"But first, baby, as you climb and count the stairs (and they total the same), did you, sometime or somewhere, have a different idea?
Is this, baby, what you were born to feel, and do, and be?"

-Kenneth Fearing

Thursday, March 22, 2012

High Noon

The noonday train will bring Frank Miller.
If I’m a man I must be brave
And I must face that deadly killer
Or lie a coward, a craven coward,
Or lie a coward in my grave.

-Do Not Forsake Me [The Ballad of High Noon]  by Ned Washington

We weren’t exactly friends, I’ve said.

But, that isn't exactly right or wasn't always.

We were once. The dislike we grew into

was only possible through some knowledge

and sometimes, even then, it changed.

I still don’t know all the reasons, motivations,

how much was you or me, how much just routine.

The things you said, weren’t all untrue, but still,

I know they felt like truth, for you,

so wrapped up in your scheming,

you couldn’t help but convolute a line.

I couldn’t help but call you on it,

when you sat with the kitchen lights out,

drinking black coffee, sighing out storm clouds

until I couldn’t help but hear you.

You were angry at being confronted.

But what else was there to do?

High Noon, you said later, called me Will Kane

to your Frank Miller. You said, “There’s nothing

noble about saving those who don’t deserve it.”

But let’s go to the clock on the wall again,

the train coming closer. You meet it,

or trail what you didn’t do behind you.

I thought someday we’d patch things up,

laugh about Marshals, trains and villains,

because nothing is ever as easy as that.

But the clock on the wall kept ticking

life kept going, and so easily, you were a part

of the past. A couple more ticks and you were gone.

I wish it were more like a movie,

the unresolved wrapped up by the end,

but it’s never as easy as that. You were

your own Will Kane, your own Frank Miller.

You had your train, your clock. There's little I could add,

except to say that I'd side with John Wayne if I could,

this time, and have your Sheriff be the one from Rio Bravo.


                                  -Brent Allard