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Sport 33: Spring 2005

Cowboy Time Blues

Cowboy Time Blues

for Hannah and Amber

The song, and how the song holds on to us:
the computer's undertow, the white noise
of morning as the data starts to flow;
or the creek after rain, shifting its gravel—
these sounds that almost seem to belong.

Evening, late, the music's now a western theme—
I'll take it as my own. A dust cloud rises
on a cowboy road—a white Chrysler powers north
and yessir, yessir, you hang a right, sir, right outta
Truth or Consequences, soon's you leave the trailer park

—only to find it's Rossini in my mind,
the William Tell, of course, and all our clocks are tuned
to it, to cowboy time, so that day and night at ten to ten—
the digital bleep and tone of watches and cellphones
all going off, their plaintive chorus.

It was the girls who brought the song,
their trick—flying in from Auckland and LA,
to sing me back to cowboy time, to Oxhey Lane,
a wet grey pavement—and I am three years old again.
My hand is in my mother's as we reach

the Lubbocks' gate, and the only TV
on our street. We're there for Hi-yo Silver away,
the Lone Ranger in his mask, and Tonto on his pinto
close behind, we're there to dream of
the America to come.

page 167

So let's hear it folks, it's dreamtime once again—
all together now, it's time to sing along:

ten to ten ten to ten ten to ten (ten-ten!)
ten to ten ten to ten ten to ten (ten-ten!)
ten to ten ten to ten ten to ten (ten-ten!)
   ¡ten to ten!
         ten to ten      ten to ten