New to Town

She was new to town and easy to spot. Her hair was done-up, in a style of her own twist and originality. Her secret was the upkeep. Two hundred and twenty-five strokes. She counted this number first brushing front to back, then her left and last the right, every morning when she awoke, and every night before bed.

Her aroma was one to remember, registered into the olfactory, immediately distinguishable, so out of place, an aura, announcing her entrance. It’s hard to smell anything in a sweaty, smoke filled, dirty saloon, but each time she arrived, her aroma preceded her appearance; pushing aside the more vagrant, pungent smells of  vomit and musk. She parted the waves of fragrance like a spear head; she smelled like freshwater and it was to die for.

After she departed the first evening, folks asked around. Most don’t happen West without work; most women, don’t happen West without marriage or familial ties. Hitchcock, the barkeep, said he heard she had come west on a vendetta to find someone, some said they heard, what seemed, tall tales of her adventures, feats men were known to back out of. Some supposed she lost a mighty  bit of money to a mystery fellow and so to get herself West, she aligned with a few cattle runs earning her take and keep. This took her across the Midwest and into the big sky state. If the tales were true, then she had seen her fair share of action, was no stranger to, or hesitant around: gun, Indian, or man.

Tonight marked the ninth return since the first. She walked in and received a rye whiskey on the rocks, from the bottle under the counter, before she ordered it. It was her one and only.

She seemed collected and steady, but a keen eye could see her body language told a soft, mildly different story. Most new people, tend to get acquainted with the company they preside, but she stood astray in the same spot, eyes scanning; full-coverage of the saloon. She spoke a little, subtly nibbling the skin just inside of her lip between sips. Then, long after her ice had melted at the bottom of her glass,  she looked disheveled, disheartened as her face fell the smallest perceivable bit.

She squared up with Hitchcock and was turning to leave when her body went stiff, and instead signaled Hitchcock for her first, second round. Hitchcock tripped over his confusion in her actions. He fumbled towards her and slid the bottle her way. Her hand on the bar opened to catch it, but her eyes never left Seven-Finger Steve after he entered and after  he took a spot at the poker table. She finished filling her glass and set the bottle back down. Hitchcock walked over and stowed it back beneath the bar. He stood there a moment, behind her, drying off a glass with his towel, his eyes tracing her projected glance.

Aside from Seven-Finger Steve’s lack of fingers, he was an average, normal, plain looking man; one had to speak to him to understand his wit and candor. He had arrived with the railroad and had stayed behind after the work. His character wasn’t detestable, a few folks liked him pretty well; yet here she was, eyeing him from across the room.

She watched him play a few hands losing a few small ones before landing  big, giving him a definitive lead over the rest. She was no longer staring right at him, instead she switched between glancing over her shoulder casually to observe the room and checking the reflection in the tiny strip of polished metal of the shelf behind the bar. She sat shaking with light tremors sipping her drink, she plotted her next move.

The next time she heard the deck shuffle she stood quickly and moved across the saloon towards the table; subtle as a spider traversing its web. Her plan was woven, she sat directly to Seven-Finger’s right, he smiled plainly, welcoming his newcomer. A cigar hung her way, he generously tapped out the ash and relocated it to the left of his mouth. He smirked; swooning with self-gratification over his gesture, she said nothing. She thrust her hands into her coat pocket and for a moment all eyes at the table lay heavily on her, never too sure, ready to anticipate anything. She tossed her money onto the table and everyone exhaled as Seven-Finger Steve dealt her in.

They played away the hours, during which she managed to take out one of the other players with pocket aces early, and between herself and Seven, they dwindled away all of the chips the fourth player had.

At last, the game held the two.  The crowd itself had thinned as the night lurched towards dawn. They were evenly matched, winning and losing hands of various values but always balanced. He was smiling, figuring out a way to win given the stalemate. She held her cards confidently; the inside of her lips bled.

He placed his cards face down, then clutched his hands together exposing his seven fingers. “Care to know how I lost my three fingers?” he asked.

Eyes on her cards, she pushed her chips into the center.

Without picking his card back up, he grinned and sighing with a slight shake in his head, pushed his chips into the middle.

She stood up, his eyes followed and she threw her cards down towards the table and shot him while he watched them fall.

She left him dying with his cards still face down and the chips on the table; she already knew.

 

 

 

 

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Time Ticks like a Bomb

Time creates and destroys,a ticking time bomb holding

off, waiting from the moment

the soul blossoms sweet 

innocent flowers to rot

wear and tear away,

where the self and body

coalesce, where conscious

fishes coyly, curious more 

than anything. 

Time flies without wings,

sings without a chord

and chimes ten times 

on the dime, it withers

vitality and dissolves 

resolve of the toughest 

rocks, time is the grim

reaper’s grin, the pocket

pet lulling away

the moments till death. 

Turn my Heart Like a Page

She is literature; a composition of tight yet tumultuous fluid lines, a long detaining curvy detail.            She is an avid reader;                 diving into the dark deep.           abyss of my soul, passing.                the sparkle and basking.                with my demons.                          toying and teasing.                            the vices.                                              She is the modest book,                     the one reiterating manners,

the one that disciplines

with a tender hand,

but a finer touch;

shake me from my scent,

turn me away from familiar,

take me carefully onto fate

and turn me like a page.

— P_body

Love Me like a Cliche

Love me like a sunset,

awestruck by my gold hue,
drowning in saturation,

dripping exuberantly

on your feet.  
Blonde blinding bails

of hair swing carelessly,

down wind caressing,

like undressing slow

dancing skin against mine. 
Seize me like today,

captivate and capitalize 

on this heart before 

this reality drinks me

dry.
Wake with me and the sun, 

abandon yesterday with

the night, and tomorrow

we bask here looking 

in hindsight and 2020. 

Be Here Now

Evergreen emerald floraglitters in isolation, a

consolation to the silence

consolidating man,

development from 

the core out.  
Animals wrestle and stir

cracking sticks, spraying leaves

and debris; a turtle hobbles 

stream bound where the water hums, 

tossing its currents, churning silent 

servant to the fauna and Mother. 
Casual winds tease the wood

section, rustling tinier branches 

briskly sweeping and symphonic,

shaking their bases which sway slow, 

nodding passive like a multi-ring

veteran champion, their bark

is loud and robust

expanding and wrapping 

like layers of time. 
The stream pumps like a vein

breathing life into the daylight 

of Washington State, the mountains

sigh like stalemates drinking 

to their rises and falls, to 

new leaps and senior slumps,

to the pups, calfs, and animals

on different humps a jump apart,

yet worlds away. 
They exist against and within

like ourselves, prancing in ignorance 

frolicking in self-absorption,

lost in the translation of life 

and survival, missing

the connections that 

make one alive. 

Repress Me Like a Memory 

I am damp and downtroddendripping and drowsy,

I am slipping on cordless

ties, webs woven by the liars,

the weavers of lore and lives. 
I am a skipped beat, 

hardly,

for effect, a butterfly’s 

mid-morning stretch

like the summer’s heat.
Leave me, 

peers, parents be 

discrete, meet me in 

the courtyard of dreams,

meet me near our lily 

patch, passed the white 

then red roses, 

pansies and dandelions. 
In our garden I’ll wait, melting

in anticipation, shivering 

in a shower of nerves, 

clenching it’s jaws down

enveloping me, casting me

into darkness. 
My world will consume 

me, loosely knit like a beginners 

first fleece, like a beginning 

understanding of reality,

an infants first winter 

an instant memory, 

a fleeting second,

a swift exhale. 

Create or Critique, Construct or Defeat

Stranded in the eternal distance, in

the cliche, dreary, windowless hallway,

I sat;

Cuffed hands over ears

muffling bleak,

black silence.

A drowning silence, a vacuum

noiseless and stationary,

paralyzing darkness,

a stifling enigmatic wall,

like the future,

transparent and opaque,

soulless as it is consuming,

time is lost to it, yet

it is breaking off, breathing life

into it with every tick.

The talk is overrated and foreseen,

the action is honorable, open

to the critics and their words;

some stiffs surfing subjects shifting

in their

squeaking screeching seats,

shuffling sheets of

stimulating slanderous statements,

suffocating students of script and school

stipulating instead of staying true,

simulating instead of living;

Deconstructive and destructive,

antiquated methods of men madder

than their contemporaries, envious

of youth, taken

like Holden into sands,

golden like pony back ridden sunsets,

sands falling delicately, sliding

slow, seconds to thirds and fourths

then onto sets until the day-glass

is flipped,

opening the curtains on life

like sun kissed closed eyelids,

like unauthorized autopilot

flights, foreign choices and

a voice unknown to the self,

a mirror of contradictions

contracting fear, magnetizing

a myriad of mistakes, moving

men away from dreams

and into monotony.

Where is the critique without the art;

Art onto and into itself, unfurling and

enveloping, developing and evolving,

just a few negatives rolling through

films and footage, crashing into realization;

life has come and gone but tomorrow

it will come again.

Coffee Shop Backpack

Black and brown like tan leather boots laced delicately for departure; tied by trembling fingers cursed with tiny shakes, a lack of confidence behind the brawny, well-trained exterior, an interior that screams in fear, spasms from the epicenter reverberating off rib cages and the spine. These pint sized tremors on the inside jitter my soul then pushes the body.

On the back, strapped like a glove fit for trade, like a comforting familiar hand, my backpack sits effortlessly, holding packs of pencils, notebooks with composition, exposition and poetics, philosophical takes on world perspectives, a thousand dreams never spoken from behind lips never open, ideas forever concealed by the spiral, forever enclosed by the zipper. Locked up like a keepsake, kept on the back, close to the heart

I am a  fleeting moment; discretely retreating from the normal riggamoral. I’m evanescent; attainable, but unseen, solitary but serene, a safe haven like home; call me heaven. I’m knocking on doors harder than ever, ringing bells multiple times until I save myself from more embarrassment, A drawing withdrawn introvert, quiet as if the mind was vast and vacant. I’m purposely waiting, vagrant on occasion but more direct than ever, clarity like water in the glass, life classes taught by Bruce Lee, 

be formidably formless, be your greatest adversary and trusted ally, always be yourself but more importantly be the self that you need to get through today, be original and forever becoming, be bold

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