acid-atomic western; the cowboy and indian no longer play cowboy-and-indian and instead wait patiently for nuclear devastation in the newly industrialized wild (?) west while swapping various hallucinogens in the balmy scorch of the now-tamed desert in order to reimagine the forgotten majesty of jagged mountains, free-brawling saloons, and the pure gaze of pale moonlight, all lost ruins amongst the blank spaces of identical Nuketowns that have popped up almost overnight; a real nuclear family and every father a scientist. the endgame— 

Johnny Marlboro and Chief Little Horse bear the bleak gaze of bleeding sunset on their sweating backs as they journey north to set up camp, both similarly uprooted from their own settlements in the sleepless wake of scientific progress. As they approach the crumbling lip of a cliff in a fading mauve tint they spot the electric hum, light and shudder of a desert dome proper, teeming with a totalitarian safety and convenience. There’s little uncolonized land for the both of them in such hardwired lands, and as that simmering circle of fire sinks back into the soft earth they realize that it’s of little use anymore. 

Little Horse remembers the culture of his tribe, their traditions, and maybe he’s the only one who will; assimilation has already started and numerous reservations have been ceded to faceless laboratories and facilities who are eager to sear burning craters into sacred soil with their unforgiving barrage of experiments. radiation seeps through the veins of the earth ever so gently, smoothly, efficiently

“Lost…lost…it’s all lost…” he whispers like an incantation and he can barely hold back tears that spark like a revolver’s combustion. Little Horse lets a cascade of manly sadness wet the red dust of what’s left of the virginal earth; Johnny follows with streams carrying the glint of sun off of an arrowhead, and under a blanket of starlessness the two men embrace as the city glows passively and silently, indifferent to all around it. 

Little Horse regains composure and seats himself cross-legged while bringing out a small bag with a peculiar scent. Johnny Marlboro brings his knees to his chest and takes off his hat reverently, inhaling that wondrously intoxicating smell. “Mushroom gathering was always a specialty of my tribe,” the Native American smiles slightly, and offers his small treasure to the European American. the two friends, bound by the blood spilt of nature’s slow death, gaze at the nothingness of a tabula rasa sky, trying to divine some god or another in the inky blue stir and patiently waiting for anyone who would like to come down, and restore it all back to the usual game of cowboys-and-indians.

— Noah Rymer is a Virginian poet and writer trying to be a conduit for the high strangeness that surrounds us. Currently he is the Editor-In-Chief for Pere Ube, trying to chase out The Ghosts of Modernity Past from his collection of hobby-horses.

Posted in