Margaret Atwood

(18 November 1939 / Ottawa, Ontario)

Backdropp Addresses Cowboy - Poem by Margaret Atwood

Starspangled cowboy
sauntering out of the almost-
silly West, on your face
a porcelain grin,
tugging a papier-mache cactus
on wheels behind you with a string,


you are innocent as a bathtub
full of bullets.


Your righteous eyes, your laconic
trigger-fingers
people the streets with villains:
as you move, the air in front of you
blossoms with targets


and you leave behind you a heroic
trail of desolation:
beer bottles
slaughtered by the side
of the road, bird-
skulls bleaching in the sunset.


I ought to be watching
from behind a cliff or a cardboard storefront
when the shooting starts, hands clasped
in admiration,


but I am elsewhere.
Then what about me


what about the I
confronting you on that border
you are always trying to cross?


I am the horizon
you ride towards, the thing you can never lasso


I am also what surrounds you:
my brain
scattered with your
tincans, bones, empty shells,
the litter of your invasions.


I am the space you desecrate
as you pass through.


Comments about Backdropp Addresses Cowboy by Margaret Atwood

  • (1/17/2018 8:50:00 PM)


    How would a cowboy say my bad. Or a phrase for mea culpa? (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • (10/8/2007 7:05:00 AM)


    very good and excellent (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sunset, people



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 2, 2004



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