There are no more cowboys in America.
No, that’s not quite right.
There are cowboys in America, sure as anything,
but their horses have gone to pasture
and their badges have shifted from six shooter stars
to a shield with PD on the end
and the spurs of their boots crackle against pavement
but they still wanna nab that varmint
one way or another.
Howdy there, folks, we’re glad to meet you in
Officer please, I just want to find my friends
There’s a bunch of folks who’d like to greet you in
Smoke plumes over a skyline for the second time in my life
and my eyes water though I am too far
to feel the flames. I’m standing in a cafe.
Someone nearby makes a comment about Dante’s hell
and I think to myself no, shut the fuck up
Dante went into hell to claim a woman
and I’d rather be chewed in Satan’s icy maw
than listen to you wax poetic on “This must be what hell is
this is hell, this is hell hell hell” when children can’t find
and may no longer need them.
You can bet we’ll have lots of Western fun
And excitement for you
We’ll ride and rope, do a square dance and shoot a gun
And we’ll sing a song or two
Let’s sound the alarm, that’s what we do here, yes?
One if by land, two if by sea.
This is a town built on the broken backs of dock workers.
At 3pm I wait for the 71 bus, cursing myself for bringing a coat
it’s beautiful out, early spring, and I could have gotten away
with just a hoodie.
By midnight there’s blood on Mt Auburn St
and I am by my window 4.7 miles away
watching the searchlights shift
wondering if the rambling noises in the distance
are cars, or trucks, or tanks, or mecha.
Come along, folks, now we’re gonna start the fun in
I walk through a city that is an urn
grey with asphalt and flakes of fingernail
I am running, running, running away
running rivers running currents running my mouth
a city grieving locked in their homes
drowning out their sorrows with Neil Diamond lyrics
while people tens of thousands of miles away say
“Hey, we get shit blown up all the time, calm down.”
You can’t tell me what to do, you’re not my real mom.
Children are dead, okay? I get it. While greying men shriek
derailment! don’t take our guns! don’t take our guns!
and a boy whose hair I want to brush from his face
lays bleeding in a boat dock, under a tarp like a pile of AK-47s,
embroiled in things I cannot possibly fathom.
Won’t somebody think of the goddamn children? Won’t somebody
I learned more about how to make a bomb
from the leaflet put out by the Department of Homeland Security
than I ever did from googling
“how to make a bomb out of shit in my garage.”
And yet we wonder to ourselves, wonder to our friends
my god Kathy, my god, how could this happen?
Time passes and we pause to remember things
we haven’t stopped thinking about
for days and days and days.
I sigh, not out of desperation but resignation
that I shouldn’t go on the T right now
shouldn’t return to normalcy quite yet
there’s a media circus downtown, you see and
I just wanted to return my book
to the library.
Get your pal and promenade down to
Boom- Boom- Boomtown!