory days' have sure become the old days. No more gunfights. You know, when the town was warned to get out of the streets because two people were going to face each other and only one was going to come back to have another drink with ya!
And the twist at the end was priceless. Because now we get to experience people being beat with asps, shot with rubber bullets, , high speed chases through school zones, cops chasing criminals through occupied children's wading pools, stun guns, shock grenades, and hostage situations. All on the six o'clock news so the whole family can enjoy it with a side of Kentucky Fu.cken Chicken.
Yeah, Earp would have agreed with you on this. Iron men of the long past western frontier days are but a monument to the code of honor that only death by a bullet could imortalize. Here we are today and the only gunfighter we can find now has a numbered badge and a permit to kill in the name of a corrupted law. I think the trail that was blazed so long ago was blazed for the wrong reasons. Man in his own wisdom created the very corruption that has for so long misguided society.
Nice write and I am glad you stuck around or should I say stood tall in te saddle.
Ah death, where is thy bling? Hey JB, nice to encounter you again. This is not much as poetry, but it's good writing...more like prose. The glory of the Old West is like the "Rugged Individualist": Mostly myth. Old Earp actually preferred a shotgun. He was a very pragmatic man, not given to heroic shootouts. That's why he lived to a ripe old age. Still, your sentiments are correct. Our idea of glory is moving to a higher rung on the corporate ladder, or buying that Beemer. Rather sad... I like your imagery and terse language. It begs for attention, and evokes thought. Keep up the good work. Oh yes...I was going to comment on your "Highway and the Land", but I decided to read War and Peace. It was shorter. lol fred fred
Ah, the western mythos;a time honored tradition rooted deeply in the right of the common man to bear arms and determine who's quickest to gain the grave! As brutal as the black and white days you speak of may have been, they seem simpler than the endless gray shades of lawyers/law enforcement/plea bargains/corruption that are part of today's ambivalent landscape. It's easy to understand why so many pine for the days when white hats weren't camouflage. A sobering write. Take it easy, Jason. Bill.
you sound a wee angry there, amigo. i enjoy how you point out the way people define what is desirable and acceptable- which is mostly on the fact that someone else did it and it looked cool. i think they have a name for that... they call it the 'naivity of youth'. and yet the majority of grown people (around me, for sure) seem to find peace in embracing such unbelievably insane actions. as a whole humanity must believe that in order to find out who we are we must follow in the footsteps of people who were, even if those people were responsible for hindering our evolution as much as they have. we should be living on mars by now, you know? but we're still getting robbed for our [censored] shoes. enjoyed it. peace out.