John H. Dromey was born in northeast Missouri. He’s had a byline (for brief, humorous items) in over one-hundred different newspapers and magazines. Once upon a time he had light verse published in Grit, Hoofs and Horns, Light, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. His cartoons have appeared in Bowhunter and Farm Antiques News (no longer published).

WORDS SPOKEN BY SPOKANE GARRY
AT THE DEDICATION OF HIS MONUMENT
SPOKANE, WA August 25, 2011

Proud am I that you
Children of my children
Stand here today honoring
Our stiff necked resolution
To fancy dance and wail to pounding drums
Carry our feathers and totems
Against the white fangs of Mickey Mouse and Barbie.
You have not forgotten bones of our ancestors
Line trails from the northwest.
Buffalo soldiers following yellow haired men with shoulder straps
Hanged a few of our braves
Who died like warriors – slaughtered our horses
These slaps were nothing
To crude tribes of peasants fiercely fleeing
Dandy dukes and counts and princes
To ravage and reshape our mother
Dam up her rivers withhold the red ocean fish
And turn the canyon where I died into 18 smooth grassy stretches for a German farmer’s son
To chase a hard white rubber ball
In a put put cart
Smiling whiskey on his breath.
May this construct of basalt pillars and metal work magic medicine
Reserve our dry ground
Cold swift rivers so we may
Breath cool mountain air
Over tongues speaking Salish words that
Ancestors entrusted to us.

Tyson West is a traditional western poet whose aesthetic continually shape shifts.  He watches the Northwest with veiled and hooded lynx eyes, broods among the conifers and quarrels with Coyote. He has a degree in history, but writes a variety of poetry styles, and has written a series of poems around Spokane Garry who is our local magical Indian.  One of Tyson’s Western poems was published in Spoke Magazine called “Floorshow”, which is based on a picture of a 1922 floorshow in the Davenport Hotel which photo you can find on line. He lives in the middle of Eastern Washington, which is definitely cowboy country.  There are two Washingtons, Eastern and Western, and they are as different as a Mocah Mint Latte with organic goats milk and black boiled coffee at a chuck wagon fire.

Cowboy Poetry Press was given a great opportunity to review Rodney Nelson, METACOWBOY poems, our first book review for June 2012 year, and I’m certainly glad to share…

‘Rodney Nelson confesses a separation from poetry until 2000, writing and publishing fiction; when he returns ‘The cowboy and the Deadwood gambler and the Tombstone gunslinger are legendary,” he says. “The working cowboy lives on, but so does the metacowboy, without lariat or gun or poker deck and wearing strange boots.”… Rodney Nelson is a traveler and hiker on his native Great Plains and throughout the west…’ (Taken from the back jacket)

I had not heard the term ‘metacowboy’ until I laid eyes on this book. It is a great title and opportunity for me personally as the editor to get a glimpse into a modern day cowboy’s boots. Maybe hiking boots in Rodney’s case. Only beginning the cowboy poet genre recently, I confess my own hunger for modern artistic views on old western life and hardship. Indeed Nelson has given me just what I wanted.

His voice and fantastic use of language throughout the pages are alone enough to draw you in.

In Rest Stop Big Horn Country– without reprinting the  whole I can attest, you are tourist driving along and taking in monuments and sites, we’ve all done it; then the cavalry appears, and help you really experience the long weary drive.

His movements in word and throughout line have you right beside, and ready…yet onto another page, and you are moved just as easily by another. Rodneys modern verse; it will swing you, reminding, life is not so far off from our past, just easier to swallow as we get older.

Another site (Dry Crik Review) uses this poem below to show us how he uses pauses and last words- expressing the poets feeling of loss which ends with humor, but I like the sadness which clearly sets the tone, and pulls you in…

Yuma Hat

When I lived in smoke heat on the Clearwater of
Idaho I knew that the river would exhale
into my late evening rooms if I opened them
but now I am in the dog days on the Red of
North Dakota and the water will be hot as
afternoon all night
            why do I walk out along
the bike and in-line skating path when I could have
oak shade...

I admit a dislike for overtly ostentatious reviews, and shouldn’t have to use fancy words to persuade you to venture into longing- into Rodney”s Montana and Wyoming and other plains. His portrayal of the Badlands and as I said earlier, his use of language gives us a glimpse into the roughness of the old and new west in sound and scenery, making much of his poetry authentically cowboy.  It has shown me paths he himself has taken. I want to visit these places, and write my own history now.

He is truly a kindred cowboy on a metahorse, and  into sunset we shall ride.

EAS

METACOWBOY: poems. By Rodney Nelson. (2011. The Moon Publishing and Printing The Moon) 34 pp. $14

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