Pale Rider

the lamp flint
sparking colours
of methane plumes
and stars
exploding tiny trinkets
down from the breathless
vacuum above
falling, cascading
sheets of golden
layer on the hardened
scabs of cupboards
and the clap-laden
covered wagon hovel

the wooden wheels
and rick-rack
bump and creak
to the rhythm
of shod shoes
as the driver screams
a mind beyond words
singing madness
to the storm rushing
on thistle winds
as his tawny hands
clasp at that
earthen jug
he curses

damned am I, aimless
damn what luck or lady
had left me
had I never
laid eyes in wanting
against that red velvet
hotel parlour
as my head
had swung with verses
as something foreign
from the piano man
brought the devil
into my accent

in my wildest dreams
I’d never
thought to capture
how she bled me
sweet and softly
as a songbird
while my coins
raked through her fingers

even as I bent her
in my hands
she squealed to please me over
though her mind was set
to that bed of snares
her perfumed skin

all in all,
as in age reminder
looking now on
from the whip driven
mules of mine
to the sunrise at my back
riven in blue gold
and weary sky

strength in earnest
memories of virtue
chasing her up stairwells
adventurer, I was
in woven fingers
may she bind these
bones of pain

I loved her deeply
to hell I chased her
when at first my anger
tossed the room
my song had turned
spiked with cruelty
to stab her heart
for my broken gain

packed and armed,
marched to exile
I tried my damnedest
to replace
those nightmare rooms
that kept her hungry smile
wet against
a stone embrace

in cheaper company I found
a sour satisfaction
that never fully met
or matched
that poison of her skin
lost, I was
had never been
a better man
now curse that witch
by vengeance I will
break that easy smirk
she wears to
open up my burdens
that she lay in me a thirst

sick as a storm
on a dark horizon
flashing retribution
with white teeth
at evil words

I turned my thought
to have her
first in startled
jump to see me
loud and painted kisses
on her smile
by those eyes
she wears to twist me in
to the broken
part she feeds

my aim was set
and I was there determined
to tell her
how she moved me
how I had grown
to a taller man
of distinguished means to give

little in the way of fortune
flakes in a copper pan
there at that I wore a smile
and a dandy pate
as I collected myself
from the long road
torn of pockets

there was a glow
that hung in there
under the lanterns
like a pungent sweat
that beads on liquored lips
all sung on sinking tongues
a murky vapour
as it fell and clung
to sticky skin
haloed, warmed by the brush
and heave of
tops of breasts
quickened at the fantasies
of hard ribbed men
gallantly lying about
their misadventures
as though their gold
were slower spent

I; a standing anachronism
in a hungry room
and a bright white rectangle
of day shining open
at my back
squinting into the drek
and back at me
come now, close the door
they hissed
den of vipers

she sees me then
staring wide and
calculating problem
hushing whispers
to the coin groom
in her claws
then she led me
by the hand, up
the perfumed stair, up
to her room
of pain and memory
I weakly let her though I
follow knowing
the flowery lies
she will plant to
send me off with

not this time, no,
I will be heard, I will
insist that she
be made to know
I could have her scream
my name, have her
bleed and break
tears and all
I can’t protect her
my angry pride
is too much for us both
as I wrapped my
calloused hands around
her neck
buttons fell to the floor
with the tearing sound
of dress
and choking cries

purple with bruises, fighting
to scratch me, set her free
I enjoy her ripping
at my skin, relish
in the fear
and begging
of her eyes
she belongs to me
as her body slumps
the excreta pools
I kiss her death
and hold her skin
to mine

pale and clammy
on the old oak timber
her expressionless dead gaze
with that familiar curl
and wry light

she will not best
a fool as I
to allow this discovery
to ruin my right to chase
the open sky

her body
heft over shoulder
and thieving flight
out second story window
with a pulse thick in my neck
in seconds
I’ve laid her under blankets
in our homely wagon

hands dusted
and fit to erase suspicion
stepping back through
the hotel doors
for the bar
and a pint of absolution
for the victorious
I lift my glass
with glee

raise your whiskey roots
and drenched beards
in the pallid halls
of young kings
roust we holler
at the daughters
of easily kept women
save us; may you warm
our cold coal hearts
from the dampened black
of winter
in a long and distant stare
as an old man fitted neatly
to a driftwood box

with smokey mind
and the trail ahead
into the pall and drear
and princess passenger

whip the yawning mules
to drive us
out to the length of dismal weal
and damnation’s complicated
married to her cursed stench
and she, to mine

we never sleep a night
alone again
and by day we sing
the bump and scratch
of wagon track, and

© Emerys Watchel 2015, 2017 All rights reserved.


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