December Issue- Week 3

December 16, 2013

There will be no Week 4 this go round. It’s the holidays and frankly we need a few weeks to recover from all the reading we are doing for the launching of our Red Dashboard LLC Publishing company and its new books. If you are interested in sending us your manuscript to consider for a Summer/Fall 2014 publication, email us at editor@reddashboard.com with a query letter and 5 pieces of poetry, or 10 pages of your short story/desert dime novel material/work.

MarkTwainSelection3

Yuma Arizona foot hills, taken by our Managing Editor EAS while on a quest for water…

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Boots Crunching on Gravel

“You-all been washing gold along the creek,” I said, “but you never stopped to think where those grains of gold started from. Well, I found and staked the mother lode, staked her from Hell to breakfast, and one day’s take will be more than you’ve taken out since you started work. I figure now I’ll dig me out a goodly amount of money, then I’ll sell my claims and find me some friends that aren’t looking at me just to see what I got.” ~From “The Courting of Griselda” – Louis L’Amour

We started at daybreak with two rifles and plenty of ammunition. We rode out of there with the stars still in the sky. We rode across country with no dust in the sky. All of a sudden two men rode up. Nobody had anything to say but by the looks of it – the pans, the picks, the sacks, they were hunting gold. I looked over at my buddy his name of Jeb and I gave a slight nod. He stared straight ahead eying the men his fingers crawling slowly to his holster. If we had time for words, I’d know what he’d say: “Colt, there’s no such thing as a gunman’s crouch. Might make you less of a target but you need to hold a gun so’s it’s comfortable to you.” The men held their heads high and nodded towards the creek. I softened the grip on my rifle. The odor of stale whiskey lingered in the air. Finally the older of the two lifts his hat up off his head and nods. The younger follows suit. Then Jeb. Then me. And we pass along the trail, everything unguarded.

LB Sedlacek’s poems have been published in publications such as “The Broad River Review,” “Third Wednesday,” “Heritage Writer,” “Circle Magazine,” “Scribe and Quill,” “The Hurricane Review,” and others.

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clowning 2

Behind The Grease Paint

Another performance over and his work is done
Most of the grease paint was gone from his face
His life as a rodeo clown has just begun
It’s this new role he must now embrace
Many years ago he was in the cowboy protection
Making himself a target for fallen bull-riders
Each outin addin bumps,and bruises, to his collection
He’d shuck, and jive as if his feet were on gliders
His movements have been slowed by injury and age
He now walks at a much slower pace
It’s different as a clown takin centre stage
His new life is all about props, pranks, and fillin in space
No more will he be dodgin bulls, and makin saves
Instead he tells stories trades jabs with the announcer
He can no longer do what he craves
Dancing around the arena as if attached to a bouncer
The life of a rodeo clown in the sport that he loves
Is about making people happy with antics and a story.
He plays with audience and a barrel he shoves
It’s not the same as bullfighting you don’t get the glory
Without the grease paint he’s just like me or you
Not the one making them laugh
He’s turned the page on the life he once knew
and found new meaning in his rodeo path.
Behind the grease paint he lives as a clown
And the chance to make people laugh he’ll never turn down.

Geoff “Poppa 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.

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Ambling With My Companion

Trails intersect,
the criss-crossroads
made us bury
pictures of youth—

hooves of plain-spoke
language, stomped our
dead fallen tracks.

We’re ripping a
part of the land—
are no longer
frequently lost,

free-questrian,
elegant—we
always arrive
somewhere near our

forsaken home.
My ground and yours,
what we lived for—
poems in crowns,

adorned four-fold,
each season’s form
maintained between
forlorn borders.

Summer Is A Hot Kiss Of Death

I felt the crisp wind
take hold of my lips
transforming them into
the desert surface.

It also turned my face
a chronic cold of blue,
like poisoned horse lay
flat under oil-waved sky.

I only cried once.
I stared the two times
you held my grazing body
under white-washed sun.

Courtney Leigh Jameson recently graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California with an MFA in Poetry. Her work has appeared in *Similar:Peaks*<http://similarpeakspoetry.com/2013/06/05/two-poems-by-courtney-jameson/>and is forthcoming in *Clockwise Cat, FLARE, *and *Danse Macabre*. She currently resides in Arizona and is the The Bowhunter of *White Stag Journal*.

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December 2013- Week 2

December 10, 2013

MikeHudson

Michael Hudson is a poet/preacher in Arizona, and is our resident ranch hand and roper sends us these great photos from time to time! He is the rider, but not sure who is down on the ground, but they do this from sun-up to sun-down, every day.

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MY CHARISMATIC COWBOY

Observe brash
imminent intimidation
every part of.
Like pauses in the flow,
we listen.
Inclusionists

crouched over this.
Our knowledge acts withered
slow to resist.
Faint lips
subjective in the telling.
Now willing to present

the kiss.

Thank you for traveling through time.

Passive histrionics
levitating beneath a rock.
Servitude’s meandering cracks,
where did I put that’s.
Forever and ever or
a horizon of stoics.
Impractically industrious.
I witnessed a fellow spirit
materialize without a comma

within the here is.

Colin James has a chapbook of poems available from Atlantean Publishing, and has been published via other journals and on-line lit magazines.

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Stage Coaches

Cowboy songs command the throng.
One falls off his hobbyhorse.
Some miss marks.

The sheriff stage-whispers cues
from a casting couch,
Hands up. Drop your drawers.

Unstellar heroine in the dark
— cut to black,
nothing but crickets.

Gerard Sarnat is the author of two critically acclaimed poetry collections, 2010’s “HOMELESS CHRONICLES from Abraham to Burning Man” and 2012’s “Disputes.” His pieces have appeared or are forthcoming in over seventy journals and anthologies. Harvard and Stanford educated, Gerry’s been a physician who’s set up and staffed clinics for the disenfranchised, a CEO of health care organizations, and a Stanford professor. For “The Huffington Post” review of his work and more; visit GerardSarnat.com.

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Horse, pony, colt, filly waiting for a cowboy

Horse on the trail
waiting for a cow
waiting for a cowboy
traveling a trail
pony at a fair
waiting on a kid
waiting for a rider
traveling a circuit
colt born wild
colt waiting to run wild
colt waiting for a mustang wild run
colt traveling a wildness trail
filly born wild
filly in the wildness running wild
filly waiting for a drink of water
filly running in a wildness trail
cowboy tell me this
cowboy tell me that
cowboy tell me a horse tale
cowboy waiting on a cow trail
Working with a cow
working for along time on the cow trail
fencing the wild trail
gone wild are the horses
gone are the ponies
gone are the colts
gone wild are the fillies
how sad are the cowboys with fences

Clinton Seagle as a kid grew up on Cracker Box Route Fallon, Montana area. Worked a bit in Ekalaka Montana where one can see the end of the world is just a step away. Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Bolivia an other end of the world stepping stone. This is his first attempt at publishing his work.

December Issue- Week 1

November 30, 2013

WesKnappCowboy

‘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.

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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.

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Brenham

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.

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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.”

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The Heroes

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

June Issue- Week 4

June 24, 2013

Dromey - Drawing 3 (5-31-12)by John H. Dromey

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A Poet-of-Place Observes Early Signs of Spring During a Night of Drinking

by Ray Sharp

1. Standing far below the stars with a south breeze on his face, he feels his sap rising and his ear lobes swelling.

2. Behind the din of the neighbor’s sled dogs yapping, he thinks he hears coyote pups barking. Their mother calls them back into the den, where they pull at her chapped teats.

3. When he makes a piss hole of melted snow on the driveway snow mat, he can almost see down to gravel.

4. The snow is soft enough that it doesn’t hurt at all when he falls.

 

Under an August Moon

by Ray Sharp

Coyote, wise old trickster
shuffling across the road
under an August moon,
you look a little shaggy,
a little grayer,
but you and I know
the best blueberry patches,
the way across the swale,
how to step light
over a thin crust of wind-packed snow,

when to chase
and when to lay in wait.
The moon casts
reflected sunlight
on the old familiar trails,
as the summer night
gathers memories
of distant, bygone loves,
and traces a crooked path
upon my dark betrodden heart.

 Previously published in vox poetica, September 1st, 2009

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Old Dog

by Laura Jean Schneider

 

“Got ’n old dog needs shot,” the man says, shuffling in from the cold. The porch door slams shut behind him.  He trails the father and son into the kitchen where the cook stove casts a dry heat, the chipped enameled kettle on the stove top diffusing clouds of murky water. “Sit,” says the father. The man sits, his bony frame disappearing in his loose trousers.

“I won’t shoot no dog for you,” says the father.

The son glances down at the filthy linoleum.

 “Don’t have to, I kin do it.” The man bobs his lopsided head earnestly, ears bright red from the bitter winter wind, ancient skin flushed.

“He needs a gun, Da,” says the son, looking at his father.

“I need a gun,” says the man. “He’s right. I hate to do it, but he ain’t gonna make it through to Christmas.”

Tomorrow, thinks the son.

“Well’s long as I ain’t doing the shooting, I s’pose you can use this,” the father says as he slides a .22 revolver out from behind the toaster oven. He pops open the cylinder, slips six cartridges inside, hands it to his neighbor.

The old man traps tears behind his watery blue eyes, rough lips wobbling. “Thanks,” he says. “It’s fer the best.” He raises a gnarled hand, steps carefully down the icy steps, walks toward his pickup. Then he stops; turns. “Merry Christmas,” he hollers.

“Same t’ you,” the father calls back.  He walks into the kitchen, to his son and the wood fire and the game of crazy eight’s, the news droning on the three-channel television set, and the smell of elk roast rising from the oven.

Uncle stops by on New Year’s.  He sips whiskey on the rocks with his brother, asks if he’d heard about old Smith.

“Nope,” the father says.

“Old Smith, he done offed hisself.” 

The father looks over at his son. The son stares back, silent.

“Yep, over’d the community center.” The uncle mashes an ice cube between his teeth. “Christmas Eve.” 

“That’s ’mpossible,” says the father.

“He was over here,” says the son.

 “When?” the uncle asks.

“‘ ’Bout four. Four, huh?”  

The father stares at his son.

“Sure, four,” the son nodded.

“Well, this was ‘bout seven, sheriff said.”

The uncle reaches for the bottle, unscrews the cap, and adds three fingers to his water-spotted glass.

“Done shot hisself in the head with a .22 pistol.”

The father and son say “an old dog” at the same moment.

 

June Issue- Week 3

June 18, 2013

SockIt-1

by Laura Jean Schneider

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at the campfire’s edge
where light falls into silence    
we cherish our dark
that gives life to your secret
and leaves mine forever dead

Tyson West is a 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.

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Who We Are

1.
We are the Wampum Belt-
Open at both Ends –
Still
Weaving Our Story.

We are the Sacred Drum.
That- Resilient Beat-
Pulsating
Within Mother Earth.

We are the 7th Fire-
Ignited by our past -Carrying the
Light
For our Future.

We are the Cedar Basket,
Sewn from the Roots of the Universe-
Forever
Expanding Our Spirit.

2.
We are the Survivors
& Revivers.

The Relations of the Forest-
& Educated by the Sun.

We Rise- like the sturdy Green Cornfields –
That Kiss the Cranberry Dawn.

We are the Deep Red Ocean-
Flowing within the Arteries –
Of Turtle Island.

3.
And-Yes.

We Swam through the Blood Soaked Tears-
Traversed the Wave over 500 Years.

The Unmarked Graves have Scarred our Dreams-
Long Walks & Trails- across the Icy Streams.

Those Boarding Schools and Reservations-
Malefic Schemes to encourage Limitations.

Mountains of Pain Shielded by a Smile-
Sometimes Surviving – means living in Denial.

Lethal Storms- Rain down like Shattered Glass,
Broken like Treaties – Amnesia of the Past.

Hair & Language- detached by foreign Hands-
But they both Return –as should Usurped Lands .

Our History & Journey- Carved from a Shell-
They do Not spill Oil-only Mark our Life’s Trail.

The tribe of Human Beings -is Who we Are-
Because All of Us- Revolve around the Same Star.

A Ceremony of Condolence –Is how We All Must Begin-
This is life’s Round Dance – a Circle with no End.

Larry Spotted Crow Mann
is a writer, performer, Nipmuck cultural educator and citizen of the Nipmuck tribe of Massachusetts. He serves as the Drum Keeper of the Tribe which is a sacred trust. Their group is known as the Quabbin Lake Singers. He travels throughout the United States and Canada to schools, colleges, pow wows and other organizations sharing the music, culture and history of Nipmuck people. He has also given lectures at universities throughout New England on issues ranging from Native American Sovereignty to Identity.

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Cowgirls Factory Blues

Rising before the electric rooster crows,
Before the sun hugs the earth,
Ella slides out of bed
With an aching hip
Giving old Whiskey Breath a nudge
As he grunts and swears
In the same ritual every morning
For the past forty years as
She sets the chipped porcelain kettle
On the flame
To brew a morning cup
Sweetly reminding Larry
To fetch his own damn vittles, dear,
Feeding her leftover biscuits and bland gravy
To the little doggies
Before riding away in a dusty Mustang
To that brick and steel hold
Where she lassos washers and bolts
Head counting and time keeping
To the beat of her own twang
Until the workers in the factory embrace
Mosey out of the gate, single file,
Roaming free through the night,
While Ella stretches and cracks and creaks,
Thankful for her short journey home
After a wearisome day
On the urban range
That trounces too many spirits
Before the final ride off into the sunset

Denise Janikowski-Krewal is a Midwestern poet and writer of short fiction. She currently lives in the Milwaukee, WI area, and can be found at “the lost beat”where she collaborates with her cousin and fiction writer Tom Janikowski.

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Retreat From The Willamette

by Rodney Nelson

a family I knew began to go apart

when mother and daughter moved to Cascadia

                     dark little mountain hamlet

                     of woe in the rain oh woe

 

father and son remained at what was left of home

and in the bowling alley no one had to talk

and the river was up and had to get higher

but what did it have to do with the family

who reunited every weekend in a

                     dark little mountain hamlet

                     of woe in the rain oh woe

 

a Mormon-redneck town or just redneck-Mormon

of work and no chatter where the pine trees were high

and still growing on yew-ess twenty all the way

and the family had nothing to add either

as they waited out the fall of Sunday in that

                     dark little mountain hamlet

                     of woe in the rain oh woe

 

 

June Issue- Week 2

June 10, 2013

Drinking With the Angels

I don’t claim to be an angel

But I know

I’ll be drinking with the angels when I go

Now, I’m not claiming to be free of sin, nor pure

But there’s one thing that I know for certain sure,

When my time is up here’s what I plan to do:

Before I go I’m gonna have a drink or two

I’ll have a short one for the road, then one for you

I’ll have a chaser for my friends

And maybe while

My elbow bends

I’ll raise a toast to Mom and one to dear old Dad

And when that’s gone I’ll maybe pour me just a tad

To toast the gone, forgotten times

Then, as the midnight hour chimes

I’ll stand the house a round or three to say goodbye

Before I head out to that Big Bar in the Sky

Now, where I’m going, well there ain’t no closing time

And all the spirits in those bottles are sublime

And every hour is happy hour

The angels toast each meteor shower

And the tab you’re running’s stamped Eternity

So pardon me

If I don’t claim to be an angel

But I know

I’ll sure be drinkin’ with the angels

I’ll be drinkin with the angels when I go

Judith Mesch reads like a fish drinks, total immersion, that is, from an early age through a late and lingering adolescence, and wrote feverishly through my teens. Then I stopped writing, stopped reading very much, too, for decades until a few years ago when I started writing bits and pieces, then some light verse, a couple of short stories a little flash fiction.  I have two children’s stories epublished on Amazon for Kindle and on Smashwords by Twenty or Less Press.  They are actually kind of country, “The Strange and Wonderful Cornfield” and A Circle of Frogs”.  I had a few pieces published in ezines and a children’s poem in Off The Coast Journal.

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Scars

by Dawn Schout

The rough

spot on my knee

from when I fell off

my first pony

onto gravel after taking

a corner too fast.

A thin, pale line

above my elbow

where my horse kicked me

on my bare skin.

A darkened line on the edge

of my cuticle

where Destiny stepped

on my toe before he died,

the pain remaining

after he’s gone.


Furrowed Sky

by Dawn Schout

Long rows of clouds look ready for planting.

If plowed by constant gusts

of wind, stars will start to push through.

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

Prospectin’
You slimy ol’ scoundrel!
Keep comin’ after me
I dare ya! I double dare ya!
You sleazy ol’ geezer
Tryin’ to rope and outwit me
And my buddies
You got a few of ‘em and
I’m still mad as hell
There ain’t no forgivin’
I’m gonna kick your teeth in
And give your arse some scars
You relentless sucker!
I hate your pigeon liver guts
And yer billy goat tenacity
(Learned me that word
From a preacher in a camp once)
Keep comin’ after me
Like them spikes in a gear
Back to back pot shots
Missed again! Ha!
You squirrely varmint
Y’ almost got me this time!
I reckon you’ll catch up with me
One day
Until then, piss on you…Death!

 Denise Janikowski-Krewal was born on the south-side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and raised with a blue-collar upbringing. Her varied work background includes years of writing technical correspondence. She is passionate about storytelling and researching genealogy. Please check out her official website at: The Lost Beat http://denisejanikowskikrewal.webs.com/More of her poetry is available on the lost beat blog

June Issue- Week 1

June 2, 2013

Steerhead-2

by  Laura Jean Schneider

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SHAWNEE TRAIL

Come all you young cowboys so young and so hale

And I’ll tell you what happened on the old Shawnee Trail.

Come listen beside me and I’ll tell you the tale.

I got me a job for pretty good pay

Bein’ a wrangler for a rancher, the name of Bob Gray.

Taking ponies to Sedalia for a dollar a day.

 

We rode out one morning, the cowboys and me

Captain Gray lead us all, on his mare named Marie

My pal rode a paint, the one named Pawnee.

That horse was a killer, but we didn’t know then

How that paint had hurt more than a dozen good men

He would throw a good rider, time and again.

 

When that rider was down, God it was sad

That horse would go crazy, plum ravin’ mad

He’d stomp on the rider, and kick him real bad

Til the rider was dead and mashed in the ground

That horse wouldn’t stop but just whirl all around

And stomp the poor cowboy, that was there lying down.

 

That horse was smart; he would wait for his time

He’d be fine for a while and then turn on a dime

He’d spin like a top when commitin’ his crime

And then he’d start bucking, my God what a sight

He’d heave off the ground, goin’ high as a kite

No cowboy could ride him, you couldn’t set tight.

 

Captain Grey told my pal, “Don’t ride him you see

Just leave that damn paint horse to someone like me.

‘cause I’m gonna shoot him, I damn guarantee.”

Maybe my pal was too foolish and bold

He just didn’t believe in what he’d been told.

He said,” That horse is fine, he jist needs controlled

 

I am really your man, I aint terror struck

I’ll soon see if this outlaw can buck

If he tries to throw me, he’ll be down on his luck”

And he saddled the paint and with the ponies we rode

My pal seemed to have him, he didn’t explode

He seemed to be calm, like in a church mode.

 

Well we herded those ponies like they had wings

Until we got south of the town Baxter Springs

Now I seen some sights and some terrible things

But nothing prepared me for the sight I would see

When that damn paint horse started his spree

He spun and jumped higher then a goddamn dog flea

 

He was bucking and screaming like a mad grizzly bear

That was roused from his sleep and come from his lair

My Pal couldn’t stay on him, he hadn’t a prayer.

He reached for his night latch, to help himself stay

Screwed In the saddle, this wern’t child’s play

That paint was on his hind feet, when the saddle broke ‘way

 

The latigo busted and my pal hit the ground

And that paint was on him in one single bound

A kicking’ and stompin’ my pal who was downed

There was blood on the saddle and blood on the ground

My pal was a yellin’, a terrible sound

But that damn horse was still on him, he wasn’t unwound

 

 Bob Grey rode up yelling, “get out of the way

Cause this is that  Devils Goddamn last day”

He pulled out his pistol, a Colt forty four

And 6 shots went off with a hell of a roar.

That Paint went down, all covered with gore

He won’t kill no riders, not anymore.

 

But my pal lay dead there right next to that horse

Their blood run together as a matter of course

All in a pool as if from the same source.

In all my life, I seen nothin’ worse.

All we could do was stand there and curse

Our hearts was sad and filled with remorse.

 

We buried my pal right there on the trail

Wrapped in a blanket, his face was so pale

And over his grave the coyotes would wail

The bones of the Paint still mark the spot

So when you ride by, your horse at a trot

Jist give my pal more than a thought

 

Some horses are killers, that’s all I can say

And if you find one you best stay away

You may try to ride him but it’ll be your last day

On the trail near that pile of rottin’  horse bone

Listen to the south wind with its sad moan

And think of my pal, lying there all alone.

Merle Grabhorn is a rancher living in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Yes, he does own and ride a horse, and yes, he drives a pickup truck down dusty dirt roads. And like all ranchers, he diversifies, growing wheat, soybeans, and milo, along with the hay that the cattle need in the winter. 

His family came west by covered wagon in the 1850s and homesteaded.  Some of his family drove horses and cattle along the Shawnee Trail.   This trail is the South West’s eastern-most, earliest south-north trail.  Before the railroads crossed the Mississippi River, Texas cattle were driven east to New Orleans. When the Pacific Railroad terminated in Sedalia, Missouri, cattlemen found it easier to take their cattle north. Using the rails, cattle could then be shipped to slaughter houses in St. Louis and Chicago much quicker than when traveling by ship from New Orleans.  Horses could be driven north on the trail and sold to the Army in Sedalia.

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

First Choral Sonnet

 

Now penetrators concentrated stones

Of silver pierce in shafts with sharpened picks,

Mining her guts, as mother Tellus groans,

In rival disembowelment to affix

Themselves. These delvers, axing depths, intent

On access to the earthen entera

Of ore, all rupturing her fundament

In rock, would argentine phenomena

Confirm. In Gaian innards grubbing, down

Toward the inmost domain of bowels they dig.

They’d shiver fundatorial earth, her brown

Intestines breaching where the find is big.

The pithiest sinuosity, fulfilled

With argent marrow, must be mined and milled.

Second Choral Sonnet

Nevadan cavers excavational

Evisceration speed in Davidson,

Where fissured strata, fused with mineral

Profundities, afforded by the ton,

Are struck. As burrowed indentations spread

In deeper ores of pitted danger, so

Interior horrors must be hazarded,

For ground spates shoot into the mines below

Five hundred feet with permeat magnitude

In steam. Thus noxious burrows, nether bound,

With vapid calefaction are imbued,

Where delves are veins with fervid trouble found.

Indented Davidson is disemboweled,

Down where her hollowed viscera unfold.

F. L. Light has written many sonnets and this piece is from his drama Bonanza Mammon Booms, a drama of the Comstock Lode, which is set in Virginia City, Nevada. The protagonist is William Sharon, principal of the Bank of California branch in Virginia City. The Lode was about two thirds silver and one third gold. Virginia City is now a tourist site. Alex Hyde-White, a well-known actor, is producing Mr. Light’s translation of *Oedipus the King* for Audible.com. *Antigone* and *Women of Trachis*, performed by other actors, are now listed there.

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