By Kell Robertson

Bats rattling
through the trees.
Vast clouds of them
in the dark.

We sit around
our small fire
drink whiskey
and tell stories
making ourselves
into legendary figures.

Jim says,
you can't shoot a bat
in the air, says
they dodge the bullets.

We empty our pistols
into a cloud of bats
next morning find
no dead bats.

But there's a drop of blood
on a rock. I suppose we
hit something
in the air maybe
that's what heros are

Drunken fools blasting away
at bats in the darkness,
a drop of blood
fading away on a stone.

By Kell Robertson

Up in the mountains, an afternoon
of good whiskey and country music
and John said we should just keep going
and ride right on down into Mexico.
You called us a couple of old fools
but chorded alright on the turnaround
even if you did forget the words.
I suppose it's a matter of genuine
folk art and wonder when the women
were asleep and we killed the whiskey
in the kitchen, staggering out into
the snow to piss hollering into the wind
warcries for dreams to be fought,
songs as impossible as the light
when the sun came up on all that snow.

By Kell Robertson

Wind again yes
and trees naked
of leaves and yes
rock--the sand blown
away from it

these ruins where
people once lusted
these skies men
groped under
for salvation maybe
or a woman who wept
when they hurt

one bowl of beans
one unshod horse
as the wind caught his mane
and made him wilder

My friend Jimmie
a Hopi
gathers his pennies
and buys us
and we drink it
under the cut bank of the Rio Grande
He throws the three
extra pennies
into the river


In town my daughter
plays with a kitten
too small for stalking
My lady gone


Repetitive yes it
has to be it is
a circle
a meandering it's
intrinsic element
human suffering

we sing
Indian songs
Cowboy songs
and drink our wine
talk about how
we are
how truly
we were
as the Rio Grande
catches our pennies
and mocks them in
its muddiness

Small trees
caught by the wind
unable to lean
a brittle song
along the river bank

when love sags
and a bottle of cheap wine
is our blanket against
rock hard death
with his damn hands
all over us.

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