Silva’s Saloon, Endangered

for outlaws, past and ever so present
They’ve given death a name
and now they’re going to cure it.
They’re burning out our homesteads
and hiding places, anything
made of iron, dirt, honest grief
……….and straight words.

They can kill in the dark
from a thousand miles away,
a video game that simulates blood splatter,
……….while real live babies
lose arms, real live legs.

At Silva’s Saloon every artifact
has handprints: hats, trophies,
Those bare breasted girls watching
from oil paintings behind the bar
soothe the pain, help
to unravel barbed wire.

North of the pool table
there’s a creak in the floor–
surveillance satellites are searching for it.
Everything with a crack is suspect,
……….and everything has one.

Kell and Kendall sing the windmill songs;
songs of the high lonesome,
the whine of the wire, the shared load,
carrots just out of the ground.

Sing now cowboys, sing
of forgiveness–the high plains kind
……….that can level churches
to the rubble of their pretensions.

If it weren’t for those nudes on the wall
we might hand over the poetry
……….and let ’em take us
without a revolution.

Stewart S. Warren