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Short poem

Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (1949-)

Cowboy on Horse in Desert

              1Little cowboy, painted on
              2a paint-by-numbers picture
              3found in a junk shop. I have had you for ten years
              4now. I carry you with me wherever I go
              5because you are so lonely and never quite make
              6it through to the canyon arches you're aimed at.
              7Someone aimed you at something, forever.
              8Kinda like me and a couple of dreams.
              9I wish I could paint in
            10an arrival for you.
            11As it is, we keep each other company you and I.
            12Your icons become my icons, that cactus presiding over your
            13path, the cotton candy clouds in blue I see some days,
            14the arid dirt and boulders, that rock face that
            15looks like the snout of a benevolent large dog, neither
            16asleep nor threatening, like the poised
            17chances of my own life.

            18There are so many wonderful paintings,
            19cowboy, but you and I, we are simpler than that.
            20We are done with shades, and textures and the meaning of
            21tilted faces in amber light --
            22we are doggedly going, you and I, called by neither oasis
            23nor homestead, just moving in the brash sun
            24that neither parches nor woos.

            25What I watch is your stillness, caught in neither leaving nor
            26arrival -- an image of me. I could almost take you
            27out and feed you, put you to bed, tell you stories
            28of the prairie, my prairie,
            29and I wonder if whoever made you, loved you as much as
            30I do ... an old man, given to the soil, before he could give you
            31away? -- a dreamy housewife, pining for the springs
            32that her husband hadn't? I don't think it was a little
            33girl who made you -- you are too full of
            34unremitted hope for a child to know much about.

            35Perhaps you are just a factory thing,
            36the lineaments of stasis just right for the
            37frozen moment as I dream it.

            38Still, it gave you birth, little cowboy,
            39I even made a journey to Saguaro, after staring
            40at your cactus for a year. Another year, perhaps I'll become you.
            41We want to represent our heart to others, don't we?
            42Isn't that all we want to be for each other,
            43identifiable pictures of what we give and can't give?

            44Your sagebrush is badly done, your shadows
            45cheat, the peaked stone towers in the arroyo
            46unmatched from anything out here ...
            47so much like me, your world,

            48and the flowers, the total absence of flowers,
            49and you seem at peace with that, as if
            50you sang them in your heart
            51like a ditty you might be humming under the
            52brim of your hat.

            53You are satisfied. I can see that,
            54and you are better than any Moses, or extravagaria.
            55You are my little self, what little there was, taken
            56into a future that never comes.
            57Whether I have my glasses on or not,
            58I can see you clearly,
            59unlike what I have made of myself,
            60where you have found a home.

            61I can wish you nothing you do not
            62already have,
            63and that is your wish for me.


8] Kinda: kind of.

36] stasis: immobility.

39] Saguaro: national park in Arizona.

45] arroyo: dry water-carved gully.

54] extravagaria: extravagant whims; cf. a book of poetry, Extravagaria, published by Alastair Reed and Pablo Neruda (Noonday Press, 2001).

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Copyright Pier Giorgio Di Cicco 2002
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, The Honeymoon Wilderness (Toronto: The Manfield Press, 2002): 98-99.
First publication date: 2002
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/8/10

Rhyme: unrhyming

Other poems by Pier Giorgio Di Cicco