(In memory of "Mickey" Winters)

By Chris Martin

Photo by Jeff Burk

In the dry distance,
past the barbed wire,
the chapparal, the
roadside gas and beer
stops, sun-dried empty
fireworks stands, an
endless blue ribbon highway
now rounds my halting neck
gently but slowly
squeeezing out the rain
from my throat and heart,

my buddy

it was back then we were the show
totally oblivious to these eternal props.
Too many open containers,
contraband, whores, Joe Turner's
"Boogie Woogie Country Girl"
in the front of our rolling jukebox,
headed for limitless blue neon,
laughing out loud
at all those poor motherfuckers
who were less fortunate than us
at the drags, the beer joints,
the good, bad and ugly hangovers,
drenched in the philosophies
of wild men amongst wild men
(and women, god yes) we
were like wolves on the precipice
staring down at the villagers
around the fire

the cold pale bad moon
beaming down impassively
as a blackjack dealer

I thought the expense account was
unlimited, the races, the wins, the blurring
noise of friends having too much fun.
The laws that the universe bent for us
acting like an insider on our side
of the Wall Street barbed wire fence,
the privileges, the gold cards for
T-shirt and sloppily dressed outlaws,
the type who made "Yahoo"
before there were computers

my buddy ...

You always were a step ahead of me,
whether I was sobbing my eyes out
over a Monterrey senorita, or
you were doubled up with tequila
poisoning, somehow, someway
a last-minute reprieve
to roll the dice again,
to go through the swinging doors.
You negotiated those choppy
waters like Ahab,
a big fat Indiana Jones
in a den of monsters ... until now

my buddy

the Texas flatland now has
a big cigarette hole burnt into it,
a gap as big as the twin towers
in New York ...
Now, at times, I can't even stand
to hear the word "Dallas"
it's that bad

I hardly have anywhere to go
when I need that guy kind of advice,
a cornerman to swab and sew up
the cuts, a slap on the back,
a "come on, son" that allowed me
sometimes to head someplace
other than the floor ....

my buddy

Dammit, I'm in a sentimental mood.
You're probably cackling your flat
ass off at the shape I'm in ...
a hangover of a different kind

but there are other people in
in this as well as me
looking down and hopefully up at you

for leaving us rudderless
in this garden of delights
Yes, "You" are not forgotten, and
as long as we breathe, you have
a place to stay within us
within the rusted
barbed wire,
the chapparal,
those roadside gas and beer joints,
fireworks stands,
in the green infinity of Texas

(hell, even the tit joints)

That comes
from the heart,
from making a mark,
from a life well-lived

that is the price of love, my buddy.

Got a poem you'd like to submit? Email it to We'll read it and if we like it, we will publish it. Remember the title to the department is "No Rhyme, No Reason, No Pay," so don't expect any and we won't either. -- Jeff Burk

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No Rhyme Nor Reason — 12/12/03

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