Tuesday, June 20, 2006

We Stood as Men

Way back in December, Latigo Flint presented the following magnificent poem (periodically interrupted). For some reason it didn't exactly become a literary sensation. Perhaps it needed a better title. "We Stood as Men" is a much better title.

From the archives - 12/13/05:

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We Stood as Men (formerly The Crumbling Cliff)
a magnificent poem by Latigo Flint
(periodically interrupted)


We stood as men, without fear,
seven abreast on a crumbling cliff.
We shared a smoke, but the wind took most,
and not one of us thought of home.

(We knew this to be true because we queried each other on that very topic.
"Hey Dan Tallows!" It was big Fackles Smith who broke the silence.
"Yeah Fackles?" Came Dan's reply.
"You ain't thinkin' 'bout home are you?"
"Heck no Fackles, I ain't thinkin' 'bout home."
"Good, good." Fackles grunted. "Neither am I." He looked around. "Is anyone thinkin' of home?"
Silence for a moment until Tipperson Gentry piped up.
"Hell Fackles, I don't even know what that word means anymore."
The rest of us mumbled our admiration and heartily clapped Tipperson's frail back.)

We checked our guns with steady hands
and sneered so the sky could see.
Then tugged our hats, shading dangerous eyes
and polished buckles resplendently.

(Cavanaugh Weathers blinked in astonishment and pointed at Chappy Swede’s belt.
"Good god gentlemen." Cavanaugh blurted. "I know we've got urgent, deadly business to attend to, but take a moment and see at how shiny Chappy Swede has managed to get his belt buckle!"
We crowded around Chappy Swede’s belt buckle and softly whistled when we saw how shiny it was.)

We mounted up, crossed ourselves
and aimed steeds at the setting sun.
Across the chaparral a coyote wailed
as if it knew war had begun.

(Blaine Norton grunted and jerked his chin out at the desert.
"That wolf's even lonelier than we is, huh Latigo?"
I frowned and tugged my horse to a halt.
"That weren't no wolf Blaine, that there was a coyote."
"Um, I don't think so Latigo, I'm pretty sure I know a wolf when I hear one."
The others noticed we had stopped and they doubled back to see what the trouble was.
"What's going on?!" Fackles Smith demanded. Blaine gestured to the desert.
"Did 'yall hear that wolf howl a moment ago?"
Fackles scratched his temple and looked at Tipperson. "I don't believe there's any wolves 'round these parts, is there?"
Tipperson Gentry shook his head. "Nope, don't think so." He pointed at Blaine. "I'll bet it was a coyote you heard."
I tried not to look too smug as we nudged our horses and rode on. Blaine scowled and spent the next hour grumbling to himself.)

We charged a storm of lead, limbs torn,
then sank trembling to the ground.
We bade farewell to sweethearts known,
and those as yet unfound.

(But each of us was careful not to let the other fellers know we were trembling as we died.
“Hey Chappy Swede!” Cavanaugh Weathers called out after some time had passed.
“What do you want Cavanaugh?” Came Chappy Swede’s low reply.
“You aren’t trembling are you?”
“No… I’m, uh… I’m laughin’ actually.”
“Right. So am I. Hey, we’re pretty tough, ain’t we Chappy Swede?”
But there was no reply--Chappy Swede had died. He was not the last.)

8 Comments:

At 4:02 AM, Blogger Rene said...

wow that is an amazing poem. do you wanna visit my blog? its www.renesblog-rene.com
comment on what you think.

 
At 1:22 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

You always had a flair for meter and rhyme, Latigo Flint.

I shall never read an equal.

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger Sharon said...

Bravo!

Excellent.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I remember this. It was when the Army started arming the coyotes to stave off the cowboy immigration. That was it, wasn't it?

Meteoric, Latigo. Meteoric.

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Ah, The Olden Days, when men were men and cowboys were lunatics. I mean I like a shinily be-buckled fellow as much as the next frontierswoman but if I were a high plains maiden I'd think sneering at the sky was a bit dorky, frankly, although I guess it depends on the competence of the sneerer. Granted, it would probably be another 5 years before a man passed by my lonely homestead again - by which time the sun might have baked my brains such that I might enjoy a spot of recreational sneering myself - but I'd think it was worthwhile sticking it out in the hopes of meeting someone with more creak in his saddle, more ha in his "Yeeha!"; someone who took the harsh realities of that life and became a gentler, not a doofussier, soul; someone who might still be alive after a day out with his mates.

Lovely pome, Latigo. Are you such a gentle-souled gun-toter? Does such a well-armed gentle-slinger even exist? To shoot and shoot and yet be not a villian?

I'm a bit squiffy tonight if you hadn't guessed. I just tried to spell hadn't, haddent. Sufferin's a-comin'.

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger Helga von porno said...

I think your lyrics are better than your prose, and your prose is mighty fine. That last verse is timeless genius. And metaphysical too. The interuptions make the savage truth bearable.

 
At 7:38 AM, Blogger Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

I agree with Helga, but then I'm contractually obliged to.

This is a tragic story of vaguelly camp machismo felling potential pioneers of a brave new society.

If only they had been honest with each other at the death.

 
At 12:31 AM, Blogger Latigo Flint said...

Thank you Rene, but it's really more magnificent than it is amazing. (Periodically interrupted of course.) I would sort of like to visit your blog.
Do you capitalize any words on your blog? Not that it matters to me. I don't like capitalizing words either. I capitalize under protest, under protest I say.

Are you flirting with me LBB? ('Cause it's working.)

Thank you Sharon. I actually don't remember writing it, but its silly savagery implicates me.

Exactly Old Hoss--goddamn sneaky pony solders.

You turn a might pretty line Sam, Problem Child Bride. But I am not that gentle soul. I'm sexy, it's true, but I'm also dark and mysterious and haunted. And I've rode too many savage trails and seen too many men die from the devil's side of a six-gun to ever smile and mean it again. Sufferin' been here for some time now.

I retract my earlier statement Helga Von Porno--you can find me funny, not savage, if you want to. And weren't we supposed to be wed by now?

Vaguely camp machismo has always been tragic Ultra Toast--be it today or in the days of blood and scorpions.

 

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