Frank and Jesse James: Pullin’ Triggers

Here’s the latest poem from my developing manuscript, Breath of a Devil: The Untold Story of the Outlaw Jesse James. It speaks to Frank James’, Jesse’s brother, home-coming after his involvement in America’s Civil War; it’s a homecoming that could have happened. Comments are always welcome. Thanks all.

Frank James


Jesse’s brother went off to war in June of ‘61.
Came back for good  ‘bout a year later.
Sure enough, he gathered some scars and sights
while he was gone. He shook Jesse’s hand. His hand

seemed cold and brittle as a tree branch. No love in it.
Silas, he said to me, you’re still as ugly as I remember.
Still just as stupid? I wasn’t sure if I was smarter
so I kept my lips locked. Jesse said that’s what made me smart.

Anyways, Frank told us his stories; he told us
about gunsmoke choking an empty patch of air
so quick breath became a man’s greatest treasure.
He talked about men screamin’ like children, runnin’

from death fast as their legs, their minds could take ‘em.
Cause Frank said death rides more than just cannon balls
and bullets. It hovers in the air just like that smoke,
but ya can’t see it or smell it; still, it’s there

and it wants ya like a wolf wants its meat.
So ya gotta always run, run with your legs
and run with your mind cause there’s lots
of ways death can get ya. That’s what Frank said,

but `tween you and me, I didn’t believe one stitch
of his stories. Neither did Jesse. Found out later,
Frank done stub his toe or somethin’. Didn’t see killin’
like a soldier should see killin’, but he made up for that

soon enough. Blood followed him and Jesse all over
and they was about to start pullin’ triggers.


5 thoughts on “Frank and Jesse James: Pullin’ Triggers

  1. Pingback: S. Thomas Summers | In the Garden with Jesse James

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  4. Pingback: S. Thomas Summers | Quantrill’s Raiders

  5. Pingback: S. Thomas Summers | Meeting the Outlaw Jesse James

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