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NOT A LOVER NOT A FIGHTER

While he measures off his buck rein
He’s fighting off his deepest pain
When the chutegate opens wide he’ll find relief.
Viet Nam and Special Forces
Viet Cong and three divorces
No more war—aboard these horses he’s at peace.

The anthem’s not his favorite song
He’s through believing in King Kong
He pledges his allegiance to lost youth.
He’s the old man on the circuit
Pushing 50 and he looks it
But the look of things is often far from truth.

                Not a lover not a fighter
                Not a wild west bronc rider
                Not a notch carved in a six-gun
                For each time he sits one tall.
                Not a lover not a fighter
                Not a hero, he’s much wiser,
                Making every spur-lick count
                For one name on The Wall.

The clown act with its cannon blast
Will make him jump back to the past
Where he earned a purple heart and silver star.
Someone said he hawked his medals
For entry fees and won that buckle
Shining bright from his dark corner of the bar.

He finds hope in those 8 seconds
When the only call that beckons
Is the cowboy code—try to ride ‘em right.
Charging hard in his bronc saddle
He’s distracted from his battle
As he’s learning how to win without the fight.

He tips his hat to cheering crowds
It makes him sad and makes him proud
No-one showed to cheer him home from Nam.
In peaceful sleep, sweetly dreaming
Snorty broncs and not men screaming,
He finds beauty in the storm before the calm.

                Not a lover not a fighter
                Not a wild west bronc rider
                Not a notch carved in a six-gun
                For each time he sits one tall.
                Not a lover not a fighter
                Not a hero, he’s much wiser,
                Making every spur-lick count
                For one name on The Wall.

1 Comment Post a comment
  1. Trudy Wischemann
    Apr 13 2011

    I have read all four – I’m feeding myself a big fat lunch of words on this website – and I remember what I discovered I loved about your work in the first book of yours John handed me 15 years ago or so (I keep the poem about the whiskered colt on my refrigerator.) But this one – um. I hear music in it. I’m trying to sing it already, the melody’s going down in my mind, a scratch chord progression with it. This one’s a message I’d like to sing to my friend Jim, who also came back sorta whole. Sorta.

    Reply

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