by Marty Robbins
Out in the West Texas
town of El Paso
I fell in love
with a Mexican girl.
Nighttime would find me
in Rose's Cantina,
Music would play and
Felina would whirl.
Blacker than night
were the eyes of Felina,
Wicked and evil
while casting a spell.
My love was strong
for this Mexican maiden,
I was in love,
but in vain I could tell.
One night a wild
young cowboy came in,
Wild as the West Texas wind...
Dashing and daring,
a drink he was sharing,
With wicked Felina,
the girl that I love.
So in an - ger
I challenged his right
for the love of this maiden;
Down went his hand
for the gun that he wore.
My challenge was answered,
in less than a heartbeat
The handsome young stranger
lay dead on the floor.
Just for a moment
I stood there in silence,
Shocked by the foul
evil deed I had done.
Many thoughts ran through
my mind as I stood there;
I had but one chance
and that was to run.
Out through the back door
of Rose's I ran,
Out where the horses were tied...
I caught a good one;
he looked like he could run,
Up on his back
and away I did ride.
Just as fast as
I could from the West Texas
town of El Paso,
Out thru the badlands
of New Mexico.
Back in El Paso
my life would be worthless;
in life nothing is left.
But it's been so long since
I've seen the young maiden,
My love is stronger
than my fear of death.
I saddled up
and away I did go,
Riding alone in the dark...
a bullet may find me,
Tonight nothing's worse
than this pain in my heart.
And as last here
I am on the hill
overlooking El Paso,
I can see Rose's
My love is strong
and it pushes me onward,
Down off the hill
to Felina I go.
Off to my right I see
five mounted cowboys,
Off to my left
ride a dozen or more.
Shouting and shooting;
I can't let them catch me,
I've got to make it
to Rose's back door.
Something is dreadfully wrong
for I feel
A deep burning
pain in my side...
It's getting harder
to stay in the saddle.
I'm getting weary,
unable to ride.
But my love for
Felina is strong
and I rise where I've fallen;
Though I am weary,
I can't stop to rest.
I see the white puff
of smoke from the rifle,
I feel the bullet
go deep in my chest.
From out of nowhere,
Felina has found me,
Kissing my cheek
as she kneels by my side.
Cradled by two loving arms
that I'll die for,
One little kiss
and Felina goodbye.
Horse Thief Karma
About the Horse
There's a cowboy song called "El Paso", where you got your love-sick regular fellow,
and your black-eyed liquid-proud-lipped ravenous tavern girl. Then along comes in one night
a wild, wild, hard-cocked cowboy from out the range. And he's lovin up the lovely tavern
mistress, when old Mr. Lovesick up and makes a challenge. Wild Cowboy reaches for his
six-shooter, and Lovesick reaches too, and it's only Lovesick left standing. There's hell
to pay, of course. If only because Lovesick was not slated to be the main hero. Not
to mention Mr. Whiteboy Lovesick's version of justice just left him with stomping rights over
the Mexican Beauty Queen, and there is no tolerating that.
So Lovesick jack-boots it out the door, and finds the fittest-looking horse on the picket
line, and he hard-rides it into the night, with the Mexican Retribution Posse on his tail.
Lovesick rides a good ride, and he's home free. As home free as you can
get when you're leaving your whiskey and your good gal all back in the warm lights of the
tavern, and it's you and the shit-hard cold this time-a-year desert and an empty canteen on
the lamb. Home free, reined up at the top of a lonesome hill, dark night and easy moonlight
spilling all over the place. Lovesick looks around. Lovesick starts to
thinking. Lovesick decides, looking down on the town of El Paso, that he ought to go back
for the lady. And he turns his horse around.
He turns his horse around, and he hard-rides it back down into dust, firmly set mustachios,
bullets, broken dreams, and unrequited everything. One bullet in the stomach. Makes
you thirsty. Another in the chest. Hard to breathe, impossible to stay in the
saddle. Holes for the blood to come out easy. And Fiona, the black-eyed lady
whose disdain and sex appeal caused, in one sense, the whole fiasco, she kisses Mr.
Lovesick once on the lips, and then he dies.
What I am wondering about is the horse. There is no doubt in my mind that
the good horse that made good Lovesick's escape is the self-same horse that brought
in the Wild Cowboy now dead on the floor, skooched off to the edge of the porch for
safe-keeping until the lead bell of sobriety rings tomorrow's late morning home. It
is the cowboy's horse. What better-fit horse could there be than the steed of the very
Ghost of Christmas Wild West? There is always, on the horizon, in the next and more mythical
herd of cattle, a guy tougher, wilder, better lassooed, longer-spurred, more leathery and steelier
of eye. And he can, in these tavern situations, be expected at any moment to strut
right in and take your woman. That's how it works in the West. And it's only
your six-gun smokeless 44, it's only the equalizer of all right and wrong that protects a
fellow from the Sunset riding off with his manhood.
It is good, as a warning, to crack off a few rounds into the sunset, now and then,
to let All Comers know that you and yours will not, thank you very much, go gently into that good
night. If the grim reaper is knocking, he best be prepared to eat some Winchester slugs
before he snicker-snacks his sickle blade.
But about the horse. A horse has more testosterone in one wide nostril than a
whole whiskey-barrel full of drunkenness and tavern high-spirit. Even bad men, at
their most sotten drunk and low-down failure to exercise self-restraint, even the ugly
ones, with eye patches and hell-may-care sombreros, are not so full of man-power as
a horse. A sexy, evil, black-eyed tantalizer bar mistress can give you wet dreams
and unrequited all-get-out. But it's the horse makes your ass sore.
Even the slowest of townsfolk should realize that when the Spirit of Wild West
Machismo saunters in, and even if you shoot him dead with your six-chambered
wherewithal, even the most inobservant fellow who does not notice the Crow Caw Twice,
well he's gonna realize that it's a flat-out bad idea to run back outside and jump
on the dead cowboy's horse. It will be noted that shooting your six-gun at
the setting sun is a defiance, but does not palpably change the desert
You ought not push fate, even when armed with extra bullets and a very, very
shiny revolver. That horse is going to carry you away to your
death. Pure and simple. The Wild West will only put up with so
much before she claims her victims.
Mr. Lovesick realized something, that night, just about the time he gave
Marshall Mestizo's posse the slip. He realized there was nowhere to
go. The Wild West was waiting. And the Cowboy's Horse was not
winded. Not lame, not frothing, not nickering in apprehension. The
Cowboy's Horse knew the trail, was ready to go.
Sure. You might think that a good well-cajoned and grizzled fellow could
Geronimo his way somewhere. There's roots and berries, and bison by the bucket,
and following downstream inevitably leads one to Good Fortune. But you
cannot. You cannot expect to survive in the Wild West when you have stolen
a Cowboy's Horse. That horse knows. She will carry you to the very Maw
of Hell. The Wild West is a hungry Wild West.
We all know that cattle rustlers are no good. They make fantastic villains. They
are plenty wily, gritty, bristly, dangerous. Plenty fun to shoot. But a
cattle rustler is a natural part of the economy. The other one, you hang. The
other one you shoot on sight, preferably with no witnesses and your third-best
rifle: the horse thief.
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