Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Gunslinger

The outer voice is easy to squelch.
Just shutter the mouth,
tie up the tongue,
lock the jaw so nothing can escape
except for the humming
of Red River Valley or Home on the Range.
Feed him a meal twice a day,
cups of black coffee,
a cigar every now and then,
he’ll be happy to stay put,
safe in his cage,
a menace to no one.
The inner voice, on the other hand,
is a hired gunslinger who refuses to go quietly.
He sits at the bar drinking warm whiskey,
keeping his covered eyes peeled
for just the sight of you.
He lifts his face as you walk through the batwing doors,
belly up to the bar,
order a beer.
He sneers,
insults your look, your talk, your walk,
the horse you rode in on
just to see how you’ll react.
Most days you believe him,
agree with him,
walk out in shame,
the townspeople watchful and disappointed.
But some days you call him out,
stand in the dust,
pull leather,
watch him fall.
Tomorrow is a new day,
a new chance to confront the gunslinger,
and you'll battle on,
knowing full well when this fight will truly end --
when the undertaker says so.

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