Almanac Poetry: Boot Hill


Texas cowboy by Stanley L. Wood. [Wikimedia Commons.]


Boot Hill

Dad’s father was a reader.
He kept an extensive library
— in his overnight bag, suitcase, car —
of cheap paperback westerns
with titles like Shootout at Dead Man’s Gulch.
He’d read them in his hotel room
or sitting, munching sandwiches,
parked by the side of the highway.
(He worked as a travelling linesman
for the State Electricity Corporation.)
These books had enormous print.
A typical Page 1:
Tex went down
Page 2
to the corral.
Page 3
‘All right, Tex,’ said Joe,
Page 4
‘You’re a dead
Page 5
Then Chapter 2…


I remember the faded colour pictures
on the covers of my grandfather’s books:
moustachioed gunslingers ready to draw,
brumbies plunging through a ravine,
an outlaw and a painted lady
flirting in a saloon.
Such images served him, well enough,
as metaphors for life.




Read more from Kevin Densley HERE


Kevin Densley’s latest poetry collection, Please Feed the Macaws…I’m Feeling Too Indolent, is available HERE


Read more Almanac Poetry HERE



If you would like to receive the Almanac Music and Poetry newsletter we will add you to the list. Please email us: [email protected]




To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?

And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – click HERE.



Kevin Densley is a graduate of both Deakin University and The University of Melbourne. He has taught writing and literature in numerous Victorian universities and TAFES. He is a poet and writer-in-general. His fifth book-length poetry collection, Please Feed the Macaws ... I'm Feeling Too Indolent, was published in late 2023 by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Other writing includes screenplays for educational films.


  1. DBalassone says

    Splendid KD. Reminded me a bit of great film I recently watched called “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, where each of the Wild West stories are preceded by an open book & a picture appropriate to the story in question, similar to some of the pictures you have described here.

  2. Kevin Densley says

    Many thanks for your comments, DB. Glad you appreciated what I was attempting to do here.

Leave a Comment