In a room tucked inside a neighborhood of fist-fights and hard drugs, my father rewinds scenes from his favorite Spaghetti Western, in which legends arise from the silly stuff. He points out the facial expressions and antics of the mock-hero: young Nobody, untouchable in his clownish triumphs and self-parody. My father hunches with laughter when Nobody disarms the hardened intentions of the murderous Wild Bunch gang with his blond-haired, blue-eyed absurdity. Meanwhile, the aging hero-hero, Jack Beauregard, the callous lawman whose name everyone knows, has tasted the bitter grit of good-versus-evil. He’s grown tired of hard-winning the odds stacked against him. He wants a warm shave without the insurance of a pistol pointed at the groin of the barber, to not find the family tied up in the soap closet, that the barber’s a fake again, another anonymous assassin from the Wild Bunch that he must outsmart and gun down. We understand this means no smiling for Jack, only his deferred pleasure in feeling the skin along his neck tingle at the tenderness of a friendly bladed hand. And it goes on and on like this—our heroes must continually outdraw themselves. The ambushes get serious: the gunslingers begin aiming for the back and waiting for Jack to fall asleep, and now he needs another gun and a set of eyes behind him to make it out alive. Eventually, Jack tries shrugging off the latest murders. He submits to the slow decline in his vision and boards a boat back to anonymity, leaving behind his big white cowboy hat for Nobody. All the while, my father rewinds and rewinds, his laughter leavening and leaving our house.


Jason Cytacki, Faded (oil and ink on panel)


Geffrey Davis

From Revising The Storm, copyright 2014 by Geffrey Davis, BOA Editions, Ltd.



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