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They had armchairs fat as hot tubs,

staircase tall as a waterfall,

but what I waited for was

Little Joe,


even smaller

next to head-scratching Hoss,

holsters chafing as they swung

into saddles,

Pa on the front porch

stern as Poseidon,

his three grown boys sailing

the prickly prairie.


That club was Men Only

and their ancient creed stood firm—

Guide the ladies’ puffy descent

from carriages,

but clutch your bachelorhood

close as cash.


Kid without clout,

zealous as a runaway,

I craved entrance to that fort

and that army of brothers,

Little Joe

their weakest link,


a man known to wink

as bonnets bobbed;

part eunuch,

part heartthrob,

a virgin’s ticket West.

Rabbit Ears: TV Poems

and Bonanza

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