Randolph Scott was twice my height
when a child’s ticket cost 20 cents
and a bag of popcorn was a dime.
The Movietone newsreel was first
(propaganda about a war somewhere),
then the A feature (often women’s fare
with twin beds, kissing and tears),
and a Looney Tunes or Disney cartoon.
Last came the B picture, usually
a western to satisfy a man’s thirst
for action, or lust for adventure.
I rode on cattle drives from Texas
to the railhead somewhere north,
chewed popcorn from the chuck wagon
while a campfire flickered nearby,
or worried through gunfights when
the white hat’s six-gun never ran out
and black hats’ shots always missed.
A pretty woman might be in peril
from wild Indians or Mexican rustlers.
A blood feud about a dead brother
might motivate the plot. Through it all,
Randolph Scott stood lean and tall.
And still grown men re-enact frontier
heroics in Stetson hats and boots
with high heels and pointed toes,
carry guns, and vote Republican.