July 7, 2000
By C.F. Kelly
- "Drink up your tequila, vaquero,
- con un poco de sal y limón
- and tip your sun-bleached sombrero
- to the lady en ese rincón,
- la señorita who's staring at you
- above the guitarra she's strumming.
- "You remind her of someone she knew
- who told her to wait-he'd be coming.
- The, tall in the saddle, al norte he rode,
- with "Yo volveré lo más pronto, hermosa".
- And she's waited-it's honor, it's code-
- and all for a foolish promesa. ¡Qué cosa!
- "Since the day that he left, two years have gone by,
- and all of the nights she comes with tristeza
- and stays till her chocolate eyes have gone dry,
- till she's finished her regular glass of cerveza".
- Three bandidos stalked in through the cantina door
- and just waited for rattlesnake eyes to adjust
- while stomping their botas quite loud on the floor
- and slapping their ponchos of dry desert dust.
- They looked first at the gringo
- and then at the girl,
- then barked out in lingo
- that rose in a swirl:
- "We take your dinero, sí, la muchacha,
- and we take your caballo, a very fine horse,
- and, borracho, your drinking is through,
- since we take all the whiskey, of course."
- The cowboy looked tired and pushed back his hat;
- the bartender smiled and raised both his hands;
- the young lady froze in the chair where she sat;
- and hearts beat as loud as bright sun on the sands.
- With pistolas drawn, they moved as a team
- for the whiskey and money with menacing grace,
- for the woman of sadness who led out a scream,
- distracting the hombres, creating some space.
- "Pistolero" they called him because of his
- his lightening quick draw and eagle-eye aim,
- for he dropped each pendejo like kernels of see
- then felt his blood flowing through the onset of pain.
- The sad face above him, a blur in his eyes,
- moved closer and closer, soft lips on his brow,
- and through fading thoughts, too late, he realized
- that the woman he loved had honored her vow.