Western Town - Poem by Jon Contrastano
Iron wheels screeching on rusted rails as steam trains pull in and out of a western town. Smoke and soot and the stench of burning coal permeate the air while twin water towers stand guard like medieval sentries. Passengers dressed to the nines, as if on their way to an evening ball move gracefully about. A strong wind blows, turning a woman’s parasol inside out, allowing sunlight to glean off her sterile white garb. She pays no mind though, just keeps moving. In a rundown saloon across the yard, men with six shooters strapped to their waists and ten-gallon hats on their heads stand at a bar drinking whiskey. Upstairs, the moans and groans of the whores are well heard over the plink plank plunk of the player piano. Out back, a haggard old man braced against the wind pours paint thinner through a loaf of bread. Drinking the strained poison from a crumpled tin cup he knows he’ll be blind by morning. Down the road the roars of lions and tigers, bugling of elephants and a calliope whistle signify that the Circus is coming. Complete with tall man, bearded lady, The Flying Walindas and six little midgets that’ll scare the living hell out of anyone who dares to gawk too long. Taking it all in however, I think its time to find my way back East.
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