By Corbin Louis
Read by Dagogo Hart

When I got here there was dust in my eyes
Still tired from riding westward on nights
    that burn to ghost towns

To create something
is to cut a piece of yourself
for the world to hate

I saddle my poems and ride
and I promised, to never turn back
on the ten gallon shadows of my past

There is enough dust in my footprints
to cover the city and back

I don’t look back when I write poems
like a ten step draw on high noon-
let a word turn and shoot

Welcome to the trough of my book
where stanzas hang their horse necks
on a desert

My paragraphs broken like saloon doors
from a snakeskin boot

Any traveler knows second-guessing is death
so saddle your story and ride

Holy riders of the west and writers of heaven
the ones that bind books and shoot
            revolvers of ink to speak of time

There is something permanent about ink settling
like a stampede of the sun and God’s watching
Even the warden knows our names by now

And the world like vultures for the poems of men
picking their hearts in harmony of tombs

No I don’t look back when I write
because the sun sets before death
and poetry is outlawed by morning
I saddle stitch my desert to the next town and ride
and I write for the reward on my head like
piles of gold for the banks I’ve robbed which are
            hearts gone wild

You know my story is traveler dust
and the story of poets and outlaws

Our books carrying sunrise on hooves and die thirsty
There is nothing permanent about our saddles and ink
            but they move like horses

And every metaphor for silver
is burned in the morgue of tomorrow
I keep riding to get there
Sunkissed lips on the frontier of night

I’m born this way

Made to be a bandit shooting
piano keys from the rust of my skin
Stealing poems and tongues to sell

Scriptures of the night
that broke my hands to epitaphs
and the gallows of my sin
still pale from spit I won’t swallow

You know I’ve broke before

Only to realize all that’s left is acceptance
So tell me the paperback ghost story of your mother

I’m more than open to die tonight
On this book of sunrise
Our horses riding to the last town of God
Silver bullets in our teeth and fury of wind

Stitch your story and ride like hell
be the wind and ride for a cause

Write this down

Die in a book and phoenix your way into another heart
—I’ve done this before
Die for a poem and be reborn an outlaw
I know the story already

It was written by the boots of God
draped in dirt and filling my eyes with dust


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

"Saddle" written by Corbin Louis.