Jesse James Takes the Gun

20131229-091451.jpgMy last two posts focused on writing. One focused on a skill I believe all writers should attempt to develop, the ability to discover details and flavor fiction/poetry with those details, and the other discussed a philosophical way to consider one’s own writing. (Please, if you haven’t read them, take a look and tell me what you think.) The poem presented below is written with both of my previous posts in mind.

Here I share a recent effort. It’s a part of my developing manuscript Breath if a Demon: the Untold Story of the Outlaw Jesse James. In the piece Jesse James takes hs first steps in proving his loyalty to the Confederacy, his hatred of all things Union, and his ability to kill. There are provided links to historical references should you want to explore them. The poem is unrevised. What details/comparisons stand out? In my opinion, the poem hangs on two. Additionally, when considering my last post, I’m happy to add this poem, this ornament, to the Tree of Expression.

Let me know what you think. Thanks!


Soon after morning chased us awake,
Quantrill had us mount up and ride till we was
just a mile or so from a little house settin’ in a valley

still as a box. He said the fella’ livin’ in that shack
was an Abe lovin’, Confederate hatin’, son-of-a-bitch
abolitionist. Fact is, said Quantrill, the Yankee breathin’

in that house killed himself a litter of Southern boys
and we was there to even the scales. He pulled out a pistol,
stuck it out in front of Frank, Jess, and me and asked

who’s gonna prove their love for God and country?
Jesse grabbed that gun and headed down that valley
like spit toward a spittoon. Gave me the shivers.


13 thoughts on “Jesse James Takes the Gun

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  12. Chuck Rabas

    Frank was with Quantrill for about a year before Jesse took up arms. Jesse was with Wm. T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson from the spring of 1864 until Anderson’s death in Oct., 1864, after which he joined Quantrill.


    1. I know. In this story, in this part of the story rather, Jesse is using a false name, Silas, while he’s with Quantrill (Frank’s idea), hence the title of the book,The Untold Story of the Outlaw Jesse James.


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