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Updated on May 16, 2012

By: Wayne Brown

The wide Main Street is quiet; but it won’t be very soon

The old courthouse steeple clock slowly ticks toward noon

Trouble is quickly a-brewin’ and soon two men will meet

Word is there’s a shootout, right here on the Main Street

The law of the west; face off and draw to settle the spat

The winner walks away whether a good guy or a rat

Long as the fight is done by the unwritten rules of the west

Winners ain’t always the faster but the one who shoots best

The hands on that old courthouse clock point to high noon

A man at each end of the street; walking toward the other soon

They’ll walk to a distance that separates them by only forty paces

Then they’ll stand their ground and stare into each other’s faces

At some unknown moment, one of them will soon make his move

He’ll go for his gun; the other will respond; the moves being smooth

Guns will fire in rapid succession; whiffs of smoke; gunpowder burn

For a short moment the crowd stands silent as their hearts churn

One man gets a look on his face and the hot lead burns in the gut

A confused look; slightly desperate; life fades, his eyes shut

Then quickly he will crumble dead by the time he hits the ground

The other man will holster his gun, mount and ride out of town

Young boys witness it all and can’t wait to strap on a gun

For them, a life is not lost; it is all about adventure and fun

They long to be known as the fastest gun in the west

Dreaming of facing another man; being put to the test

The crowds hide in nooks and crannies watching for the defeat

They never tire of the blood and danger; the meetings in the street

And so once more two men will fight and blood will freely spill

One man will ride out to fight again; the other goes to boot hill

When the fighting is done the crowds moves randomly about

The street returns to normal showing little signs of the shoot out

There on the street remains a sign for boys to look at in dread

The spot where a life faded away as he lay in the street and bled

©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.

29 April 2012


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    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Vincent Moore...I am on a western subject matter roll...LOL! Soon I will be writing about the hot end of the brand iron for there is little left that comes to mind. The gunfights were exciting elements that capture our attention and hold it on the old western lore. Hopefully, we will always know that history through the generations. Thanks much. WB

    • profile image

      Vincent Moore 

      6 years ago

      Nothing better than a great gun slinging face off and who none better to tell it than Mr Wayne Brown, you are a captor of our attention with every word. I felt I was there, heck maybe I was in one of my earlier lives. Well done Wayne, as always you know how to churn those words into wonderful verse. Voted Up, and all buttons pressed except funny, I don't want to get shot just yet.:-))

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Dim Flaxenwick...So glad you enjoyed it so much. I had much the same influences and I suppose they are lifelong imprints. Cash is one my icons in life as well so it all adds up. Thanks much! WB

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      6 years ago from Great Britain

      That was awesome ! I grew up waching the old wild west films but in reality it must have been pretty tough life.

      Great poetry and no one better than Johnny Cash to finish it off.

      Thanks for a wonerful read again.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Hypenbird...I am not a proponent of violence either but I think it is important that we try to capture the flavor of those bygone days and that is what I try to do with the poetry. That is about one of the finest compliments that I have ever received. You humble but I do appreciate it. WB

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I have always wondered why people are so drawn to violence and death. I do not understand the fascination. In any regard, you write so well that I feel every emotion and pain these imaginary men suffered. You are just a fine, fine writer.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @breakfastpop...That would be a quandry! LOL! Of course, neither would have the guts to show up...both are backshooters. WB

      @The Frog Prince...Amen...lots of dead fast gunhands on boot hill. Thanks, Jim. WB

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Nothing like a good gun fight, or fire fight for that matter. It definitely isn't in the quickness but in the accuracy of the shot.

      Good work.

      The Frog

    • breakfastpop profile image


      6 years ago

      Wonderful as always. I'd like to see a shoot-out between Pelosi and Reid. I wouldn't care who won! Up and awesome.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Vellur...Glad to conjure those images for you. Thanks much. WB

      @Gypsy Rose Lee...I am sure a few of them were shot in those days as well. Thanks for the good words! WB

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. I got scared. Man that was good. Boy that gun fight was so exciting. Poor dude who died though. However you know it reminded me that streets in big cities like I come from New York City - are like Main Streets ever day and in this case the sad part is that even the innocent bystanders get shot. Therefore it was better in the Old West.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Wild scene - a shootout, reading your poem I felt I was there living those moments. Wonderful write. Enjoyed reading. Voted up, awesome.

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @RedElf...Thank you so very much. I am honored with your commentary. WB

      @binnyoinam...Thank you! I am so glad to be able to create that effect for you. WB

    • binnyoinam profile image


      6 years ago from Imphal

      Hey Wayne, you write awesome! You literally dragged me to the scene of the gun fight. Great poem.

    • RedElf profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      From a devotee of Marty Robbins' "Gunfighter Ballads" - well done, Old Hoss!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @Skarlet...Thank you! It was a simple test of courage, will, and confidence. WB

      @drbj...You are so welcome...thanks for the great comment. WB

      @writer20..Thank you, Joyce! WB

      @Pamela99...Thanks much, Pam. It was a fun subject to write about. WB

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Reading this poem was like watching a good western. Voted up and awesome.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Great poem, loved it. Voted up and awesome, Joyce.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      I felt as if I was watching 'High Noon' again, Wayne, with Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly while reading your so realistic poetry. Thanks for the deja vu.

    • Skarlet profile image


      6 years ago from California

      This is fabulous!

      @fpherj48- You are so right. I guess that is part of what makes it all so mysterious and appealing. Voted up!

    • Wayne Brown profile imageAUTHOR

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      @fpherj48...Amen to that, maam! Thanks much! WB

      @Becky Katz...Thank you, I really appreciate the comment. WB

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      You narrative Cowboy poetry is awesome.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Wayne......The difference in the Main Street of yesteryear and our world of today is......Back then men faced each other and fought fair & square.

      Gotta get back to the Long Branch......Peace, Miss Kitty


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