"The Ballad of Holy Joe"
by Horace P. Sternwall
edited by Dan Leo*
illustrations by danny delacroix and eddie el greco
Holy Joe came into town
with just a bible and a sixgun.
He preached the word to all and one,
heathen, Jew, and Christian,
and if the people heeded the word
he let them live, but if they didn’t, well,
he let them have a bullet in the heart
to send them on their way to Hell.
No, Joe didn’t give a good goddam
for their excuses or rationalizations;
he just cocked the hammer on that .45,
and pulled the trigger, and then,
ignoring the womenfolks’ lamentations,
went to the saloon and had lunch.
But then one day he came on the gang
of bandits known as the Wild Bunch.
He preached them the word,
out in their hide-out in the canyon
called Robbers Roost. And when they laughed
at the word he pulled his famous .45,
and he was fast, but not fast enough;
fourteen bullets tore into the flesh of Holy Joe,
and just like that he was not alive.
Whether he went to Heaven or Hell I do not know.
But that was the end, the brutal sudden end,
of the man they called Holy Joe...
(Click here for the entire rip-snorting chapter.)