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Can It, Mister Eastwood

Maureen Thorson

Everybody thinks the West was won
with bullets and bravado, but really

it was penny-pinching and rubber chicken
dinners in honor of the Secretary of the Interior –

still is. Rassle me up that bolo tie, girl,
I’ve got to polish a speech to the Rotaries,

see if I can’t get the Senate to back me on
a million-dollar shooting range to lull

my constituents into thinking it’s still the past
and that the past is like the movies—

they all want to star, be the ranger that hustles
the rustlers back over the wrong side of the Rio Grande,

but I’ve never met a one who wasn’t better cast
as a cowed druggist, the bit part with one line:

“I don’t want any trouble, mister.”
Nor do I. But peace on decent terms isn’t peace,

and you’ve got to plow your way through a billion
chickens to get shit done. You’ve got to bank

cent after cent, fenced mile by fenced mile.
You’ve got to fence those little cowards in

as they congratulate themselves.
Christ, you ought to see them smile.

Maureen Thorson

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