October is almost here, which means summer slipped by us again, at least me. We are getting ready for new book releases from some great author, especially our Cowboy Poetry/Western section over at http://www.reddashboard.com (catalog page). I am proud to be posting some great poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from many of you out there, so keep ‘em comin’ in!

It was brought to my attention that a poet, won’t mention any names, said that cowboy poetry (and they are in fact a cowboy(girl) poet in their own right), in order to be good, possibly acceptable only in certain circles, that words have to rhyme exactly– rhyme/time, but not rhyme/sign. What does that mean? Wouldn’t we run out of words? Wouldn’t all cowboy poetry end up the same? How do you write perfect cowboy poetry?

Well I’ve read, and keep on reading as much as I can about this (I get asked often). Example is usually the best information. But the big problem with that is, it changes. Poetry has moved from proper meter and rhyme, to what they call free verse, to what can be jarring at times. We accept most forms here.

This site began as a way of allowing those like myself who write western themed pieces to be accepted, where no other journal existed. I’ll confess something here, because that is who I am, it used to irritate me to read poems where every line rhymed. There are poets out there who think that is what poetry is, every other line, or abab, aabb, and aabb ccdd stanzas end with a word that perfectly rhymes. I moved on. I realized it’s the story that matters, with some of that, and a little of other things.

Now I embrace so much more, and its made me a happier editor, a grateful reader, and other things. I love to read. I love to write. It has its healing benefits, but I won’t get into that. Back to Cowboy Poetry…

This genre started way before the West began to disappear, before it had literally been settled as we know it now, or my generation, in the nineteen-fifties through seventies– via television and other sources. Historical records show us it (cowboy poetry) was created as a song to sooth bovine and other livestock, mostly on the trail, when cattle had to be moved into the market place, dab smack in the middle of a town (hence cow-town). These long and harsh, usually unbearable weather, starry nights the cowpoke, ranch hands, and steer needed to ease their woas (fear of wolf and Native American attacks, possibly cattle rustlers).

So they sang (poems and songs are pretty close). If you know about song-writing, you know its a craft of measuring beats, and lyrics of sorts (Sonnets and other artforms of poetry started it all). To amuse themselves, cowpokes began to insert stories with a punch-line. They began to entertain each other around the campfire, on night patrol over the herds, and I assume as a competition of memory over time.

I’ve been taught songs are easy and catchy ways of remembering (by musician friends, I run open-mics), as a way of helping me recite them by memory, my poetry. Now most who lived that life, on the trail, unless you were the owner, even then they were struggling, it wasn’t an easy life–not many were educated. Education back then was a luxury, something that began to be forced upon the off-spring, as a way of calming the Wild West down. Not many knew how to spell. So….what I’m trying to say is, that words were chosen for memory and sounds. Things that rhyme just happened.

Not many wrote these things down, so it’s rare that you find a rule book of sorts from that era, on cowboy poetry and song-writing. But tradition keeps on, like it does in the western world. If you go to the well-remembered cowboy poets of the fifties (and earlier), read their work, study Baxter Black, buy a few cowboy poetry books, read the work. I do. And most improvise the rhyming. If you want to go on the radio and say, “this is how it is, or it ain’t what you think”, you can, but don’t scare our poets. I don’t want them thinking they have to re-write a whole slew of poetry to fit someones idea of perfect cowboy poetry.

I’m trying to keep this post under a million words, as I’ve learned in the writing business, yeah I’ve gotten a few checks for my work (does that make me an expert? Nope) we all have our idols, those who we study and learn from, but even they’d tell you, “I’m no expert, even with awards and such, just follow your heart, and study the craft.” And if you want to win an award, remember this (I’ve done competition as a chef, and won) it all boils down to, who’s at the judging table, it’s a matter of opinion. A matter of taste, and what they think is the right thing. That sort of bugs me, like being chosen for a poetry and fiction edition, anthology, or magazine issue, it all boils down to what someone likes at that moment. Truth. But, if not just one person (judge) is doing the choosing, then you have a better chance. Also, being a good entertainer helps as well. Anyone can be a winner, and we are all still learning. As my big cowboy used to say, Daddy, ever’bodies a winner, there are no losers.

This has got me thinking, maybe it’s about time someone wrote a book about the art of cowboy poetry, or maybe not. Where’s Baxter Black when you need ‘em? And then again, if someone did, then there will be someone out there who has a different opinion, it happens.

Keep reading. Keep writing, and keep sending us your wonderful work!

EAS

aka managing editor, Red Dashboard LLC Publishing (and all its ezines- Z-composition, Cowboy Poetry Press, and Annapurna Magazine),

a Texas poet,

and I’m adding ‘Rural Philosopher’ to my title (Baxter Black did it!)

October Issue Deadlines? November 28th, no exceptions, we will read that week, thanks!

editor@reddashboard.com

Read our submission guidelines, no poetry in the body of emails, please~

Lizabeth& Smokey 2

 

 

I landed, picked up my little sister in the outskirts of Dallas, Texas and then we headed to a small Southeastern town of Hico, Texas, well, really the hotel was in Stephenville, same relative area. Small town, that’s the key. It was The National Day of the Cowboy festival on Saturday, July 26th, and I had some meet-and-greetin’ to do!

Smokey Culver, one of CPP’s cowboy poets would be featured, along with some other great poets and musician singers of the western genre. So what it would be 103 outside and the flies as thick as molasses, lil’ Sis and I were looking for a good time!

Smokey and I did some radio time on Friday, along with Elaine Shields, the local poetry go-getter-gal, and what a great host she was! Our cowboy brought an entourage of family members, built in fan club. Everyone was so hospitable, and of course we were in Texas.

Once back on the road lil’ Sis and I head to some of our old childhood haunts to say hello to long gone family members West of Fort Worth, were our father grew up. Back in Dallas a day later I hosted a reading for Red Dashboard poets and writers. The turnout was great and it was once again awesome to meet so many of you friendly creative types who submit to the three ezines.

Things are getting back to normal for me as managing editor and all, matter of fact some great news, I will be hosting a Poetry/Writers Prompt Workshop for inner city residents in Trenton, and the first thing I plan on doing is introduce Cowboy Poetry to the group. I’m learning to appreciate it more, have been studying the form and its origins. It may not be their cup of joe, but I aim to get into it more. I should, we have had quite a few submissions of Cowboy Poetry manuscripts for publication. RedD did just pub Smokey Culvers book, A Wrap and a Hooey, available on Amazon. He and I are pretty fond and proud of the cover, so go check it out!

Keep those submissions coming in folks, we have a fall issue due out in October! Check out submission guidelines, please…

What’s New In June

July 2, 2014

Well, we got our first anthology out of the gate, Unbridled. It seems to have been a success, as we get orders on a weekly basis. And we want to thank all the contributors for their wonderful submissions!

Clark Crouch
C.B. Anderson
Tony Magistrale
Julia Klatt Singer
Debra Meyer
Al Ortolani
Alison L. Thalhammer
Nina Romano
Telly McGaha
Tyson West
Rodney Nelson
Larry Spotted Crow Mann
Ray Sharp
Nicole Yurcaba
Tom Sheehan
Lily Goderstad
Kevin Heaton
Greg T. Miraglia
Chrystal Berche
Linda M. Hasselstrom
Dawn Schout
Luke MacLean
Vera Constantineau
Chris Ridenour
John J. Brugaletta
Leroy Trussell
Andrew Jarvis
Bandon Black
Robert Krenz
Christopher Ackerman
Andy Kerr-Wilson
Geoff (Poppa Mac) Mackay
John Strickland
Courtney Leigh Jameson
Della West
Smokey Culver
Merle Grabhorn
Elaine Shea
Jack Phillip Lowe
Laura Jean Schneider
Stanley M. Noah
Henry Marchand
Robert Penven
Julia R. Barrett
Paul Piatkowski
Gary Ives
Nathaniel Towers
M.V. Montgomery
JD DeHart
Dawn Schout

Without you, we would just be an empty field of dreams…

What’s next?

There will be a 2015 issue, submissions are open Oct 2014-Feb. 28th, 2015.

And…

We are accepting submission for our fall issue of CPP, deadline is October 1st!
email: editor@reddashboard.com

Early Spa (1)

It’s miles to Miles City across this grassy flat,
And cattle by the dozens can gorge themselves to fat

A drilling firm in fifty-six came here for a go
They struck no oil, just pressurized but thermal H 2 O

The flow was such ‘twas feared, that if left to spout alone
The water well would soon enough drain old Yellowstone

They capped their geyser, and then astute’ new owners saw
A straight and forward way to build a basic spa

One night some high school students broke in and got a start
They landed in the hospital with burns on private parts

From real fear of lawsuits, then, dismantled was their dream;
Excepting this one lonely tub, there’s little left but steam. 

Larry Stanfel has a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering/Management Science from Northwestern University, held the rank, Professor, at several universities, and worked frequently as a consultant for the federal government and to private business. He has published two books – another is in review – seventy articles, mostly peer-reviewed, in periodicals, about a dozen poems, and several web pieces. Twice a winner of competitive fellowships for post-doctoral research abroad, he has presented papers around the world and been an invited speaker in a number of countries. Listed in Who’s Who in America, Dr. Stanfel presently lives with his artist wife, Jane, on a small ranch in Montana.

Painting above, ‘The Spa’ by Jane Stanfel

An artist most of her life, Jane, painting in a realistic-impressionist style, works primarily in oils and watercolors. Her paintings are found throughout the United States and Europe, including the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. She has had exhibitions across Montana which document the lives and ranches of original settlers. She also had a month-long solo show at Jadite Galleries, New York City; been part of a show in Brussels, Belgium; had a solo exhibit in Seattle, Washington, two at the .Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and two in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Her painting, Old Time Branding, was chosen as the logo for the Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering, August, 2008, and she completed a series of oil and watercolor paintings of endangered species for Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Gulf Shores, Alabama. Her painting entitled It Never Had Brakes, is featured in the book, Montana: Stories of the Land, by Krys Holmes, Montana Historical Society Press, Helena, Montana, 2008. She has conducted children’s art classes throughout Montana and is listed in Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and the Archives on Women Artists, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D. C. She and her art have been featured in magazines and newspapers across Montana, and her art has been reviewed in the New York art journal, Gallery and Studio. June/July/August 2008.

Her oil paintings have been sold in galleries throughout the United States including Kertesz International Fine Art Gallery, San Francisco, California; Wilson Adams Art Gallery, Denver, Colorado; Cody Country Art League, Cody, Wyoming; Dancing Bear Gallery, Evanston, Illinois; and JaneStanfel.com.

We are featuring ‘A Cowboy(girl) and Their Sidekick’ for our Ekphrasis Challenge, and thought we would share more of what it means to identify and uphold ones deep feelings towards an animal. Many of these animals were here before we walked the planet. They are loyal creatures and deserve to be treated as such. One of our friends out there, living the true western life gave us this great idea for our Ekphrasis and shared a bit more about his sidekick, Rad…

RadAndMerleGrabhorn

“Every rancher has a special horse, usually very smart with a personality. A good ranch horse is a rare gem. It knows how to sort and cut cattle. It knows how to be a header or heeler if roping needs to be done. Steep gullys, rocky fords, or narrow trails through brush won’t spook him. And that special horse will form a very amazing bond with its rider.

In parts of Oklahoma, the Native Americans consider Rad to be a “Medicine Horse”. In other words, he has “magic” same as a Medicine Man.

This is because he has blue eyes which is uncommon in horses. Native Americans believe that a blue eyed horse can “see” things. Since the Great Spirit lives in the blue sky, a horse with blue eyes can see him.

A blue eyed horse would belong to a great chief, a medicine man, a great warrior or great hunter in the tribe. The tribal medicine man would like at the horses markings to determine the “medicine” that the horse has. The medicine man would look at the markings sort of like looking at clouds and seeing shapes. The shape, of the markings would signify the type of magic the horse had.

A Native American medicine man has looked at Rad and this is what he found.

He has a “Buffalo” mark on the neck that can only be seen when Rad has his head down grazing. This means he can see where the buffalo graze, a very important piece of magic for a society that depending on the buffalo. On his hip, and you can see it in the picture, is the hunter/tracker marking. Turn your head sideways and you can see it.

It is a Native American on his hands and knees, looking at tracks. There is a trail behind him and a few tracks just in front of him. The Native American has an eagle feather in his hair (so the medicine man says) which signifies a heroic hunter/warrior. There are other markings that have been interpreted by the medicine man.

Rad is a horse that would belong to a great hunter/warrior that would be known for honesty, bravery, and generosity. He would successfully hunt and share the meat with the less fortunate members of the tribe; the old, the sick, the widows with young children.

The medicine man told me that since the horse “Chose” me, I should do what the horse wants. Be Brave, Honest, and Generous to the less fortunate. He said that since the horse “chose me” and has become “one with me”, I have been successful in doing so.”

-Merle Grabhorn

Tumbleweed

Photo taken by Mindy Wilson, Kentucky, USA

*************

TUMBLING WEED

by Shelby Stephenson, North Carolina, USA

				I

So this little tumble was taken . . . 
So was I.
	Weed,
wiry hair in the scuds,
reflecting
in the sun.

A thimble roll of gather
licks and bucks the shells
and white caps
pointing out
plovers.
		
				II

I am a flower of awe, 
an awesome blossom of reflections

like a pledge to sand
the ocean’s goodness.

My father’s hands fumble
when he leaves my mother

nestled in the sea:
I am planted.

				III

I’m a rider
writing all night long
my parents’ enchanting whirl.

Daylight sports 
horizon clearly connecting to the sea

in different colors, tresses,
light blue, a sail of whitish wisps,
then the dark exhaust-tinged mirage

and more sludge now in the shallows:
still no birds in sight,
just the tumbleweeds,
disengaged from their parent-roots,

to move with the wind,
breathing in and out,
the tumbleweed,
as its umbilical is free from the old
and must take on 

a god or goddess 
drifting along.  The day is done.

************

TUMBLEWEED JUSTICE

By Michael Jerry Tupa

It was the summer of ‘83,
when L’il Slow Joe, last name Dundee,
appeared on the far horizon,
with the shimmering sun just risin’
smell of pancakes and sizzling bacon
lingering in the glowing dawn.

Sheriff Green and deputy were gone,
only real law left was Doc Myron Braun
asleepin’ on his small office cot,
dreamin’ colorful dreams of naught,
while into town Dundee jockeyed,
rollin’ in like a lonely tumbleweed.

Only 5-foot-4 and red peach fuzz
no one knew, or cared, who he was,
just a boy ridin’ on a high horse,
following a lonely, uncharted course,
horse stumbling down main street,
both lookin’ for somethin’ solid to eat.

Hot breakfast cost most of a quarter,
sleepy horse was stabled by a porter,
Dundee asked about a hotel room,
crawled into the white-sheet womb
snuggling in for a daylong’s rest,
sleepin’ ‘til sun was deep in the west.

Risin’ in the sunset’s grayish gloom,
Dundee emerged from his warm tomb,
strolling to the nearby noisy saloon,
seeking dinner and a pretty tune,
a perhaps a fast game of cards,
he saw the bar; he gave his regards.

Slow Joe’s money pile mushroomed tall,
while other angry players cast a pall,
one in particular, Cheyenne Pete,
a loud gentleman, most indiscreet
fingered his trigger and questioned why,
suggesting Dundee’s time might be nigh.

It’s a bitter tale to recall, dear friend.
for Slow Joe Dundee it was the end,
Doc Braun didn’t know who to notify
no one around to bid a fond good-bye –
Pete never knew he shot his brother.
(Dundee’s sad horse went to another.)

************

WE ROAMED THE SANDS

by Robert L. Penven, Vineland, New Jersey, USA

During my daily walk
by the ocean,
I encounter a curiosity.
a tumbleweed had become
mired in the sand,
close by the tide line.
I asked this strange wonder
how it got there, well knowing
it wouldn’t sacrifice
its secrets.
So, I left it behind
though not out of mind,
for others to contemplate.

Tomorrow will bring
a day of new life for me.
as for the tumbleweed,
the wind must embrace
the burden for journeys to come.
it will surely succeed
through the living world
but stop to share tribute
to those of late.
though it no longer plays
with the gulls and terns,
I will recall this curiosity
with warm thoughts.

************

BLUE ON BLUE

by Miss Cathryn Evans

Rivulets chased after the ebbing tide, sighing softly against the sand, lovers parting just as they had done that distant day.
The sea rushed forward once more to clasp the shores sandy face in a sweet embrace and kiss away the briny tears, only to leave again however fleetingly.
The never ending bitter-sweet love story of the shore.
She wondered if he would return, if he would rush to hold her close once again.
The gentle breeze seasoned her lips and inspired a tumbleweed to skip along the waters edge, a knot of mermaids hair.
The softly foaming manes of white horses lapped playfully at her feet. These gentle colts would grow to fiery stallions with the spring tides, stampeding along the coast, leaping and taking flight, their breath to fall like rain.
The shore had its seasons just like the prairie. Both were ever changing yet never changing.
The sky was a beautiful blue. Blue on blue on blue above the graphite shaded sea. It reminded her of his eyes. They showed his moods just as clearly. Were they still bright and alive or were they dead and turning milky as his body lay torn in a bloody, muddy battlefield?
She shook herself. She knew he’d return just as surely as she knew she’d still love him no matter how broken this war left him. Civil war. There was nothing civil about it. A sour taste crept into her mouth.
Turning, she walked slowly toward the path that would eventually wind its way to their small house with its few acres. Her skirts felt heavy, the bottoms darkened by the water. Heavier still was the rifle she carried. It dwarfed her small frame but she clasped it against herself with her small, pale hands. She was glad of the weight. It kept her anchored in the here and now. She’d promised him she’d always carry it. He’d worried the fighting would spread this way but so far the only action it had seen was taking a rabbit or deer by the creek.
She prayed he’d be home soon.

************

CATCHIN

by Leroy Trussell

See’in yearlin rump,tail a wavin’.             
    Horse in a lather.
Tryin’ my patience,this misbehavin’.
   Hand full of rope to gather.

Caught up in the slack.
   Uh’ chasen yearlin bones.
Just a comin’ off Cedar Back.
   Sure’nuf a flyin’and kickin’ up stones.

My ol’ horse,breakin’ brush.
   In a weed eatin’ style.
A airy downhill thrush,
   Over a Cedar Back rock pile.

Stickin’ low in the saddle.
   On the heels of this-here critter.
Thorn’brush,cactus,and mesquite ta’ battle.
   But ain’t no fancy greenhorn quitter,

Ol’ bronc still between my knees.
   Throws my loop.
Catchin’ them bawl’lin horns with ease.
   Then tryin’ ta’ recoup.

Now the catchin’ get’in tougher.
   An the Sun,is get’in low.
Somehow a little rougher.
   Than this old Cowpoke us’ta know.

************

 

A TUMBLEWEED ON THE SHORE

by Smokey Culver

Did it drift in from the sea, or roll in from the plain?
	that tumbleweed knows only where it's been 
It travels on its journey where it stops along its way 
	for just awhile, then rolls away again 

It wanders down the sandy shore as salty breezes blow
	for miles  and miles not caring where it's bound
Like some old driftin' cowboy never staying in one place
	no roots to keep it anchored to the ground 

A tumbleweed's a symbol of the freedom of a time
	before the barbed wire fences came along
An image of the roving lifestyle, sleeping 'neath the stars
	a life we hear about in cowboy songs 

It rolls along to music that's created by the sound
	of waves as they come splashing in the sand
Of dry winds 'cross the desert or the thunder of a storm
	that soaks the ground in fields and pasture lands 

If that ol' tumbleweed could talk about where it has been
	the places that it's passed along its way
I'd sit and listen closely to its stories one by one
	about its travels every night and day 

That spirit of an old time cowboy in a brushy heap
	that moves along, takes little time to rest
It never settles down, and I know that it never will
	that tumbleweed, an icon  of the west...

************


SALT OR SAND

by Andy Kerr-Wilson

Comes a time
when we all
are tried and tested.
Comes a time
when we all
are measured up for bigger things.

Past paths and footsteps
bring us to it.
Decisions, avoided or postponed,
made in haste or agony.
And now,
all distractions and delays exhausted,
we stand on the edge of things,
confronted.

Comes a time
when we all
are alone with our own hearts.
Comes a time
when we all
are faced down by ourselves.

A journey’s end or its first acts.
A leap of faith or a final chapter.
Fresh starts or the last loose ends.
And now,
whether the dark unknown or the too familiar,
we are asked to find the courage,
within.

Comes a time
when we all
are up against it.
Comes a time
when we all
taste salt or find sand.

Time’s currents swirl,
and we choose.

************

TUMBLEWEED

by Arthur Davenport, The Big Island, Hawaii, USA

Red sun was born this morning,
I rose to watch through the peachy haze.
As the wind blew, I heard her calling,
For today, we are one,
You and me, summer is our name.

Tumbleweed, rumbling, tumbling,
knows the wind, she’s a friend.
Wild and free, just like me, tumbleweed, tumbleweed.

Don’t mistake me for somebody,
somewhere, somehow, that you once knew.
I’m not your daddy, or your old boyfriend,
or anyone who put you through,
the lover’s grindstone, fighting dust storms,
chasing ghosts that you once knew.
Didn’t you? Tumbleweed?

Tumbleweed, rumbling, tumbling,
knows the wind, she’s a friend.
Wild and free, just like me, tumbleweed, tumbleweed.

Woke up feeling lonely this morning,
Thinking about roots and a room with a view.
A hometown boy, with the simple joy
of settling down with a girl like you,
Yea you, you tumbleweed.

Tumbleweed, rumbling, tumbling,
knows the wind, she’s a friend.
Wild and free, just like me, tumbleweed, tumbleweed.

More than I can express to you
lies sleeping, dreaming, drowned.
The well is deep, eternal spring,
drink deep this life you found, tumbleweed.

Tumbleweed, rumbling, tumbling,
knows the wind, she’s a friend.
Wild and free, just like me, tumbleweed, tumbleweed.

Do you know who started the first chuck-wagon? This site, Cowboy to Cowboy says it was Charles Goodnight.

We are not sure how true this is, but we do know it is time for a yearly print anthology!

Send us your best work of Poetry, Prose, Flash Fiction (1500 word max), Artwork, and Photography.

We are seeking a full color cover submission, and are open to both artwork and photography- all black and white would go inside only.

email: editor@reddashboard.com  (copy and paste into your URL browser)

chuckwagon500

Click picture for website and chuck-wagon recipes!

Until then we are seeking submissions for our Ekphrasis Challenge

Dine With Pat

Food & Dining in the Garden State

campfireshadows

Western short stories, heritage and trail recipes.

The Blank Page

Confronting Writer's Block

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