Cowboy on Horse in Desert

Original Text: 
Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, The Honeymoon Wilderness (Toronto: The Manfield Press, 2002): 98-99.
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.
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,
37frozen moment as I dream it.
38Still, it gave you birth, little cowboy,
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
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,
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. Back to Line
36] stasis: immobility. Back to Line
39] Saguaro: national park in Arizona. Back to Line
45] arroyo: dry water-carved gully. Back to Line
54] extravagaria: extravagant whims; cf. a book of poetry, Extravagaria, published by Alastair Reed and Pablo Neruda (Noonday Press, 2001). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright Pier Giorgio Di Cicco 2002