THE BALLAD OF

      PEPPER & WHISKEY

      an excerpt

            

“Harm’s way doesn’t

really bother me,” Pepper told

Whiskey and made an

arrow catching face with

both hands. A biscuitful of

remorse. Whiskey thought

about mailing one’s self to

where the bears are.

            
            

The bears were thinking about

fish, thinking feelingly. Pepper

felt a strong bird song rash

coming on and unbuttoned.

Together they reconstructed

the scene by dancing

backwards through

the map of muddy footprints.

            
            

Whiskey mostly rode crosswise,

ass in a splint. That is, after

the accident. This is during.

Whiskey loved Pepper’s birdcage

chest and river talk. Pepper

knew boats, was afraid of water,

happened faster in unnatural light.

            
            

Whiskey knew all this.

When they were

planning the lasso party,

plenty small trees needed

to find feet. None did. I guess

the upper hand is underfoot

and all the losing lost.

            
            

A bimbo possum in

a dirt oven is Pepper

and Whiskey’s common

ground. As is

the viscosity of

a graveyard giggle.

            
            

Goggles to goggles in

the circle of

the square dance, they’ve

got boot-polishing eyes

for each other. They’ve got

high tone alibis and a library

of single string fiddle tunes.

            
            

Pepper is banking on

next week’s knocked over

train candy. Whiskey is

dreaming Pepper as

a team of mules

doing card tricks.

Now, they’re bed-rolling

the riverbank. Now,

they’re a shiver

past the mark.

            
            

Pepper wanted Whiskey’s house

to be more honest about

its chicken feet, its

spending habits. A full

frontal clock tower two

minutes in gets Whiskey

all aghast and scholarly.

            
            

Angel Gecko is one man’s treasure

hunt, one man’s two-timing man.

I just see it like they call it out.

Pepper wanted Whiskey.

That set up the river and night talk.

Whiskey wanted a bucketful

and got more than.

            
            

Pepper liked Whiskey so

they walked down to

the river and kept changing

its name until they forgot

the “original.” Pepper

floated out spread legged

on the rope swing while

Whiskey cajoled the local

wolf man out of his coat.

            
            

A brawl, a fire, a spit later,

Pepper and Whiskey had

a feast , a swim, and a large

hole dug to bury

the evidence. God bless.

            

You can check out more of Jen’s and Mike’s fabulosity at www.horselesspress.org.

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