Wednesday, October 23, 2013

 Some makeup from the show remained on their faces, and in the incomplete light of the bar, they appeared as clowns. The clowns among the other men and the stories they brought with them and their masculine agendas and the cigarette smoke, meanwhile a wind damp in the lonesome streets they walked in from.
 The whore at her table just out of the light. Richard had sat at her table a while and came back to the bar. Joe remembered that when she first showed up, she sat at the end of the bar with no drink in front of her. Her eyes were strong and dark and she was skinny and her face was round and open. She sat in silence and looked at the ceiling or nodded to herself as if in agreement with what her newfound circumstances have revealed to her. Fat John, who Joe knew to be a father of four, was the first to approach her and follow her up the stairs. Fat John broke her in and after that she sat at the table just out of the light with a drink and took to smoking one cigarette after another.
 Richard asked Joe what he thought the clowns wanted.
 Don't know.
 They're lookin at me.
 No they're not.
 They're lookin at me all right. And they're sayin somethin.
 They're just lookin.
 Joe watched the clowns' painted faces. They spoke a melodic tongue and passed a bottle of bootleg wine they stole or stomped with their own dirty feet. They looked at Richard, they stared without staring. They secreted something away in their smiles.
 Richard couldn't hide the whiskey in his voice, can I help you sirs?
 The clowns only sat there.
 I said can I help you.
 He was old and skinny and his sunken cheeks shown skeletal in the weak light. Behind him sat a fat one who smiled a gaping toothless smile. He turned to his friend and turned back and said, I know you.
 Pardon me.
 The old clown pointed to himself and his friend, we know you.
 No you don't.
 No. We know you.
 No sir, you don't understand.
 Joe watched them. Their stark faces floating like ghosts over the bar. Conspiracy in their eyes and in their smiles. The drunkard Jefferson sat at the other end of the bar and smiled with the clowns. Joe stood, but you don't know me.
 The old fieldhand Jefferson has decided he will never go back to the ranch. He hides his mangled foot beneath the bar. The pain of pulling the boot on. There is no taking it off.
 He has spent every dollar he has, and when the coins in his pocket are gone, he will kill one of the boys or both. It will have to be the bold one first. Then the other will be his to kill or to impose his will on however he wishes. He will wake up to choosing when the boy is in his arms. His new life will begin with tomorrow's bloody sunrise.
 He steps on the foot to see if it can carry any weight. He watches the boys.
 Richard sat hunched at the bar. He'd had too much whiskey. His mind floated. His hand went from the glass to the hunting knife on his belt.
 Joe pushed the knife back into its leather sheath.
 I just wanna see em scared.
 They won't scare.
 The fat clown's serene face and his happy bulges spilling out on the bar. He sips the wine and smiles. His old friend looking across the bar, his whiskey untouched. His eyes alive and intelligent. His mind corrupt and deceitful and long given into what vices he met along his path. His regard for Richard and what he causes in the boy's mind.
 Time to go.
 What the hell.
 Joe took richard by the shirt and pulled him out the door. He untied their horses and took them to the middle of the street.
 Richard's horse acted up. It was frightened of Richard's hand and wouldn't take a rider.
 Joe put Richard on his own horse. He held the head of Richard's horse tightly and tugged on its ear until it lowered its head. He held her head there for a while. He took measure of his own heart rate, then the horse's.
 The clowns amid the smoke and the other men sitting in thought or in drink or in short conversation. Joe imagined the actress at the bar. She laughs, she is comfortable around her friends. She drinks like one of the men. But when she looks at Joe, she changes. He told Richard to get down and switch horses, she's ready.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

And when the sun had not yet parted with the horizon, and the red canyon rock was aglow in the red of the sunrise, Joe came for the last two, and all their cowardices and all the bravery they thought they contained and the fragility of their human vessels were realized with the red sun for sullen witness.

Why you have two knives, asked the old man. One for me and one for you? The old man put his cigarette out in the small glass. A small blue flame passed along the inside of the glass, but it only lived for a second.
Joe thought on his plan for the old man and the unloaded shotgun Richard pointed in the window. He watched the flame in the glass.
You come in here with a plan to kill me, ah. The old man hadn't looked at Joe since he sat down, but only straight ahead across the bar. No, no. You don't want to kill me. You only want to protect your friend. Your friend, ah. Your friend wants to come here so you scare me.
No. I wanted to come here.
The old man held a coin in his hand. He tapped the bar with it as he said: Then what is the plan. What is the trick of the two knives.
No trick.
Yes, you trick. You don't come to no bar to scare no old man who never been scared without a trick. Without adavantage.
Frank the bartender leaning against the bar at the other end. He looked out the window and pretended not to hear. His eyes met Joe's. The old man's fat friend stood in the middle of the room. He smiled when Joe looked at him.
The trick is the gun have no bullets, said the old man. How you must love your friend. He finally looked at Joe. What a great lover he must be. I buy you a drink, boy. He called for the bartender but Frank only stood there.
Joe took Richard's knife off his belt, and in a swift arch of his arm, buried the tip of the blade in the wood where the old man's hand had been.
No, you don't have it. You don't kill nobody.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The man with green eyes face down in the dirt. The dirt red where he hid his wounds from Papa. The man's hair cow licked into a mohawk. It dried stiff in the winds that do traverse that country and come to disturb what small thing will let them. The dogs of the paddock loitering in the now mundane stench of the man, the males in gelded boredom, and the bitches tending to their brood.
 Joe and Richard's shadows crosswise the man. His fingers protruded purple from wrists bound with twine and his feet bare and bound. His boots beside his feet. Papa lay across his back and licked the sweat from his neck.
 Told her he's a prince. Said they had an accident on the road. Said there's gold in it for her.
 Joe turned him on his back. The man struggling awake in the lonely country. He looked up at them through eyes recessed in swollen flesh. Two hazy figures interrupting the bare firmament.
 He's a prince, all right. Joe sat him up and put the water bladder to his lips. The water stinging his cracked lips and dripping red from the tears in his cheek.
 Said he asked her to get more water. That's when she saw the girls robbing the chicken coop.
 Didn't need to see em, though. Elson was watching em.
 Yeah. Should never have walked in that door.
 Goes without saying. Lucky I was out. Richard brought his face close to the man's. That's not to say that it wont get worse before the day's over, though.
 Papa standing there and the man on his back breathing and the other dogs circling. The man's swirls of flesh like muddy snake tracks. Papa sniffed at the man and dragged his tongue from the man's chin to his forehead. The man screamed and tried to sit up but the dog clamped down on his ear. Joe straddled the dog and pulled its head down and held it there until it let go of the man. Papa taking his place with the other dogs and the man leaning into Joe. He finally cried.

 The dog looked up at Joe from eyes that struggled to stay open. Black fly larva had made a home of its flesh and could be seen to writhe in their cozy homes. Joe squeezed the dog's brow and expelled the worms to the forest floor. The dog searched them out and stood there chewing, its ear flopping like moth eaten silk.
 Out there two men struggling to find footing in the grass. One bearded with a canvas bag over his shoulder and the other with eyes that looked in different directions.
 Joe sat crouched and held the girl's ankle. He waited for the little one to give them away but she stayed quiet. He watched the girls watching the men. Not a trusting gaze.
 Maybe they don't know em, said Richard.
 They know em.
 Behind the girls the horses swayed in the silence of the forest. They watched the men between the river birch. Across Joe's horse a deer carcass and on the horse that Richard borrowed from Joe's father sat the man with green eyes.
 When Joe took the man's bag, he dug his claws in as if to make a stand over it and his friend found a stick. Joe reached in to the bag. He held the dark mushroom with his thumb and forefinger and said: you're gonna kill everyone with this. The men looked at each other, at Joe. He passed his finger under his chin, dead. He tossed the mushroom. He whistled for Richard. The men watched them emerge from the pine like unconsoled spirits, like a company left for dead and half forgotten.
 The image of Joe and Richard something to measure their fantasies against to the children. Something born of a rumor of a future in this country. They watched the two young men

Monday, October 7, 2013

 The dog's brow and ear swollen and it looked up at Joe with eyes that struggle to stay open. Black fly larva had made a home of its flesh and can be seen to writhe around in their cozy homes and peak their black heads out of

Jobs to be found. Jobs to be found in the fruit fields of___

Mister _____ offering the honest and decent occupation of fruit picking. Of ____, of ____. Pay is ____

On a field owned by Mr ____ that pays ___

He said, good work, decent work to be found.

The two men standing behind him like enlisted men. The others __ ___ ___. From the ___ ___ _____ _____ ______.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Outline of scene where Joe meets the gypsies

-Joe and Richard pick up the man with green eyes in the paddock of the dogs
[He's a prince all right, papa's protecting the dog, the man hiding his face in the dust from the dog's licking]

-Joe and Richard come upon two of the men in the woods
[They hide from the men, the men pick poisonous mushrooms, one of the men lazy eyed]

-Joe comes upon the group crowded around the fire
[The two men carry the dear carcass, the girls go into one of the wagons where the actress greets them, the man with green eyes' family crowd around him]

-Joe hangs up the deer and butchers it
[He puts the hind parts to smoke, he hands the hide over it, he asks for salt to preserve other parts, he puts the organs in a pan to fry with some of the fat from strip of fat beside the tender loin]

-They eat around the fire
[The two clowns off in the dark corner smoking, fat one smiling etc {fat one eats, older one doesn't}, joe sits next to the actress {vibes} and feeds her and her younger sisters the organs, the man with green eye's family crowded around him, he on the floor moaning beside them]

-The surgery
[Joe sets Richard to sharpening the knife, he tells the actress to start a deep pan of water to boil, he asks for needle and thread, cross on the wounds, suturing his cheek etc]

-Sleeps with the actress
[Holds her from behind, she corrupts him with her tongue etc, man growns all night, Joe gets up before day break, meets clown to watches the man and says the man will die before sunrise and that when the people find him they will kill him, something about confidence of the young etc]

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

 The hand of Joe's father along the horse's coat on its neck, down to the ribs and belly and back up along its spine. His half closed eyes in slow and singular focus. He put his finger in the rope that tied the splint to the inside of the leg. This has to be leather. Replace it tomorrow but use more rope for tonight. This comes loose in the night it's finished. The splint went along the inside of the leg to the belly and at the belly attached to a support that pushed up into the horse's abdomen to take weight off the leg. You know, I think it didn't work with Nave because we should have fixed the other leg the same way and connected it with a harness in the middle. Take the good leg and the bad leg off the ground and it wouldn't put any weight on either of them. It can't run even if it wants to.
 Won't let you. It'll break out of it. This way it doesn't know it's cripple.
 Did it break it in the fall.
 No. Richard rode it in the forest. Must've kicked something. He should have rode in the prairie beside the girls but he got right up on em to scare em. Something wasn't right in the way it was running.
 It's not a bad break.
 Just a crack I guess.
 And the girls.
 In the barn with Richard. He's got a gun on em. Maybe I shouldn't have left them with him.
 Wouldn't make a difference. If they're any good at thievin, they're good enough to steel their freedom from you.
 Wouldn't do em any good. I know where their people are at. I saw the smoke from their fire.
 You think if you bring them their women unharmed, they'll leave town without gettin their eye?
 Don't think they're a people given to vengeance. Find a town. Build a fire and settle down for a day. Take what they can and leave before people wise up. That's what they do. This time they stole too close to home. Thought they could lose us. Thought a river between us was enough.
 And the man?
 He'll live.
 Should've never entered that house.
 Don't see what else they expect to happen.
 They could expect to kill you and be satisfied.
 They won't. I was thinking about shootin them a deer. I think I can help the man with his wounds, too. They won't do nothin.
 The man looked at the boy. He was not of the man's stock, but by and by he took from the man what he had to give to him and forged it into a will yet unrealized, but the capacity of which could be imagined. It came to him that before he met the boy, he had never encountered another made of the same stuff as himself. He said to the boy: Keep the horse fed well or over fed and retie the splint before you sleep tonight. Tomorrow take things very slowly. Read the situation. Don't let them follow you home. Cover your tracks and keep an eye on them until the whole lot of them is out of this country. Take enough bullets to cover the head count.
 The girl there surrounded by all the darknesses of a night and what moonlight may seep through the cracks in the wood. Joe felt her there and after a minute he did see something in the shadow from which an image of her of sitting against the barn wall could be surmised. He felt around for the lamp hook hanging from the ceiling. He lit the match and brought it into the kerosene lamp and for a while the lamp only illuminated itself, until the fire caught strength and materialized in weak orange glow what was to be seen of the inside of that barn.
 The girls rising to their feet in the warm orange glow of the kerosene lamp. Her eyes and her mouth and her skin electric there in the small world of the barn. Her skin bears the marks of a life in the rough, some of the scratches fresh, and the skin at her elbows undelicate and dark. Her dress something that only works from afar. In the light of the lamp it revealed itself to be a patchwork of discarded fabrics sewn together by unscrupulous hands. The hoop skirt something to hide what had been stolen and the shirt an inadequate container for sacks of flesh well acquainted with the hands of men, effect her body has on those who usurp it from her an important part of her place in the world she knows.
 Bitch. Joe sat opposite the girls beside his rifle. He told them to strip.
 The younger one looked up at her older sister. She put her hands on her sister's lower back and pushed her forward. In the girl's eyes swirled the nucleus of a world that existed beside Joe's, but was not like his, where the girl is defined by the notions of her held by those in her orbit, yet remains at the center. She reached behind her back and lifted her dress and pulled down the hoop skirt. Beneath that were shorts covered in feathers, and she pulled them down. The girl's gaze, which knows not hardness or softness but only bares witness to a life bereft of choice, hadn't left Joe since he entered the barn. The light reflected yellow from his iris reminded her of the pattern on a butterfly's wing the more she looked at it. The breathing of the milk cow and the feathers and wheat and dust in the air like mad ambers in the glow of the lamp and the howling madness of the night outside the barn walls. She turned her back to him and lifted her dress and pushed herself into his seam. Her bare ass and the dark hairs along her spine like something of the animal realm intruding on a feverdream to Joe.