Ode to Johnny Sunset

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He was six foot four, and mean and trim
He had a scar which traveled eye to chin
Carrot hair with eyes blue ice
But the ladies thought him mighty nice
All aflutter, they’d gather round
And welcome Johnny Sunset
When he came to town.

Yeah, they’d all simper in their pretty gowns
When Johnny Sunset came to town.

He was a righteous man, pure of heart
Hired to finish what evil men start
He’d practice quick draws right at sunset
At dawn he’d shoot, gaining him the epithet
Of Killer Angel of Tumbledown
That was Johnny Sunset’s name
And he wore it like a crown.

Yeah, Killer Angel of Tumbledown
Johnny Sunset’s old hometown.

He was sure and brave when he came to Boulder
Feared no man, nor looked over his shoulder
The Dry Gulch Boys were nothing but trouble
Johnny swore those boys would die in the rubble
If they continued their mischief and didn’t back down
They best listen to Johnny
And quickly leave town.

Yeah, them boys better heed
Johnny Sunset and get out of town.

Johnny had a passion for his odd-looking weapon
A Colt-45 whose fame ever beckoned
To men mad enough to try to take on
The man some folk called Saint John
And when the Dry Gulch Boys decided to try
With thunder in his voice, Johnny cried
‘Don’t even try, boys,
Or you will die!’

Yeah, with thunder in his voice,
Johnny Sunset cried ‘Remember that you will die!’

But them good old boys, they wouldn’t listen
There was no reasoning with ‘em, they had it in their vision
To ambush Johnny at the break of dawn
When he walked the streets and whereupon
They’d rein shots of lead
Through that russet-colored head
And watch him bleed until he was dead.

Yeah, they’d watch him bleed until he was dead
Poor Johnny Sunset, shot in the head.

Came the next morning, tall and proud
Johnny walked the street, his head unbowed
It would take more than two outlaws to plough him down
He was the Killer Angel of Tumbledown
And better men than the Dry Gulch Boys
Had tried to kill Johnny
And with greater poise

Yeah, they’d tried to kill Johnny
But in the end, it was always just noise.

He knew them two boys was hiding in a tower
He didn’t blink but suggested in lieu of flowers
Their women folk get on their knees to pray
For them bad boys was nearing Judgment Day
‘Twas Glory Land where they was bound
So said Johnny Sunset, as he hunkered down.

Yeah, behind a rock,
Johnny Sunset hunkered down.

With lightning speed, Johnny pulled his gun
He fired two shots and it was done
Just two quick shots was all it took
Time for a preacher and a hymnbook
And Johnny Sunset, Killer Angel of Tumbledown,
Slowly stood up.
It was time to leave town.

Yeah, he slowly stood up, and looked around.
His job was done. It was time to leave town.

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Word Count: 503
Author’s Note: Well, this has to be my silliest experiment yet! Admittedly, I’m not a poet, but when I saw the prompts this week by ThainInVain and BeKindRewrite, I kept hearing Johnny Cash’s voice in my head – and this is what I came up with.  Be gentle with me, good people.  🙂

Okay, ThainInVain challenged us to write a flash fiction based on the prompt, ‘Remember that you will die.’

BeKindRewrite challenged us to craft a story utilizing certain words. The words I chose were: sunset at dawn; in lieu of flowers; and odd-looking weapon.

Both challenges can be found here: ThainInVain and BeKindRewrite. Check them out – and be part of the challenge!

Photo credit for second photo: generational justice.

About Kate Loveton

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I'm a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are 'Once upon a time... ' Won't you join me on my journey as I attempt to turn a hobby into something more?
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39 Responses to Ode to Johnny Sunset

  1. JunkChuck says:

    Silly–if you say so, but writing should be fun. I got the Cash voice right away. I was thinking “Don’t take your guns to town” halfway through the second stanza. Nicely done.

  2. Reblogged this on Trials of a wanna-be-published writer and commented:
    Kate Loveton proves that there simply is no end to her talents as a writer. Check this great piece out!

  3. Lucy says:

    Good old Johnny Sunset. Wherever did you find him? She’s a poet!!!! I enjoyed it. Lucy

  4. Cathy says:

    Brilliant! And good fun 🙂

  5. willow1945 says:

    I think Johnny Cash would have been very pleased to sing this song! Very well written and structured. Now just hum us a few bars!

  6. Pingback: Flash Fiction Challenge – Week 36 Submissions | Thain in Vain

  7. Oh, Kate, your humor and talent never ceases to amaze. You’re right up there with the pantheon of poets now!

  8. Paul S says:

    I’m sure Johnny Cash would have been proud to record “Ode to Johnny Sunset”.
    It’s a brilliant piece.

  9. You are certainly braver than I am, Kate; not only poetry, but poetry that rhymes. Very nicely done.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi Keith, I figure my blog is sort of a writing laboratory so I like to play around with the prompts and see what I can come up with. I read aloud to my husband everything I write and he is very supportive, but he keeps saying to me, ‘You have to find a genre and stick with it!’ He’s right, of course, but for now I’m just playing and having fun. 🙂

      • I read everything to my wife, too. It’s never an unbiased opinion (although she does point out inconsistencies, repetitions etc.) but it is an opinion I value.
        As to genre/voice/style, I wasted an hour yesterday on I Write Like (http://iwl.me/), and put into it each of my shorts, and each chapter of The Orphans; 42 pieces in all. It seems I write like 20 different authors from Dan Brown (11/42) and Mario Puzo (5/42) to William Shakespeare and P G Wodehouse (both 1/42).
        Consistent genre? Consistent voice? Maybe one day; not yet, though.

  10. Love it. Johnny Cash has to come back and record this. I could hear the guitar!

  11. You certainly channeled Johnny Cash in the piece! Also, great work! So well done! A great story unfolding in poetry form is always a pleasure! A truly creative, unique take on the prompt! Outstanding, Kate! TiV

  12. “Killer Angel of Tumbledown” and the “Dry Gulch Boys” i’m back in that old cinema of my childhood but those nights in front of the big screen weren’t really as witty or clever as this. Kate, you’re too modest, this is great fun and it’s very well written. i love it!
    Best wishes
    john

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Hi John. I was drying to come up with cliched names that might put over the fun elements and point of the ‘ode,’ which was a sentimental look at old Westerns as well as a take-off on the sort of song Johnny Cash might have sung. Thanks for the kind words, my friend! 🙂

  13. W. K. Tucker says:

    A little poetry…nice. 😃

  14. I love the rhythm of this piece, it certainly fits the mood of the setting! Is there anything that you’re not fabulous at?! ❤

  15. gpeynon says:

    I thought that was great, and I admire your willingness (and motivation) to try something new and fresh.

    • Kate Loveton says:

      Aw, thank you. I like to try different things (and different genres). I have NO aspirations to be a poet or any talent in that area, but I do like to try something tongue-in-cheek, and that’s what this was. It was just plain fun. 😀

  16. sknicholls says:

    It does read like a Johnny cash song, or a western ballad. Very well done.

  17. I have to smile. I did indeed think Johnny Cash because of the rhythm. Not silly at all, darn good in my book. I enjoyed it. Couldn’t stop grinning as the story unfolded. ❤

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