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The Wildest Show In Town
larrylark

'Pa, she's a-comin', go get ma,
 1
see that line of dust smokin' the horizon?
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right on time, just like Wells Fargo'.
 3
 
The denizens from far and wide
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had blown into town ready to welcome  
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this eyepoppin' starspangled show.
 6
 
Sure enough – stagecoach pulled
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by four fine stallions swayed down
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the dusty road, slowing to the speed
 9
 
of a staggering, drunken cowpoke
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with a bellyful of Teepee beer.
 11
Painted on the side in old gold, red and blue,
 12
 
'The Great Wild West Show's Grand Tour
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of the States – here today with no fewer
 14
than eleven great stars, fallen straight from Heaven'
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Wyatt Earp, Doc Halliday, Billy the Kid,
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Roy and Trigger, the James Boys, Annie Oakley,
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John Wayne, Calamity Jayne,Gabby Hayes
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Doris Day in corsets and stays, Gary Cooper;
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starts at High Noon, bring your own moonshine.
 20
'Pa – look! The Driver!' Pa looked,
 21
 
'He's dead son, shot by an arrow right
 22
through the head'. The crowd gasped and parted,
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'Elmer, you go see now'. He opened the door
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of the coach, then rushed off to the latrine,
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hands clasped to his retching throat.
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Well, each one of those celebrities was stone dead,
 27
 
blood running down arrows like ketchup.
 28
'Does this mean there'll be no show?'
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asked Wilbur, who could be a little slow.
 30
 
'Sioux' says Pa as womenfolk averted their eyes
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and grown men fainted, then 'Get Max Paxo',
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(the town taxidermist) 'and tell him
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to lay off the Tequila Twisters
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an' all you ladies roll up your sleeves
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and bring bleach. Everyone's gonna scrub
 36
 
till our wrists ache. There's work to be done
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to save this day.' Two moons later
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when they'd finished, the stars stood,
 39
 
stiff and starched, dead straight. They were
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winched on to plinths and at a pinch,
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it was hard to tell if they were alive or dead.
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Well, the show never moved out of town
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as a mark of respect. Years rolled by,
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many folk went to try their luck in the City.
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The show started to look a pretty pitiful sight,
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tacky, tawdry and in need of repair,
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standing somewhere in a ghost town
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playing host only to a dustbowl
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wind. The stars were tended
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by Pa's great great grandsons and even
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they couldn't manage to scrape the dust
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from the wrinkled canyons on those famous faces,
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whose fingers still pointed onward, to the West,
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staring, glassy-eyed at a far-off dream,
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bathed each night in glacial starlight; a far-away
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dream that had long ago died.
 57

02/18/07

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