VE (9-20-1961 / Cape Girardeau)

The Outlaw

The first time I met the Outlaw,
He was wickedly clever-he said,

“We’ve been waiting to see you for years-
Today is my buddy‘s 21st birthday,
Might I please buy you a beer? ”

They both seemed so familiar,
So dear to my heart.
Companions forever-
That nothing could part.

His clothes and demeanor
Seemed quite out of place
For the Time of the world
Or the season, or space:

He was dressed like an Outlaw
From his boots to his hat,
His fashion statement-
Dangerous and ready for combat.

But his eyes- how they sparkled!
Like a balmy summer’s day,
His smile lit the stratosphere,
My knees turned to clay.

As time ticked its tocks
Through the following seasons
I fell in love with them both
For vastly different reasons.

The Outlaw’s Buddy was a Saint-
Or an Angel sent from heav’n above;
He won my heart and soothed my soul,
Abnd he became my own True Love.

The Outlaw had defenses
Impenetrable to fathom,
Yet it was always He and Him and Me-
Worth a mighty ransom.

We’d greet the day with Coffee,
A joint, a prayer and beer
Then claim the corpses of lifeless trees,
To cut and split and stack with cheer.

We’d smoke and joke and load that wood
Into my lover’s truck.
We delivered every cord with love
And hardly made a buck;
(I never held a corporate job
That made me feel so Good.)

But then my love of loves took ill-
Grew paler by the day
Until he faded out of life
Which left my world quite cold and grey.

This left the Outlaw and myself-
A two-wheeled tricycle-
Angry at life and death and God;
So cruel and so fickle.

We drank and smoked
Banged heads and cried
We held each other up and tried,
Still part of each of us just died.

I told him that I loved him then-
I always had and always would-
He was, quite frankly, terrified-
He thought he never could.
(But he lay with me for three whole days
While we argued if we should-
Made love with me the whole damn time.
And drowned my grief in his blue gaze
And it was Very Good.)

I knew, of course, I could not stay-
My response to loss and pain
Had always been to run away.
And everywhere we looked we saw
The absence of our comrade-
Together nor apart could we bear
That kind of mental strain.

Though time and space drifted us apart
I always had room for the Outlaw in my heart;
Alas! His pain was just too intense;
He shut his heart behind a fence
More barbed and confining than ever before,
Shut and barred and locked the door

To anyone who truly loves him
He's set himself apart
So I took my wand’ ring self away;
Attempted a fresh start.

And though I’ve nearly made it-
Healing from my grievous pain
To a point where I have chosen
To love a man again-
To commit my life to loving him
And though I can’t complain-

I still miss the Outlaw,
The Broken Knight, The Hermit-
And our old life
And just what might (but for his fear) have been attained.

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Robert Frost

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

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