The old man would sit and tell us how the soldiers on horses would ride by when he was younger.
He talked about the creak of oiled leather harness and the shine of burnished metal, the snorting stamping prideful horses, the smell of sweat and dust and dung.
(more) He would talk about the cavalrymen, raw easy going killers, at home in the saddle, hung about with pistols and sabres, carbines and shotguns stuffed under their bedrolls or in leather buckets hanging at an easy reach.
When the horse soldiers came to town, people kept their eyes down and went about their business.
People who lived in towns needed no trouble from soldiers.
People in towns paid their taxes and did their business, and some sold booze and favours when the horse soldiers halted under the shade of the trees in the market square.
The old man told us he would sit on the edge of the boardwalk that framed the square, down among the dust and the weeds and the scorpions, the trash, the acrid stink of human urine.
When the soldiers walked by with their deliberate hiprolling swagger, their booted heels would echo on the boards and their spurs would jingle, the hanging sabres flashing in the light.
Some days, the pistols would smell of gunpowder.
On those days, the soldiers would buy bottles of beer and take it in turns cleaning their weapons in the square.(less)
They called him the jingle man,
Though not why some might think,
For his pockets did not sound of coins
and he wore no bells on his heels.
He spoke in a monotone,
never wavering in pitch.
I wonder of his thoughts,
Can almost feel their wild frenzy,
raging against his voice,
They come out in a jingle jangle language of hatred
Aimed at us all.
Because we are petty and crude,
Full of spite and hypocrisy,
Slaves to our ID's,
Murder in our hearts and on our lips,
We are the embodiment of Evil,
if there can be such a thing.
A cancer, a malignant growth,
eating ourselves alive.
He was right of course, was right to hate us,
was right to hate himself.
Face down in a gutter,
Wasted on spirits and life,
there was only one way to repose left him
and he took it on that cold Baltimore night.