By John Grey
He grew up on cowboy movies.
He was raised on black and white
Saturday matinee B fare.
In his adolescence, he matured
to color and night programming
and heroes with a darker side.
He could tell you about Anthony Mann
and Randolph Scott and James Stewart
in the “Man From Laramie.”
He saw himself as the loner with a rifle
who rides into town and makes a difference.
Catch him when he thinks nobody’s looking –
those arthritic arms and hands
are still practicing their draw.
He complains that young kids today
are all into super-heroes:
not men of flesh and blood
who put life on the line
for dusty main streets
against corrals of outlaws,
each as cruel as ten bobcats.
He’s been diagnosed with cancer.
It’s not like the Dalton Gang or the Youngers –
he can’t face it down.
His trigger finger’s wasted.
It’s more like one of those
crazed comic villains –
a glutinous Galactus
as opposed to just Jesse James.
It wants to consume his world
not a few acres of graze-range.
He gets radiation treatment
at the hospital, spider-free too:
if it was a movie,
no way he’d go see it.
Art by Fabrice Poussin