The Good, The Bad & The Alchemist

in memoriam

Peter Redgrove is squinting at Eastwood. And is not
speaking. And The Man With No Name squints

back, as if Redgrove's no-voice is smoke. God's
camera now focuses on Peter's gently trembling lips;

now close-ups the nameless man's ticking trigger-finger.
Ugliness is out to the West, his eyes flick from verse

-slinger to gunman. The Ugly is wondering. Trumpets
Hispanicly howl to pull our hearts out, as the three

in the circle begin a brave, or an arrogant, Dance of Death.
Peter Redgrove takes a gentle barefooted step to the left.

And like a lover obedient to her man, the No named One
copies the motion, then passes it on, like a meme or a song.

So, The Ugly's dusty black leather boot steps left too.
The dry-earth circle, surrounded by graves, is a mandala

on which three men dance, slowly stepping ever leftwards.
The swirl of trumpet follows them. God's shots zoom

from this eye, to that nostril, from that dribble of sweat
on a brow, to this split in the skin on a poet's lip, to

that curled finger seeking the steel curl of a trigger.
The tension in trumpets, now squealing like grieving,

is mangling Ugly's & No Name's ears. But they hear.
They cannot miss it. Redgrove speaks in an instant.

Eastwood's finger just feels his trigger. Ugly's hand
is still moving through space, down towards what's

strapped to his thigh. But. It’s too. Late. It's all. Too fast.
And. Accurate. Two lines of verse, with each of their names

                          written on

them, is all they feel. Thwack. Redgrove's word is the last.
As Ugly's & Nameless’s blood mixes to mud a grave

full of gold, like a woman's hole containing no sign
of The Bad, is waiting for Redgrove. In the Good ground.