Dodging Lighting and Riding Thunder
He’s judged and condemned to take the saddle, yet, still fighting
without surrender, while we slip the bit between his jaws.
This, and ducking feet in dubble time while lashing
the gear to his back, dodging lightning while riding Thunder.
A saddle placed on a throne and strapped to a rocket.
He fights, he chokes, and rolls his eyes.
Who would give a dollar for his tough ole hide,
go sit on him in the seat of a rocker or hang him over the pea-patch
With the crack of a bullet, he could be gone.
I have trouble waiting for my chance to sling the sweat.
I purch high on the seat, chaps folded back, a nod to pull the rope.
Then out of the gate we fly, the dust, the slobber,
the foaming mouth and ears laid back.
I am screwed to the back of the saddle and
held there by centrifugal force.
Suddenly, the earth and sky are drunken things,
bucked from my senses, jolted to and fro as fence
My dreams of being a cowboy fading rapidly
into the choking dust.
Yet, I hang to a flying hearse, the horse called Thunder,
whose hoofs beat drums of doom with boiling smoke.
I’m tossed high in a sickly orbit of sky and earth.
Thunder, still kicking as if to sling his burden to the stars,
plunging ahead, searching for a place to land.
The sky appears to darken around my head,
somewhere between a raven’s wing and the
back of a buzzard. With my shaky hands, I feel
the knots on my head, I fight for breath while spitting
sand, choking on dust and red eyes rolling. I feel hands
on me as they pat my back with hoots and hollows
beyond the limits of my brain. I stand up with
my unsteady feet and stagger. I see Thunder standing
at the other end of his domain.
Then the red bronco whirls in a resounding charge,
rumbling a folly of hoofs in rapid fire.
The final defeat, as I hurl myself over the rail.
Who would give ten dollars for that piece of leather
hanging slightly to the right side. Who, while shopping
for a bargain would settle for a deal.
Copyright © Patrick Kelly | Year Posted 2022
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