by L. Stewart Marsden
Seldom Wright stepped onto the boardwalk,
Kicked the mud ofn’ both his boots.
He pulled out a match which he struck on a post
and lit up a long, thin cheroot.
He eyed the street right keerful-like
in the dyin’ light o’ day
then pushed on in the dark saloon,
the double doors givin’ way.
It smelled of sweat and cattle hide,
mixed in with rotgut rye,
and the smoke of fags and old cigars
stung his trail-dusted eyes.
He moseyed up to the wall-length bar
and mounted him a stool,
then checked the smoke-filled honky-tonk;
Ol’ Seldom warn’t no fool.
Two other gents sat at the bar,
One passed out for the night,
The other slowly nursed a glass
‘N kept his face out o’ sight.
A dandy played the upright that
was pushed agin’ the wall
and tinkled out a tinny tune
that Seldom didn’t know at all.
And at a table ‘crost the room
sat three gents a playin’ cards
all holding hands close to the chest
and puffin’ their cigars.
A feathered floozy watched their game,
Sign’ling to one at the table,
Then winked his way as if to say
“Later, if you’re able.”
Seldom turned back to the bar,
Pulled a coin from out his vest –
“I don’t want none o’ your rot-gut sh*t.
Jes gimme sumayer best.”
“Yessir!” the tender replied,
and stepped up on a chair
to reach a bottle stored up high
then turned to Seldom’s stare.
He poured a glass of golden rye,
and slid it o’er to Wright
who tossed it down without a frown
but closed his eyes real tight.
Then savoring that burning glow
he grinned and said “That’s nice.”
And motioned for the bottle then,
and tapped his glass just twice.
He wooed that bottle ’bout an hour
When them doors slammed open wide,
And an ornery cuss, with hair amuss,
Stomped his way inside.
The varmint stopped ’bout halfway in
And spots Seldom at the bar,
“I’d like to know, you wart-backed toad
Jest who the hell you are?”
“That a fact?” Seldom answered back
turning slowly in his chair,
“The name is Seldom. Seldom Wright.”
All eyes were struck with fear.
“Seldom Wright? What kinda name is that?”
he unfurled with a surly grin,
“The one my momma give me, Sir,”
Seldom answered back, and then
He stood up tall, stepped away from the bar,
Touched the butt of his Colt-45,
“Gotta problem with that?” as he pushed back his hat
And he glared with steely black eyes.
“Maybe I do,” that foolish cuss said
As he stupidly went for his gun,
But Seldom shot first, left the other man dead,
Then finished the drink he’d begun.
He pulled out a coin, which he left on the bar
As the honky-tonk onlookers spilled out,
And he said pushing through the curious crowd
“I’m Seldom Wright, but never in doubt.”