October 2014 Issue- Week 6

November 9, 2014

Let’s keep Rodney Nelson in our thoughts this week, he ventured out for a much needed surgery. Red Dashboard will also be publishing his newest book, Words For The Deed. He is a fine westen observer and poet!

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 It’s been busy around the pub office since we began 1 year ago October with publishing authors poetry and flash fiction books.

We would love to see some western genre manuscripts come out way, since there are so many of you submitting to this ezine.

See our submission guidelines at http://www.reddashboard.com for more information, dates are Oct 1st – Feb 28th.

Enjoy this months previous issues 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5!

 

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It takes a certain kind of person to step into the ring with wild animals, a certain kind of person to love it enough to get close for a good shot! And we’ve are fortunate to have a number of rodeo submissions come our way this summer! Keep a scrollin’ on down and enjoy! Click on photos to enlarge for a closer look…

rodeo5

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Rodeo1

My name is Chrystal Berche, I am a writer, photographer and artist living in North Central Iowa. The following photographs were taken at the fourth of July celebration in my town of Osage Iowa, at the rodeo. I have included five, per the submission guidelines, however if there is anything particular you like about these and wish to see more of, I have well over a thousand images taken on that way.

Rodeo2

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Arroyo Al on Loyalty

Through the doors came a yellin’, “What’s tied to that thar post?”
“Ne’er have I seen such crowbait; I thought it was a ghost!”

I downed my pint and at once that youngin’ I engaged,
That thar is my ol’ pony, it matters not that he is aged.

For we have ridden through snow and rain and that ragin’ sun,
To him thrice o’er I owe my life for outpacin’ the blazin’ gun.

O’course, ol’ fella, he’s a beaut – he said it with such sass,
And in His honor, with one hook, I laid him on his ass.

Nicholas R. Larche is currently attending the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. While native to Rochester, New York and a current resident of the greater Detroit metropolitan area, Nicholas has set his eyes westward and will be relocating to Colorado this May. An adept researcher, Nicholas has recently accepted an offer for publication with the Seton Hall Legislative Journal for his work involving an interstate comparison of sex trafficking laws. In addition to his academic studies, Nicholas enjoys writing flash fiction and poetry. His work has been published or is forthcoming in The Literary Hatchet, From the Depths, Penny Ante Feud, Superstition [Review], and Drunk Monkeys.

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rodeo3

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THE VALLEY OF NOT A SHADOW OF IT

by Rodney Nelson

a narrow rain cloud brought the pink
of sundown into one draw of
the valley and the ravens were
at work around your camp until
oh holy night which you would not
have given a thought to if you
had not heard drunken caroling
a mile off down there at the wells
and you could see the building with
a piano bar no doubt and
a tower sign in red and white
you could not read from where you were
but the unwindy desert air
let the singing carry and now
you got to sleep to it and with
an odor of wet mineral
maybe weed even though the four-
minute rain had long gone away
and the stars were brightly shining

when you drove into sunup on
oh holy day the building with
no doubt a piano bar looked
hung over but somewhere within
the revelers would be waking
to pine in sin and error and
the ravenhood were up meanwhile
and you could not have named a few
of the colors the valley had
begun to take on as you rode
your way in clarity out of
the valley of not a shadow

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rodeo4

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The Photographer’s Bio:

Chrystal Berche dabbles, lots, and somewhere in those dabbles blossoms ideas that take shape into images. Many of her current pieces of artwork start out as three minute gesture drawings and eventually get paired with some sort of still life photography and a lot of playing in photoshop. She loves to take pictures, especially out in the woods, where she can sit on a rock or a log and wait quietly, jotting notes for stories until something happens by. A free spirit, Chrystal digs in dirt, dances in rain and chases storms, all at the whims of her muses.

October 2014 Issue- Week 5

November 4, 2014

“Better late than never!” our managing editor Ms. Stelling says. It’s been busy around the pub office since we began 1 year to the date publishing authors poetry and flash fiction books. And we look forward to more manuscript submission for next fall! We would love to see some western genre manuscripts come out way, since there are so many of you submitting to this ezine.

See our submission guidelines at http://www.reddashboard.com for more information, dates are Oct 1st – Feb 28th.

Enjoy this months issues 1, 2, 3 & 4!

LindaWoods_GypsyColtsWinterday (1)

‘Gypsy Colts Winter Day’ photo by Linda Woods

“They are two year old Gupsy Vanner Colts at Magic Gypsy Ranch.”

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Whining Dog Road

Bumpy and narrow the gravel road
Twisted up the mountain
A red streak like a rusted spiral staircase.
No guardrail gave false assurance.
No warning signs marked the way.

The skidding tires on hairpin turns
Shushed the already quiet forest.
Only a lone raven glided overhead
Cackling caution.

From the back of the truck
Came a whimper and whine
As the dog registered his unhappiness.
The driver chuckled, “That dog must have to go.”

In a wide spot the truck halted,
The driver released the dog.
But, the passenger and the dog both knew
Nature’s call wasn’t the reason for the stop.
It was the wild ride on Whining Dog Road.

Donnaa Meyer lives in Prescott, Arizona with her husband and dog. She’s been a professional storyteller since 1980. Recently, having been exploring poetry as a vehicle for story. Donna is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a Masters in Instructional Technology. Now retired, she was a children’s librarian for twenty-five years.

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Coyotes and Cowgirls

for Buffy St. Marie

1
Yes, the occasional rock was tossed,
but they were free to go and never left,
coyotes of the sidelong glances
and sidling steps and delicate paws.

2
No yellow eyes in my headlights tonight
but The Morning Call’s full of corroborated tales

3
Stories of the breasts of cowgirls
whose dresses rode over their calves.
More stories of the miners’ daughters
and sad parental sieves and pans.

4
And on her hip, a silver dagger.
That’s why I’m yodeling cowboy songs.

Ken Fifer’s poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Ploughshares, and other journals. Sometimes he wishes he were a cowboy.

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A Prairie Frost

Woke up this morning to a prairie frost.
Saw warm breath rising through cold air.
Rolled a bedroll in an oilcloth stiff with cold.
Hard frozen ground
and the crunch of frosted grass.
Heard the message and felt the change in the season.
Thought of warmer mornings in southern climes;
of lush evenings on coral shores.
Stood up, looked east into the rising sun.
Breathed deep the cold clear air.
Turned into the wind,
let it brush aside the years,
and clear my mind.

Rode in this morning through a prairie dawn.
This was a gift I could not ignore.
Stopped and spread my arms
across a golden arch.
Felt the sun push back the chill.
Felt blood flow.
Heard birdsong.
And from the Dawn came clarity
in that slow reveal.
Vision and understanding
not from a rising star
but from the turn of a wheel.

Rode home this morning through a prairie night.
Only thing bigger than a prairie sky.
Reached up to touch infinity.
Saw my hand washed by eternity.
Starlight from all of time.
All moments, in one moment.
All places, in one place.
All my life – an instant.
All my travels, home.
Time is not a prison
The future is no escape.
We are…All…Here…Now.

Andy Kerr-Wilson  is a member of “LiPS”; a rural slam poetry collective in Lanark County, Ontario, Canada. After a lifetime of writing poetry in his head, he began performing and publishing 5 years ago and competed at the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Canadian National Slam competitions. His published works reflect his 40 years as a wilderness guide and a love of horses and back country rides. When not riding in the ring or on trails, he and his wife Nancy, live ‘off the grid’ on 9 acres of rock and trees and swamp in a self-built passive solar home.

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An Old West Hymn

Drag back his body alone and dead.
Sky bleeds dawn come a holsterin’ gun–
When he lassos moon by deed of dread.
Drag back his body alone and dead.
He shall see no stars from shallow bed!
Hunt sovereign beast, and if low he run:
Drag back his body–alone and dead.
Sky bleeds dawn come a holsterin’ gun.

Gabe Russo recently graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a BFA in film-making. His films have played at various film festivals in Florida and North Carolina. Gabe enjoys writing poetry, flash fiction, and screenplays, and currently reside in Melbourne, Florida. He is also also an avid John Ford cinephile.

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October 2014 Issue- Week 4

October 29, 2014

 

Enjoy this months issues 1, 2, & 3!

LT and CLYDE

Artwork of ‘Texas Pepe and Clyde’ by Leroy Trussell

TEXAS PEPE AND CLYDE

by Leroy Trussell

TEXAS PEPE AND CLYDE

There comes ol’ Texas Pepe,
ridin’ his rugged tough Longhorn steer.
Caught him over yonder uh’ while back in the’ cactus and mesquite.
was headin’ uh’ cross the river, into the Wild Frontier.

Ol Clydes back, there ain’t no comparin’,
for a aii day ride.
Across the prairie uncaring,
just Texas Pepe and ol’ Clyde.

Clyde was just uh’ wild little calf,
when ol’ Texas Pepe came along.
Twas uh’ kind thought on Pepes behalf,
for Pete found him in uh’ wild Texas sand storm, blowin’ strong.

No halter upon his head,
just a pull on the horn,
An’ uh few kind words said,
across the prairie, never to forlorn.

As they go, Clyde tins to browse,
Pepe lays back and takes a nap.
When to encounter cows, ol’ Clyde will arouse.
Pepe just pulls on his earflap.

Clyde ain’t much on the run,
but he’s taken Texas Pepe many miles.
When to hit uh’ prairie town, people have a lot of fun,
leaving the folk’s there laughing, and Texas Pepe in smiles.

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DINNER AT UNCLE BILL’S

I was never
a real, horse-riding cowboy.
Just a hand.

Alfafa and prairie
hay hauling, fixing fence with
a ride-along,

wearing Converse tennis
shoes chasing black angus cows.
and calves towards

chutes, up into
long red cattle trucks, hauled
across the Kaw.

Then I had
the real cowboy’s accorded treat
following calf castration.

My job then
was to toss calves, spread
their hind legs,

watch scrotums’ emptied,
eat 100 mountain oysters fondued
with Uncle Bill

Raymond Hall is a Kansas writer who loves to spin tales and poetry about his past work on the range.

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A Little Longer Than The Moment

Dang. I left my camera in my other shirt
I say to myself like a tourist.
Wire-cutters I brought, a hammer,
a shovel, an iron bar,
and a coffee can full of nails I’d salvaged.
An extra pair of gloves. Water.
But a camera hadn’t made the list for months.

Not like there wasn’t room in the truck.
Plenty of space even for some pencils,
a lined pad or old faded receipts that could
still take a mark. I could have written something down.

Why, not even two weeks ago I saw the biggest snake
I’d ever encountered coiled up and around a post,
his head as pitted and gravelly as old adobe
resting flat on top, impassive as a mummy.

That would have been a picture. Or at least a good poem.
I’ve seen hawks fight to exhaustion over rabbits.
I’ve felt the wind blowing so hard
it embedded mesquite tines like bullets in the side of the truck.
I should have taken a picture of that.

I should have taken a picture of how many nails
a post can hold. Maybe I should have written about
how when the fence wire is tight enough it sings
a real low note. A good fence has to be at least that tight.

I’m sure I have a camera somewhere. Maybe tomorrow
I will at least put a pencil and a notepad in the truck.
I have left enough blood and sweat on this landscape.
I am no longer a tourist.

Alan Birkelbach is a native Texan, was the 2005 Poet Laureate of Texas. His work has appeared in journals and anthologies such as Grasslands Review, The Langdon Review, and Concho River Review. He has nine collections of poetry.

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The Outback Prince

Was told a tale hard to believe, about what a bull did achieve
Seems he was the best in the land
Spoiled, well-fed and groomed, washed daily and even perfumed
Hide was perfect no brand

His owner made a friendly bet, one he could live to regret
His pampered bovine at the core
Had to survive real life, in the outback with its strife
Nothing less nothing more

Handlers had to wean it off, being fed outta a trough
It ate desert brush, plants and twigs
No more baths or massage, and live without its entourage
They’d see how it like it’s new digs

The outback was the bulls new home; it was dropped and left to roam
The bet was the bull won’t last a year
Had to find his own food, and assorted predators elude
Including the odd wild steer

A year passed and no one knew if the pampered bull made it through
The cattle were in to be tagged and cut
Cowboys on horses were talking, when a bull began to walking
It actually started to strut

That bull was running fast, to where those horses were amassed
When the lead head calmly dismounted
The others knew he had guts, but thought him definitely nuts
But he stood there ready to be counted

The bull kept coming, it was almost numbing
Like a scene from a bad show
As the bull started to close, a cloud of dust arose
It ended with them toe to toe

There was an expression of joy between the bull and cowboy
The pampered bovine survived
He looked good and lean, but hadn’t turned mean
You could say that bull even thrived

His owner had won the bet, and became richer yet
The amount finally became known
It was hard to understand he only won five grand
On one of the finest Bulls ever shown.

Geof ‘Pappa Mac’ Mackay is a storyteller, entertainer, and rodeo clown (as seen in photo above). His poetry and music has been seen and heard- June 2013 Performed Pincher Creek Gathering; June 2013 Performed Manitoba Stampede July 2013; Performed at a CD Release party Palomino Club August 2013; Chosen to Clown Heartland Rodeo Finals September 2013; Performed Souris River Bend Trail ride September 2013; Performed Maple Creek Gathering September 2013; MC’d and Performed Quinton Blair CD Release Party October 2013, and Competing Columbia River gathering, Cowboy Idol- April 2014. Recently his work was published in our Unbridled Anthology representing Cowboy Poetry Press.

October 2014 Issue- Week 3

October 19, 2014

 

Enjoy this months issues 1 & 2 before this!

Narcissus_Christopher Woods

‘Narcissus’ by Christopher Woods

Chris said that horses are often afraid of their own reflection.

Christopher Woods is a writer, teacher and photographer who lives in Texas. He has published a novel, THE DREAM PATCH, a prose collection, UNDER A RIVERBED SKY, and a book of stage monologues for actors, HEART SPEAK. His photographs can
be seen in his gallery – http://christopherwoods.zenfolio.com/

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The Reclaimed Dogs

Our family deals in discarded dogs,
all wagging tails and toothy grins
and wide watching eyes.
When the coyotes howl at the moon
our little pack offers them a response -
a warbling stalemate, a cold war on a cold night.
The beginning of summer is heralded
by handfuls of dog wool
pulled out by metals combs and loving hands,
and summer is over
when big beds of hay beckon to creatures
bred for the arctic.
In the fall not a berry or crabapple escapes them.
Not even falling pecans are safe.
They know what fire is, and how
hot dogs and marshmallows are sometimes nearby.
In the spring, when life is blooming,
see four dogs on a perpetual Easter egg hunt.
Horses watch with weary glances, only half interested.
I know the seasons by fur
and hunts
and berries
and hay,
by the twitch of a nose and the wag of a tail,
because my family deals in discarded dogs.

Virginia “Jena” McLaurin- Originally from Georgia, Virginia “Jena” McLaurin is of Eastern Cherokee and European descent. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in the Anthropology Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a primary interest in stereotypes of Native American peoples. Virginia finds inspiration for her poetry in issues she has faced since childhood – difficult subjects such as identity and misconceptions of Native people – but also from nature, her family, and her work with Native communities and especially Native youth. She aspires to write poems that reflect both the difficulties of being Native as well as the beauty and depth of Native cultures, and she hopes that her poetry inspires readers to reflect on their own family heritage and cultures.

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GLEANING

by Dawn Schout

She searches the ravaged,
muddy field, the broken
stalks, red cobs stripped
of kernels. The black
cat follows. She has to go
out further than normal. Corn
is harder to find this year.
The husks she expects
to find full are empty.
Time is against her, the sun
a rotting pumpkin, sinking
behind leafless trees.
She is ready to give
up searching when
something rolls under her black
boot. She rips
off the dried, freckled
husk, the silk,
wet from muddy water.
Gold greets her.

Dawn Schout’s poetry has appeared in more than 50 publications, including *Cowboy Poetry Press*, *Dagda Publishing*, *Poetry Quarterly*, *Red River Review*, and *Tipton Poetry Journal*. She was nominated for Best of the Net in 2013. Her debut poetry collection, *Wanderlust*, is scheduled to be published in January 2015 by WordTech Editions.

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CRACKED

He finally died of heat prostration;
old desert rat lived in a shack 52 years
before a simple sprain led to a short fall
onto a midsized rock that broke
a thin hip riddled with Osteoporosis
and he goes from rat to snake in a desperate crawl
in search of away from the sun
with tiny cacti for water but nothing for shade
except his old imagination that finally wandered
back to childhood in the Twin Cities moving
Minneapolis to St. Paul to Minneapolis
and so on winter by dark, white winter
until even barely breathing baked dust and sand
he still remembers the frostbite of childhood
and graces the canyon with one final, cracked smile.

Hubert Hix was born and raised in Oklahoma. His Grandfather Hix moved there as a teenager around the time of the land rush. He now lives in Minnesota. Recent publications include poems in Lilliput Review, Under the Basho, and Right Hand Pointing.

October 2014 Issue- Week 2

October 14, 2014

“Better late than never!” our managing editor Ms. Stelling says. It’s been busy around the pub office since we began 1 year to the date publishing authors poetry and flash fiction books. And we look forward to more manuscript submission for next fall! We would love to see some western genre manuscripts come out way, since there are so many of you submitting to this ezine.

See our submission guidelines at www.reddashboard.com for more information, dates are Oct 1st – Feb 28th.

Enjoy this months issues!

mphoto043 (1)

Photo by Malinda Fillingim of David Fillingim singing at a chuck wagon event at the Booth Western Museum, Cartersville, GA.

COWBOY SHOWERS

She never liked the smell of cattle
Keeping me clean was always her battle
I sprayed myself twice a day
Just to keep the fighting at bay.

It never dawned on me
That my arm pits stank
But daily she reminded me
With many big yanks.

Get in the shower
She’d loudly declare
While I wash out
Your dirty underwear.

I wonder if her
Love is enough
To keep me clean
Not smelling of snuff

Maybe it is,
Maybe it’s not,
But this shower
Is way too hot.

She can’t cook
Her love’s gone sour,
So why am I here
Scrubbing in a shower?

I’ll grab my clothes
And all that’s pretty
And find a woman
Who’ll love me dirty!

Malinda and David Fillingim have been married for over 30 years and live in Leland, NC. They both teach at Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington, NC. David is an award winning writer of many books and articles, including Georgia Cowboy Poets and Malinda takes really good photos with a camera she bought at a thrift store for one dollar. Contact either one at fillingam@ec.rr.com.

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INDIAN CAMP OF THE HUDSON VALLEY – A True Story

There was no reservation,
only houses and shanties
in the wetlands along the Esopus Creek.
Not good land, it flooded
in the Springs when the run-off
to the river was high.
Dutch burghers and Tory descendants
disdained it, but
it was place to these displaced Algonquians,
Lenape from New Jersey, Manhattan and Delaware.
They took the twenty-fours dollars worth of trinkets
for land they did not own,
and they knew farming,
how to make fabric from plants and skins.
They had kitchen gardens
tended by women and children.
In time before driven out of the valley,
men worked the slate mines,
skidding great gray slabs on timbers
to Hudson’s stolen river.
Straining horses and men delivered
the sidewalks of New York
to barges dipping and bowing
in the residual tides of estuary.
Commerce walked like a ghost
on the water
of the Creek and of the River,
slipping away toward Manhattan
and the sea.

Howard Winn has published over 400 poems and short stories in various competitive selection literary magazines. He’s published one book of poetry, and has been nominated for a Push Cart Press Award three times. Winn has appeared in two poetry anthologies, one published in the Ashland Poetry Series and one of Hudson Valley poets edited by Mary Gordon. He’s been included in one anthology celebrating the 300th year anniversary of the discovery of the Hudson River.

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Blessings Be Upon You, Horace Greely

“Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.”
So, I followed the Conestogas
and found forever, an Eden,
endless vistas that promised
vast possibilities of success.
With no gaurantee in my pocket,
save that of manhood’s training,
I trusted myself,
and called myself frontiersman
when in truth I was a gambler separated
from those who sought safety in civilization.
And I, a being formed by space itself,
untamed, unrestrained
except by natural age and failing,
chart my course by stars named
Sea. Sage. Sequoia.
Mesa, rio, arroyo—
commissioned by God to dare.
Experiment.
Build.
Fashion.
A demigod in boots and chaps
wielding a branding iron instead of lightning bolts,
I did not know the Great Divide
was more than just geography,
that those contented
with being Europe’s mirror
would become my enemy
because they fear the freedom
of the ultimate question:
Now that God has made him,
what can a man make of himself?

Jenean McBrearty is a graduate of San Diego State University, a former community college instructor who taught Political Science and Sociology, and is finishing a certificate in Veteran Studies. Her fiction has been published in a slew of print and on-line journals including Cigale Literary Magazine, 100 Doors to Madness Anthology, Mad Swirl and The Moon; her poetry has been accepted by Van Gogh’s Ear and Page & Spine; and her photographs have appeared in Foliate Oak Literary Journal and Off the Coast Magazine among others. Her novel, The 9th Circle was published by Barbarian Books, serials Raphael Redcloak and Retrolands can be found on Jukepop.com. Web-page: Jenean-McBrearty.com.

October is also dedicated to Robert Penven, one of our beloved poets passed last night after a surgery that wasn’t suppose to cause problems. He was 81, and was one of our biggest supporters, lived here in New Jersey, about an hour away from the managing editor who met him at a local Vineland poetry group, Poetry-go-round once a month. RIP dear cowboy, you are missed…

October 2014 Issue- Week 1

October 4, 2014

“Better late than never!” our managing editor Ms. Stelling says. It’s been busy around the pub office since we began 1 year to the date publishing authors poetry and flash fiction books. And we look forward to more manuscript submission for next fall! We would love to see some western genre manuscripts come out way, since there are so many of you submitting to this ezine.

See our submission guidelines at www.reddashboard.com for more information, dates are Oct 1st – Feb 28th.

Enjoy this months issues!

 

EPSON MFP image

(Click to enlarge)
Watercolor ‘Steeds’ by Anj Marth

Ocean steeds was inspired by a story my great-grandmother told me when I first started riding horseback. Selkies are beautiful horses that live in the sea, and come to shore to tempt people to try to catch them. If you bridle one, or get on its back (it will let you) it will drag you into the deeps with it, and there’s no escape.

Anj Marth was born in the early 70s, and grew up on the east coast of the US, near Philadelphia. She has since moved and traveled all over the country, by road. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and
considers it home. She works in a variety of mediums and has been a professional,licensed tattoo artist since the late 90s.

Her condensed portfolio can be seen here- Anj Marth Portfolio

 

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KODACHROME BOOTS

This here’s a tale bout widow Beall and me,
a very close call as far as I can see.
Nearly hung myself from a stout oak tree,
when she proclaimed she’s “a gonna marry thee”!

Now, widow Beall was a comely lass,
much appeal and a cute little…….well.
Dumb as a sheep and not much class,
spit fire temper and a whole lot of sass.

Not fix’n to marry, ner give’n a dang hoot,
rather ride me a bronc, raise hell and shoot.
Single I’ll stay, til I be a grizzled old coot,
and all this started o’er a Kodachrome boot.

A life riding single with a little spare loot,
I’d spent honest big money on Kodachrome boots.
With huge eagle wings, patterns fanciful stitched,
never reckoned on them boots a get’n me hitched.

Them knee high boots just glowed by day,
bright yellar and red with horned lizard inlay.
Strong ride’n heels built up real high,
with side seam piping, blue as the sky.

Chartreuse pull straps above scalloped top,
a rainbow of colors that seemed never to stop.
Big ole eagles, blueish green and dark taupe,
tawdry beauty from some boot makers shop.

Kodachrome boots made from the best of cowhide,
brash as a peacock cowboy on an afternoon ride.
Clean shirt, fresh hat, pants stuffed inside,
One of a kind boots, whispered ego and pride.

When corralled by the widow, I couldn’t break free,
She’d always look down and then I could see,
her eyes come alive, twinkling romance and glee,
It was them boots she truly loved and not really me!

I hatched an idea to get me outta her plan,
and git back on the trail as fast as I can.
Just need to convince my first cousin Stan,
widow Beall needs some lov’n and he is her man.

Got Stan a new Stetson, wild rag and new suit,
a bath, and some tonic, why he looked darn right cute.
And to sweet’n the deal, first time in the chute,
I gave him my pair of those kodachrome boots.

Marc Bradshaw- Though raised in the hills and hollows of central Kentucky, the southwest U.S. beckoned immediately after high school graduation. Over the next 50 years California’s San Joaquin valley and parts south of Bakersfield, in Santa Fe New Mexico, and currently Mesquite Nevada were home to life and
work.

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COME HAVEN OR LOW WATER

by Rodney Nelson

when we hear the recorded whoop of
a cowboy cello we’re not truant
only away from our home butte
on the Niobrara

we are the men of earth we have been
and when we reinvent the odor
of horse and hay we ride and forget
what larrupt us to town

there won’t ever be a flareout of
the world or a man-roping event
in the oil range we hold the dream to
on the Niobrara

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COWBOY OF THE SEA

His name is Keealani,
a cowboy of the sea.
Needs the wind upon his back,
that bucking ride to set him free.

He wrestles surf and ocean
gripping tight and holding strong,
waiting for horns blowing
counting seconds short and long.

Got his lasso round his ankle
his bolo tie, a string of shells,
biggest difference in this cowboy
is his fishy stinky smell.

No manure or dirt upon him,
just the residue of sand,
cause this cowboy’s ride is over
when he steps upon the land.

Heather M. Browne is a faith-based psychotherapist and recently emerged poet, published in the Orange Room, Boston Literary Review, Page & Spine, Eunoia Review, Poetry Quarterly, The Poetry Bus, Red Fez, The Muse, An International Journal of Poetry, Deep Water Literary Journal, Electric Windmill, Maelstrom, mad swirl, and Dual Coast.  Her first chapbook, We Look for Magic and Feed the Hungry has been published by MCI. She just won the Nantucket Poetry Competition, a semi-finalist in Casey Shay chapbook competition, and has her first collection coming out this winter with Red Dashboard Publishing.  Recently widowed from her love of 21 years, she lives with her 2 amazing teens, and can be found frolicking in the waves.  Follow her: www.thehealedheart.net

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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~

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