The State of the Cowboy III, Oct 2017

October 25, 2017

This is our third week of poetry, fiction, and art. Please enjoy the work!

Long Way Down (2)

Lissanne Lake has been a full time freelance illustrator for thirty years. She has done art for over two hundred book covers, including covers for best-selling authors such as Terry Pratchett, Thomas Disch, Raymond Buckland & David Bischoff. In addition, Lissanne has created hundreds of other paintings for magazines and game products and other publications, including a tarot deck, the Buckland Romani Tarot and also has done several large murals. She lives and works at her home in North Bergen, NJ, with her partner Alan and a bossy dog.

The Salty Ones

by Elizabeth Hughey

When I wake up in the morning, and have farm chores to do,
I think of women in coffee shops, drinking their fresh brew.
Women looking “morning cute”, enjoying their technology.
Then, I think of the “salty ones”, who share my genealogy.
Cowgirls, foresters, and farmers, loving animals and nature.
Women who’d rather hike a mountain, and sit next to glacier.
Some have called me “different”, for enjoying grit and dirt.
Being pigeonholed can often, make one’s feelings hurt.
But, I like this designation, and would rather share the day,
with a strong and “salty one”, who can buck a bale of hay.
My guess is, grow’in up, your favorite color wasn’t pink.
Not afraid to share your thoughts, or give an occasional wink.
Coffee shops and ballet flats, they’re nice, every now and then.
But callused hands and dirty jeans, turn sons into working men.
And raising “salty” daughters, is so important of course.
It’s good to know, picking up toads, will not give them warts.
Loving this Earth are the “salty ones.” You know who you are.
These are my women of kin, with whom I wish upon a star.

Elizabeth Hughey is a “mud puddle mom” to a 4 year-old cowboy. Also, a children’s author and a pack boot wearing poet. The seasoned mule advocate and horse enthusiast spent the better part of her twenties horse guiding and mule packing in the National Forests and Wilderness Areas of Northwest Colorado. She now works as the grazing manager of her families Red Angus beef ranch in Southeastern Indiana. Liz has published articles with “Western Mule Magazine” and “Rural Heritage”. To read more of her poetry, please visit her website, and follow her on social media, @thecowgirlpoet.


by Mark Weinrich

After dogging his share of fractious steers
He hoped to spread some bunkhouse cheer.
He leaned into the stinging breeze
And dreamed of making a Christmas tree.

He cogitated on the perfect plan,
He’d plant a branch in a coffee can,
Then a foot of ribbon and a shotgun shell
Would help to cast a Christmas spell.

And while he rode with hat pulled low
His collar turned up against the snow,
He composed a likely Christmas verse
For those who counted this year the worst.

“We’ve ridden some rough and weary miles
There ain’t no reason for Christmas smiles;
Cause we know this year has rubbed us low,
And I can’t say I’ve got much to show.
But I hope you’ll accept some Christmas glee
From a cartridge in a bare tree.”

Midnight Disagreement

by Tim Allen

the two men, they stumbled
out the window
first one, then the other
a half minute later
immediately, they go for positions against
the night lit by kerosene lamps
hanging from stockyard posts
gunfire pierces the quiet
cattle caught in the middle
with frightful moos
one man opens the gate on his end
the cattle rush through, breaking
down part of the fence and gone
the two men continue to fire their colts
are suddenly gone, lost
in the closing fight
they’re down to knives
now on each other
slices opening skin
they fight through part
of the fence still left
the young one
the unskilled one
is on bottom
thrusts his knife upward
into the older man’s belly
like he was mixing pancake batter
or scrambling eggs
and the older man
the dead man
lets out a blood curdling scream
the rest of the way to
the end

Tim Allen is a graduate of Rutgers University with a BA in Psychology. He writes poetry and short stories. His poetry has appeared in The Stillwater Review and Grounds for Sculpture Ekphrastic Poetry. His chapbook, The Dust Storm, is available from Lulu.


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Food & Dining in the Garden State


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