November 30, 2013
‘Rough Rode Cowboy’
Wesley Knapp is a retired technology innovator and entrepreneur whom now spends his time cavorting with his life-long love of photography in Hanibal, MO. Knowing that it’s never too late, at age 54 Wesley is studying to earn his Masters Degree in Fine Art Photography. Wesley, along with his high school sweetheart wife Rhonda live in Hannibal, MO with 3 dogs, 4 cats and 2 chickens.
Imagining My Father in Texas, 1960
“Well, the honky tonks of Texas were my natural second home.”–Waylon Jennings
Stetson pulled low over his twenty-something green eyes,
a cowboy-soldier who parts a saloon’s wooden, swinging doors,
his leather rancher boots, freshly shined,
conspicuous against the sawdust bathed floor–
a silver dime slotted in the fistfight-battered juke,
commanding Ernest Tubb and his Texas Troubadours’
“Walkin’ the Floors Over You”
for a green-eyed a girl he bedded in El Paso,
the cattle rancher’s daughter he broke in Corpus Christi.
Mounting a three-legged bar stool horse,
a Lone Star beer in his right hand,
the same calloused hand
in which he’d grasped Ol’ Upshot’s reins–
the bronc who catapulted him days before
on a longhorn ranch outside Brownsville.
Nicole Yurcaba hails from a long line of coal miners, Ukrainian immigrants and West Virginian mountain folk. She is an adjunct instructor of English and Developmental Reading, substitute teacher and farm hand hailing from West Virginia currently pursuing her Master of Humanities in English at Tiffin University. Her work has appeared in print and online journals such as VoxPoetica, Referential Magazine, Rolling Thunder Quarterly, Decompression, Hobo Camp Review, The Camel Saloon, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocaine, Floyd County Moonshine and many others. In life, she enjoys taking the unbeaten path, and usually exits the scene pursued by bear.
Roaming in indigo blooms
that encapsulate springtime,
grazing at leisure in meadows
emergent with life-force,
Jerseys and Holsteins abound
in the blue-jeweled grasslands
blanketing hillsides awash
in a radiant sun soak.
dl mattila is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in *Blast Furnace, Foothill: A Journal of Poetry, Lowestoft Chronicle, *and* Shot Glass Journal*, among others. Her poetry also displays on the Maier Museum of Art Ekphrastic Poetry webpage and at the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
Cowboy Boot Clocks
whenever I see one of those stupid cowboy boot clocks
the ones where the leather is so heavily shellacked
they look like they’ve been carved out of wood
or molded in cheap, shiny plastic, I think of
my grandfather, the last real cowboy in my family
and especially I think of that time he came in
from working the horses with my dad, his socks caked with cow shit
and mud, swearing because some asshole had stolen his boots
probably to make into a couple of those stupid cowboy boot clocks.
He had been warned by Earl-down-the-way that
some asshole was stealing cowboy boots right off the roadside fence posts
probably to make into those stupid cowboy boot clocks that tourists love to buy
and Earl told him that if you take a nap after working the horses
don’t put your boots on the fence post because some
asshole’ll steal them, but grandpa didn’t want
snakes crawling into his boots while he was sleeping
so he put them on the fence post anyway
and some asshole drove by and stole them
probably to make into a couple of those stupid
heavily-shellacked cowboy boot clocks
the kind tourists always have to get at least one of
whenever they pass through this state
and grandpa had to come in from the fields in his stockings
he was real mad.
Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes for the Minneapolis school district and writing classes at The Loft Literary Center. Her poetry has recently appeared in Hawai’i Pacific Review, Slant, and The Tampa Review, and she is the 2011 recipient of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her most recent published books are “Walking Twin Cities” and “Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch.”
A billowing cloud rose out of the West
And out of it rode two of the best
One clad in buckskin, the other in white
Blood brothers fused in friendship and fight.
With silver bullets and a mysterious mask,
A Ranger and his sidekick together in task:
Side by side to save the day
And when it was won the Ranger would say
In a hearty voice, “Heigh-ho Silver, away!”
There was Wild Bill, Cisco and Hopalong,
With Gene and Roy to sing us a song.
There was Champion, Trigger and Buttermilk:
White felt hats and scarves of silk;
Sidekicks like Gabby, Andy and Frog,
And don’t forget Bullet, the Wonder Dog.
Nobler men were not again to be seen
Upon this earth or on the screen.
And bolder deeds would never be done
With pearl handled Colts that flashed in the sun.
We knew right was right and wrong was wrong,
And that wrong would never win;
And all of the words to every song
Like “Back in the Saddle Again”.
That billowing cloud is now faded and gone,
But the lessons of the Heroes still linger on
With the voice I’ll remember to my final day,
Ringing out clearly, “Heigh-Ho Silver, Away!”
John Strickland TBA
October 14, 2013
Monsoon rains of San Pedro Valley, “The territory comes alive after the rains, everything turns as green as you can see.”- M. C. (Mike) Hudson was born in Tombstone, Arizona and has lived and loved the life of a cowboy for most of his life. He is an ex-bull rider, who has lived to tell about his experiences, and has helped train youth to ride bulls. As a pastor of a rural church and setting in SE. AZ Mike has worked many of the larger ranches in Arizona and New Mexico, gathering cows, doctoring, sorting, branding (cutting-seems to be the job for a pastor) and roping. He is also embarking on a journey into writing poetry and prose, and was chosen for the October 2012- week 3. You can spot his photos all about CPP if you just explore…
THE COUNTRY MILE
Mixed with tobacco juice
And red summer clay
It came from the edge
Of the cornfield
The clout that soared
Past the unplowed field
Smashed into the red barn
Scattering the cawing crows.
Clinton Van Inman (TBA)
“When I was young, I walked all over this country;
east and west. I saw no other people than the Apache.
After many summers, I walked again, and found another
race of people had come to take it—how is it?” -Cochise
We wished only to speak sunlight into our hearts.
To follow mountain spirits toward ‘The Giver of Life.’
To own nothing, and everything—bow to no man.
Now, our mesquite and cactus are barren. We carry
life on our fingernails and wait to die.
Kevin Heaton is originally from Kansas and Oklahoma. He now lives and writes in South Carolina. His work has appeared in a number of publications including: Raleigh Review, Foundling Review, Beecher’s Magazine, The Monarch Review, and Mixed Fruit. His fourth chapbook of poetry, ‘Chronicles,’ was published by Finishing Line Press in 2012 . He is a Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Best New Poets 2013 nominee.
The Alien Invasion Tapes, #87
It was back in ’63 they set down in my wheat field, and I was too damn angry to be scared. I knew that crop was gone and it wasn’t a thing anyone could do about it. When they come out of their spaceship—no, no it wasn’t a door that swung down like on a castle,
but a giant car door, like on my Buick?—they come out, three of ‘em no taller than my knee,
and just stared at me, no expression in those big glassy eyes, no sorrow for what they done to my field.
“We come in peace,” they said without sayin’ it out loud but I heard it in my head, and I looked at my flattened, withered wheat and said, “The hell you do.”
Have you ever seen mangled wheat, the stalks cracked, the feathers singed? A whole season: It’s enough to make you cry. And I did, standin’ in the middle of my broken field with those three aliens, wellin’ up, the door to their giant ship propped open, a sickening light pourin’ from inside and slicin’ across my barren field like a knife. They do somethin’ like rock, paper, scissors and one come over and tells me I’m supposed to be some kind of alien ambassador. 100 acres, gone, the exhaust from their craft fellin’ my crop like a tornado, the shoots fallin’ like dominoes, like ambushed soldiers, the stink pourin’ into my nostrils.
“You fellas best be on your way,” I said as patiently as any man who just lost his livelihood can, and for the first time they look around. Sure I think they’re doin’ damage assessment, conjurin’ a way to bring the wheat back, and I picture those fuzzy stalks risin’ like an army of mini Lazaruses across the dead plain, work hard to send that image to them with my mind. But they’re fixed on somethin’ else now, and it’s Tessie, comin’ toward us, haunch-slow, jaws workin’, wheat cracklin’ beneath her bovine hooves. I point to her, my prize heifer, shake my head and give them a firm “NO!” But Tessie and the aliens, they’re starin’ at one another, stock still, as if hypnotized. And even today I wonder what they said that made her walk right past me, through the blade of sharp light and into that shiny crop killin’ machine: You’ll be happier with us, He don’t appreciate you, YOU are the true alien ambassador. So that’s how I lost my wheat and my cow in the same hour.
The man from the insurance company, he don’t believe me, but I know you do. You see this stuff all the time, so I was hopin’ you could talk to ‘im, tell ‘im about the giant car door, the two-foot Martians, a prized cow that trundled, hooves clickin’, into another dimension.
Dorene O’Brien has appeared in the Connecticut Review, Carve Magazine, Connecticut Review, New Millennium Writings, The Cimarron Review, the Chicago Tribune, Detroit Noir and others. She has won the Red Rock Review’s Mark Twain Award for Short Fiction, the New Millennium Fiction Award, and the Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Award. Her stories have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and she has won the international Bridport Prize and has received a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Dorene’s short story collection, Voices of the Lost and Found, won the USA Best Books Award.
October 7, 2013
Author Unknown- Photograph from the mid-1870s of a pile of American bison (high plains) skulls waiting to be ground for fertilizer. Courtesy of the . |Source=http://www.raeky.com/bison/, originally Burton Historical Collection, Detroit P
Its a shame what our ancestors did, used up what we could, even the land. Once a plot of land yielded gains for the farmer, they moved on further west and began again, as opposed to alternating planting and letting land rest for a season.
I tried to steal them constantly—in rearview
mirrors and staggered side by side, through
the screened-off window of a trailer
in your backyard. I wanted to slip
where you slept, purposely forget
to pack an extra sleeping bag
forever, and bust my mouth up
until please don’t go so far from me
sounds something like: I hope you love
California. You will love California.
Dig any hole you want.
I will come to you.
Lily Goderstad obtained her MFA in poetry from The New School. Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry Blog, and is forthcoming in Dark Matter Journal and Vine Leaves Literary Journal. She currently lives in Queens, NY.
Down the road,
a young boy walking in the dust.
A bus passes, whizzing by,
upsetting the cows and the flies.
‘I wonder where it’s going,
could it be Japan, or maybe Mexico.’
‘I’d like to see a bullfight.
Or maybe London,
with the funny-looking hats.’
‘Or Rome, or France.
Oh well, maybe just even Texas.’
down the road,
walking in the dust,
with only six pennies
and a rock in his pocket.
Mike Tupa began writing poetry at age 16 — during a car trip along a leafy, mountain road — and hasen’t kicked the habit since. A two-year church mission in Italy, a four-year active duty stint in the Marine Corps and four years of college haven’t cured him of any literary affliction. Some of Mike’s other publishing credits include poems printed in the Wilderness House Literary Review, Calliope Poets & Writers, and the Write Place at the Write Time.
October 1, 2013
Tombstone- ‘Town Too Tough To Die’
Managing Editor, Elizabeth Akin Stelling visited Tombstone in 2010, and survived the heat, or was it the OK Corral reenactment…
Tombstone was founded in 1877 by a prospector named Ed Schieffelin. Ed was staying at what was then called Camp Huachuca (wa-chu-ka) as part of a scouting expedition against the Chiricahua (chir-i-cow-uh) Apaches. During his time there he would venture out into the wilderness “looking for rocks”, all the while ignoring the warnings he received from the soldiers at the camp. They would tell him, “Ed, the only stone you will find out there will be your tombstone”. Well, Ed did find his stone. And it was Silver. So, remembering the words of warning from the soldiers, he named his first mine The Tombstone.
When I heard the learned astronomer
From proofs and charts and periodic tables
H&R diagrams, overheads, and visuals,
With power points to show the history of stars
From flowers to quarks to quasars,
To the theory of everything
As all greatest mysteries unfolded
From hydrogen to hogs, to Hectors,
And among all the applause, I felt sick
And arose and went outside for some fresh air
Where looking up I beheld the silence of the stars
Until I realized I was in the planetarium.
Clinton Van Inman Born in England, BA 1975 San Diego State University, high school teacher in Tampa, lives in Sun City Center, Fl with his wife Elba. One of the last Beats still standing and still banging the drum (slower now) for the Cause.
I Wasn’t Born a Cowboy
I wasn’t born a cowboy, but I’ve done my level best
to earn the right to be called one today
I’ve shoveled up the stalls, unloaded tons of feed and hay
I’ve even milked some cows along the way
My childhood home was not a ranch, though on the country side
we had a few ol’ chickens and of course
I rode my bike for several miles each day come rain or shine
so I could care for my beloved horse
I didn’t have a thousand acres, or a herd of cows
but I could rope and tie a “Bramer” calf
And I could nail the shoes on dang near any horse around
been throwed and every time I climbed right back
No, cowboys may not all be born, cause some of us are made
like poor folks who grow up and make their way
To fame and fortune, that’s how cowboys do it, difference is
we don’t get rich like them, just draw our pay
I’m proud to call myself a cowboy and I know for sure
that others who have earned the right will say
That nothin’ good comes easy, but you hang on for the ride
get bucked off, get back on, the cowboy way…
Smokey Culver was born and raised in southeast Texas, and has lived there all his life. He writes music and poetry about whatever comes to mind, mostly farmers and ranchers and down home folks. The Lord has blessed him with an ability to put thoughts into words that generally make sense, and even stir up emotions sometimes. I have recently joined the board of directors of Musicians, Artists , Authors, Poets, and Storytellers (MAAPS) of Texas as the person to oversee the cowboy poetry issues. My poetry link- Smokey Culver via FB