Originally published April 13, 2014.

Couldn’t think of anything for call of the wild … so I went for call of the west … which is wild enough …

he got the high sign so he jumped a bus
and along the roads that wind on through
the hot mojave and the jericho / he’d start his whole life anew
and what he’d left behind he hadn’t valued
half as much as some things he never knew
he got dropped off on a street in town
where a grey old man looked him up and down and said,
“son this ain’t no western movie matinee
and you’re a long way off from yippee yi yay
’cause i can tell at a glance you’re not from ’round these parts.
got a green look about ya, and that’s a gringo for starts
sometimes the only things a western savage understands
are whiskey and rifles and an unarmed man like you.”

and then the old-timer pulled him close and said,
“you’ve come a long way, i know, you got a longer drive ahead
through the bones of a buffalo, through the claims of the western dead
and just like the spokes of a wheel you’ll spin ’round with the rest,
you’ll hear the drums and the brush of steel,
you’ll hear the call of the west.” / call of the west
you’ll hear the call of the west / call of the west

(the conflict:) harshly awakened by the sound of six rounds of light
caliber rifle fire followed minutes later by the booming of nine rounds
from a heavier rifle, but you can’t close off the wilderness. he heard
the snick of a rifle bolt and found himself staring down the muzzle of a
weapon held by a drunken liquor store owner. “there’s a conflict,” he
said. “there’s a conflict between land and people…the people have to
go. they’ve come all the way out here to make mining claims, to do
automobile body work, to gamble, to take pictures, to not have to do
laundry, to own a mini-bike, to have their own cb radios and air
conditioning, good plumbing for sure, and to sell time/life books and to
work in a deli, to have some chili every morning and maybe…maybe to own
their own gas stations again and to take drugs and have some crazy sex,
but above all, above all to have a fair shake, to get a piece of the rock
and a slice of the pie and to spit out the window of your car and not
have the wind blow it back in your face.”

now from the high timber lines to the deserts dry
who’ll risk dangling on some hangman’s tree?
to stake their claims on these prairie plains
while they say this lunch is not had for free?
just like the spokes of a wheel who’ll spin ’round with the rest?
they’ll hear the drums and the brush of steel
and i’ll hear the call of the west / call of the west
i’ll hear the call of the west / call of the west