It aches when I smile.
My State's a disaster.
Coal rollers, burnouts and days full of rapturous
laughter and "Red Face"
down in Lusk in the hot days
of Summer--it's boiling;
Winter winds burn up your face.
I first learned to hate
myself in a snowstorm
on Dow Street in Sheridan.
My best friends are the slow warmth
that spreads through the chest,
lifts a cold heart, grabs popcorn and pints
at the Blacktooth on hundreds of nights.
And 500,000 simple souls are a sight.
Still they're just half a million salty
drops in the ocean--
A quick squall of rain on the Bighorns.
They've opened the floodgates for *******,
morons, bigots and rednecks
and rich, ******* ranchers thinking
everyone owes them.
And their dollars are deadpan
gallows jokes down in Cheyenne.
But I've seen cheap smiles 4 miles wide
out by Sundance.
And I've got good friends that I still carry with me
like the potent, sweet, earthy afterburn of good whiskey,
or the smell of the lodgepoles in the Spring
up in Story.
And it's still my home
even though it's so empty.
It's still my home
though it sometimes seems ******.
That State's in my bones,
I don't think it'll leave me.
So please understand that some nights
when you find me,
you've stumbled across a small splinter
chipped off of Wyoming.
My relationship with my home state of Wyoming is kinda complicated. There's SO much about Wyoming that really *****. It's sparsely populated, largely rural and hidebound, unquestioningly conservative (the "'Red Face' down in Lusk" is a reference to "Legend of Rawhide..." check THAT one out, cuz **-LY ****); you sometimes run into a lot of really ****** attitudes and ways of thinking. But, at the same time, there's so much jaw dropping beauty there, too, and so many people with open, generous, accepting hearts. I've had tons of really heart wrenching experiences back there, but also tons of really awesome, fulfilling experiences too; plus, some of my very best friends are back there.
Form-wise, I really don't think I like what this poem turned into. But, eh, whatever.