Peter Chapman Poetry


they rode through the west,
tired men who smelled bad

fixing fences, chasing cows,
drinking coarse whiskey, playing
cards & singing the occasional
sad song, high

plains drifters who knew
there was legend in the way
they squinted & spat
into the setting sun

if they misbehaved and took
the times straight on like the hard-born
well, there were just so many sunsets,
just so many saloons & whores & hitching
posts a man could tie to, and don't
you doubt it for a minute, these men
knew who they were, and how long
they had, and when it was time to go,
they left

all except for Butch & Sundance, still
down there in Argentina, shooting up
trains, bending the corners of their cards,
practicing for the day they'd come
to your town, with Buffalo Bill & Houdini,
ready to get reconciled
for all them things they done