Sunday, July 18, 2010

Like a Silver-Plated Pistol

As a consequence of
A troublesome bout of
Lower back pain—
Yet another intimation of mortality—
I’ve recently begun imagining myself,
And it’s gotten so it’s hardly a stretch,
Retired, you know.

Knees creaking up some cobblestoned street,
In a small
—For some reason—
Mexican city.
Relying on a
Pimped-out ebony cane
To navigate stylishly,
Though carefully,
Into the late gentle night—

[Hand clap]
The revery is broken--
A bottle breaks--
Angry shouts—
Clichés? Yes—but still I stop,
My native curiosity
Replaced by caution,
You might even call it fear…

Now I have always,
Although very occasionally,
Thought of my dying
As the result of some
Terminal--obviously--
Albeit short-lived
Bodily malfunction.
An accident? Act of God? Nah, hunh-unh--
Never seriously considered...
New thought, though:

What if,
In the lacuna between
Spanish streetlights,
Two local toughs suddenly
Stand at my shoulder
Full of evil intent?
And what if—
All meaningful goodbyes, dear God,
Dispensed with—
My life ends here?

It’s a thought.

Scuffle,
Slip on a stone,
One grabs my cane,
The other tears at my wallet,
And I look up into the muzzle
Of a silver-plated gun--

What happens next,
We’re not meant to imagine.
[Fingersnap] Bang.
Just like that—
[Fingersnap] Bang.
It’s all over...

But just as this senseless action is joined
Between trigger and bullet,
What if this malo hombre
Looks down into these eyes
That are staring at Death,
And sees there--instead of fear--
He sees humor--

Well, that almost
Goes without saying,
In this post-whatever world, but--
Maybe even warmth?
Or understanding?
If that's possible.

Forgiveness, of course,
Is not ours to give, and
I can't really know
Or even predict
My response.

So instead of being cute,
Tempting fate, or the devil,
I'll just hope
That if it comes to that,
It will all be over quickly,
And I won't have begged,
Or shat in my pants.


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