On Gunsmoke
383 kills in 635 episodes –Yahoo

The Eternal Outlaw rides into Dodge
astride Old Beam of Light. He ties
Old Beam of Light to a hitching post
and throws down shots of redeye
inside the Long Branch Saloon.
Ah, that inner glow! Those tiny
shafts of light searching his dark
arteries for the end of the tunnel,
the tingling capillaries at the tips
of his fingers! His brain on fire
Miss Kitty beckons him upstairs
to prove his manhood and there
he spills his dice into her cup:
a random toss with a random gal
in a random town.
                    I’m not a whore,
she says. I just need a little loving
now and again. Keep an eye out
for Eternal Vigilance. He wears
a star and runs these towns and
has a Miss Kitty in every saloon.
He loves us all but only in his

Aw Shucks, Miss Kitty way.
                             I ride,
he says, astride Old Beam of Light.
No star can run me down. That’s not
big talk. That’s just a fact. So shove
your Eternal Vigilance. You cannot
catch what you cannot see. The Law
of the Eternal Outlaw: Always stay
one step ahead of Gravity
toward dusk, the Eternal Outlaw
mounts Old Beam of Light again.
WHOO-OOSH! and they vanish
into the bloodshot sunset. Where
will they appear next? And when?
Space is curved. Light bends.
Time a clock watched in a mirror
ticking backward over bed or bar.
Those redeye shots thrown down,
molten jolts to steel his nerves
as all along the dusty trails
from town to town to town
Old Beam of Light zigs this way
zags that to dodge the nets of Space
and snags of Time and outrun
the Eternal Outlaw’s desperado
destiny: the empty pine box coffin
in the window of the undertaker
and the dead-end sunbaked road
to the Boot Hill outside Dodge
or Deadwood, Tombstone, Tincup,
Leadville or Gunpowder Gulch,
where the gravedigger’s spade
and the Law of Gravity await
the quickdraw high-noon showdown
on the emptiest street in town:
Eternal Vigilance gets the drop on
Any Infernal Outlaw damn fool enough
to roll his dice and risk his luck
in one of my sweet Miss Kitty’s beds
and puts a bullet through his head
in his Aw Shucks, Miss Kitty way.





perchanRobert Perchan’s poetry chapbooks are Mythic Instinct Afternoon (2005 Poetry West Prize) and Overdressed to Kill (Backwaters Press, 2005 Weldon Kees Award). His poetry collection Fluid in Darkness, Frozen in Light won the 1999 Pearl Poetry Prize and was published by Pearl Editions in 2000. His avant-la-lettre flash novel Perchan’s Chorea: Eros and Exile (Watermark Press, Wichita, 1991) was translated into French and published by Quidam Editeurs (Meudon) in 2002. In 2007 his story “The Neoplastic Surgeon” won the online Entelechy: Mind and Culture Bio-fiction Prize. He currently resides in Pusan, South Korea. For additional information, visit robertperchan.com.