He is a spirit wandering the infinite places between sky and earth. Twisting and changing like cigarette smoke, he rides into the grasslands, white sweeping clouds above that bend from dragon to snake with a brush of the hand. Over the golden plains, mythic in song and lyric, he journeys like the parching wind.
He is a spirit wandering between stone and fire. We read the ashes and learn of his tales. There are no lines of worry crisscrossing his cheeks and skin. Death has no grip on his heart and bones.
He cannot die, he is the sunlight of the wide open west. He cannot die, he is the glittering gold on silty river bottoms and gun smoke wafting. He cannot die, he is the high pitched wail of the twelve o’clock train.
Without name he wanders the wasteland, hopping train tracks and imaginary borders made of blood and tears. Without name, the horizon opens up to him, waiting for a deep breathy kiss. Gunshots and loot, opened graves and old wooden crosses. He cannot die, he is the red rocks of the desert, the biting sand and open grasslands of buffalo.
His bones, made of feathers and air, carry all the wild dreams they have forgotten, lost in the songs of itinerant laborers laying forged metal tracks, lost at the massacres at Wounded Knee and the lynchings decorating every town square in anguished screams of mortal pain.
He is not afraid to die because he cannot die. Horses come to him and he plays with their riders. Men of leather and steel- made up of empty gun chambers and exploding white powder.
He smiles, squinting as they all search the sky for the promise of gold. Their home is the wasteland between earth and clouds, long stretches of nothingness colored by the temporary illusion of places and people and faces and tales. A country of drifters and grifters, tiny senseless cons that always end in battle. They search for treasure, an endless pursuit with countless forking roads that twist abruptly and lead always to murder and more splashes of blood that dry black on the dusty streets of empty towns.
The man with no name swirls between them all, carried by his feather bones. He cannot die, he is the purple light of sunset, the ripple of green meadow grass before a wild storm. Lighting snaps and he speaks.
Both the story and its teller. The fire and the wood. The killer and the killed. A strange whisper among the swaying grasses, an awesome silence among crimson buttes. Hear him cackling among the reeds of a small brook or shrieking over an open field, wings outstretched, prey in sight. See him circling, a ring of dark birds, waiting eagerly for some man or beast to give it's last breath to the indifferent prairie.
Where the curtains are drawn shut, where the towns people have gathered round the gallows, where the undertakers hammer rings against the hush, there you find him. Where wild horses run free, where coyotes lament their folly, where rattlesnakes make threatening music, he is there. In every face, in every street, in every mountain pass, there, there, there.
Death, smiling, the only god. Death looks up from the dug earthen graves. Death, watching closely from yellow flower faces and clouds heavy with rain. He is not afraid- the tight grip of fear which comes over men is absent from his light, wispy essence. The horse carries him on, over the badlands which stretch on and on, inspiring eternity to turn on itself, looking for more places to bloom. Hoof beats match the thump of his blood. They move on, one entity between fire and water, dancing between earth and sky