Sunday, July 24, 2016

Poet's Korner

"Steed Stetson Has Voted"

As I sat in Doc’s saloon awaiting 
the results I couldn’t help but 
think neither candidate would 
be best for Salt Creek 

I stared into my third virgin 
martini and thought of the time 
I had to choose between 
sucking a damp bedroll 
or sipping a spittoon 
to stave off thirst 

If you ask me, the decision I made 
at my precinct earlier wasn’t much 

Either way I felt I was lining 
the pockets of the cattle barons 

Clem was a breath of apolitical 
fresh air — he explained to 
the three or four haggard 
patrons that to abstain from 
voting as he had was still 
participating in the demi-cratic 

At least that’s what I think 
he said—couldn’t hear too well 
over the confounding new strains 
of proto-contemporary ragtime 
fusion he was churning out 
on the tack keytar as he spoke 

I looked up from my glass to see 
Miss Roberta enter the establishment 
her downcast expression belied 
the cloying “I Voted” sash on her 

We exchanged a wordless nod 
as she bellied up to the bar 
Doc poured us each a whipped 
cream-flavored vodka 
Miss Robert muttered something 
about the balloting booths 
cluttering up her school house 
and we downed the hatch 

The spirit was as over-distilled 
as the ubiquitous campaign 
literature, simplified to 
the point of obscenity 

What an insult to Salt Creek’s 
dozen or so intelligent folk 

After a few belts I found my hat, rose 
to my feet, and cinched up my chaps 
Doc said nothing as he polished a tumbler, his 
mustachioed face staring vacantly
I’d settle up next time
my credit was good with Doc—he knew 
I kept him in arm 

Time to hit the trail 
with the innumerable fine 
dirt particulates in the air 

There’s no need for polling 
places on the high plains

The only duly-elected town dog catcher 
is the turkey vulture 
circling eagerly above

--Steed Stetson

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