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American Dream Cowboy


Movie goers held their breath in dark velvet lined theatres embracing 

lazy drawls, dreamy soundtracks lulling each dreamer into believing

the old hero’s tale of the stranger riding in as a lyrical rawhide cowboy.


Silver screen’s tendered hero revealed no poverty, no outsider angst,

instead, he was tall, painted sexy with soft lighting, perfect camera angle, 

scenes were spliced to capture the seductive fable of the american dream 

open roads and a magical appearance at the crucial moment of a handsome 

stranger who knew best and saved them from every evil Cuz it was right, ma’am.


We are full of candy wrapper romance, happy endings, homes 

with perfect lawns and happy children off to school in new shoes

all under the protective watch of that big screen’s mysterious hero.

There are no hints of his pillage of self behind a strong jawline 

or ugly scars peeking out from under his perfectly casual wardrobe,

no backdrop scene of him panning the river of anguish from hunger 

no withdrawal tremors from costly medicines, missing

or cracked fingers as they search for one more buck in empty pockets.


How we believe the myth, forgetting that many a cowpoke is now living 

in small rooms alone at eighty with money running out, 

fame a small dull image in the smoke of fading memories. 

His real name has been forgotten in the new version 

of hollywood romantic heroes, dreams where rawhide cowboys 

are suspicious old bums sitting on park benches looking into the sunset.


Sharon Lopez Mooney, “Morning Mystery”, From Roundtable Literary Journal, Issue  55, ed. Caitlin Chester and Elizabeth Burton, Hopkinsville, KY, 2021

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