Shaken and Stirred
bond, gwenda bond

el poema
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by Robert Bernard Hass (from Agni)

I have just crossed the Rio Grande,
and by a string of clever switchbacks
have, for the moment, outwitted the posse.

Ahead lie the ghosts of Sierra Madre.
Behind, I have nothing but sun,
while the condor’s shadow circles over my bones.

Though the mountains are steep, my horse doesn’t falter,
and now I know why starving bandoleros
will never shoot their animals for food.

Beyond my mirage, I see the white adobe—
yes, the one with the red-tiled roof—
which one afternoon I will lean against, with my hat down
and knees up, after a bottle of tequila.

In that siesta, I am sure to dream
of the lovely senorita
who has stolen away from her father
to meet me in the orchard.

But enough of that. There is work to be done.
I have cattle to rustle and horses to steal
before the posse picks up my trail.

(In a poem of Mexico, it would be unwise
for a poet to mention the posse is his wife.)

So, mi amigo, if you find her
prowling my mountains
with a wooden spoon in her hand,
tell her I am not here.

Tell her I have run off
with Cormac McCarthy and Louis L’Amour,
that I ride like the wind
to join up with the great Pancho Villa.

earworm: the Feast of Wire album, Calexico

rec: Carol Emshwiller's westerns

namecheck: Jack "The Admiral" Womack

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