October Issue- Week 4

October 22, 2013

chuckwagondinner

‘Chuck Wagon Eats’– “In my many journeys as a chef: Boy Scouts, trail drives, camp outs etc., I’ve made Hatch Chili Stew, and most recently for a crowd of twenty in the Pine Barrens while hunting down the Jersey Devil.” Managing Editor CPP, Elizabeth Akin Stelling

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

JAYHAWKED

Send Kansas to me in a sun shower.
You said you’d come home with a rainbow.
Don’t want fraidy hole siren hook echoes—
or thunder god flashes of ego. I want scissor-
tails clipped to a windshear, to clear me a path
through your switchgrass. No rope-jumping
Jayhawk squawk-tongues in a squall, or campfire
myths hawking ghost rain. I’m that torn-stalk
sunflower you stuck like a pig in a hog wallow
next to a cornfield. I want flag-side-up roses
round a two-story soddie near an artesian spring
in the tallgrass, with a fresh holstein heifer rich
on alfalfa hay staked-out next to a new butter
churn. Or I’ll muster a posse to lasso your ass
to the dilated tail of a wall cloud, and hog-tie
your spurs to a rodeo bull—spinning pirouettes
through a herd of wild mustangs.

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.

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

MEETING UP AT EARL’S

The goldstone glitter of Gallup doesn’t
Begin here, but native vendors
Shine walking through Earl’s Café,
Route 66, offering art with pride:
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise and Kingman,
Zuni Petit-Point, Red Coral, Spiny Oyster Shell,
Lapis, Horse-Hair Pottery, Heishi Beads.
“Silver’s shot,” the Navajo artist says,
“Can’t touch the price so we work
With copper, sell it cheap.”
Spirit-lined woven rugs: as the weaver finishes
The rug, she leaves a white wool thread in the corner
Welcoming dreams of the next rug’s design.
Sumac baskets fetch gas money to travel home.
Animal fetishes and mud pots grace tabletops.
Red and green chili, corn tortillas in
Buffalo pottery and blue water plates.
Warm bread pudding for dessert. Greenthread tea.
We amble outside – vendors sitting at card tables,
Laughing, selling Concho Belts, Dream Catchers,
Cell Phone Charms. “So, where are ya from?”

Elaine Dugas Shea has lived in Montana for several decades, but still misses the ocean. She enjoyed a career in social justice working with American Indian Tribes and civil rights. Her writing is featured in Third Wednesday*, South Dakota Review, *the anthology *The Light in Ordinary Things, *the anthology *Hope Whispers, *Front Range Review, CAMAS, Spillway*, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, the anthology When Last on the
Mountain: The View from Writers over Fifty, Montana Voices Anthology and elsewhere.

LarrySpottedCrow1

He begins with his Native Nipmuck tongue-

Wunne-Nog-Kishkoad-Tuonk! “Greetings, glad you’re here!”

I had the honor of attending the AWP 2013 Association of Writers and Writing Programs in Boston a few weeks ago and here Larry Spotted Crow Mann say this in person. He belongs to a group, WHIM Old School Indian Reading, featuring Monty Campbell, Jr., Barbara Mann, Paul Hapenny, Stephanie Elliott, Larry S Mann- and most used their native American names. Meet the new Indian Movement: W.H.I.M. (Woodlands Horizon Indian Movement for the politically correct and Woodlands Hotties Indian Movement for those who can still laugh). This multi-genre reading panel is comprised of Old School Woodlands Indians who read from their works and Larry Spotted Crow Mann performed the sacred drum song.

Hearing Larry play and sing a drum song was AWESOME! It was moving. His book is also moving.

Tales From the Whispering Basket is a book for all ages. Plain and Simple. His stories drafted from long passed down oral stories of generation Nipmuck to Nipmuck child from family and friends should be a task admired. I am currently collecting my oral memory stories told at gathering and from my own family members, and it is a hard  task to compile details without muddling them up. Children should have this book in their hands, I would say reading ages and up. You may laugh when I say this, but it is in big print compared to some books I have in possession- a plus for the over 50 crowd (and I am smiling, but hey its true!)

The book starts off with a very well written introduction and goes into short stories- Deal Me In is a great read for those of us who like a slice of mystery with our slide of hand. A stranger knocks on the door while his Nipmuck clan play cards…  Once again, a great read for young and old alike. Three more stories, and I don’t want to give it all away, then he goes into telling the story of how baskets play an important role in his tribes history and I suspect many tribes history. It is a heartwarming story which chronicles the journey of a sacred Nipmuck basket and how it affects everyone who come in contact with it; speaking real and painful issues facing native people yesterday and today.

Now to the meat- Larry’s Poetry- ‘I Have Been Here Before’…

…Ah Yes,
I have been here.
Half eaten worms have joined forces to extricate the nonbelievers.
Sanity stored and hidden in the usual place.
Hidden to self, for itself…

Gems of prose are weaved throughout each piece, like his ancestors baskets, and stories. Before I saw Larry read, I had wondered how I could bring the Native American tongue to these pages. Not wanting to be all about the great American Cowboy heroes, I am glad he consented to sharing his voice within Cowboy Poetry Press. Not because I feel the cowboy and Indian need to stand side by side, but because the culture is rich and should be shared, and in that way stand side by side.

Everyone’s side of the story needs to be told. I want to wipe out the old western shows which stung my mind with false history, eradicate Hollywood’s crap, and sit within the pow wow of my own native heritage (Cherokee Nation) and soak it all in. We can all learn from past mistakes to blessings. Larry’s book is one of many I hope to bring to the circle.

Larry’s book is the first of his journey into writing, and quite a delightful read, as said a few paragraphs ago, for young to old ages. Visit his website, Larry Spotted Crow Mann- Whispering Basket, where you can purchase his book and read more! We hope Larry will graciously submit works, along with his other brothers and sisters I met at AWP!

BasketBook

Photo from top of reveiw, above, was  willfully and graciously given for use by Larry Spotted Crow Mann for use on Cowboy Poetry Press site, no one has permission to take it for their own personal use. Permission must be given by photo owner, Larry Spotted Crow himself, written permission may  be made through his contact on Whispering Basket website.

Photo on bottom, above, is proof the author Elizabeth Akin Stelling, managing editor of Cowboy Poetry Press, whom read this book; if you notice, my computer corner and bed coverings could not be totally edited, the book finds no rest on my nightstand.

February 2013- Week 3

February 18, 2013

Untitled-2

“illo: cowboy-coat=scratch.
It’s well known that an artist becomes more popular by dying, so I’m typing this with one hand while pummeling my head with a frozen mackerel with the other. I’ve done art for several magazines, newspapers, websites, commercial and governmental clients, books, and scribbling – but mostly drooling – on tavern napkins. I also create art pro bono for several animal rescue groups. I was awarded the 2004 James Award for my cover art for Champagne Shivers. I recently illustrated the Cimarron Review, Stories for Children, and Still Crazy magazine covers. Take a gander ( or a goose ) at my online gallery: _www.angelfire.com/sc2/cartoonsbycartwright_ (http://www.angelfire.com/sc2/cartoonsbycartwright) . And please hurry with your response – this mackerel’s killin’ me! Your pal, Steve Cartwright

Heartache and Pards

His words were plain and to the point,
“Sometimes this life just sucks.
She does her best to throw ya down,
She boogers and she bucks.”

The cowboy knew the trail I rode,
The steep and rocky way.
I came for lies and platitudes,
But truth was all he’d say.

“You’re gonna hurt a good long time,
Ain’t nothin’ can be done.
You’ll ride awhile in blackest night,
Before ya see the sun.

The pain you feel ain’t nothin’ new,
Just look around, and know,
That scores of riders up ahead,
Have passed the way you’ll go.”

His thoughts were far from comforting,
Not what I came to hear.
His kindness smoothed their edges though,
And helped to calm my fear.

“There’s some will buckle to the test,
Some barely make it through.
But you, you’re tough. You’ll be just fine.
I’ve seen what you can do.

Remember that I’ll be right here,
When livin’ feels too hard.
If you should ever need a friend,
Just holler for yer pard.”

Debra G. Meyer’s was born in Brooklyn, New York, where she spent the first 10 years of her life. Her family then moved to Crane,Indiana. Debra married in 1974 at the age of eighteen, finished her education at Indiana State University in 1977, and by the age of 30 had two children and a job teaching elementary school. She wrote my first cowboy poem in 2007 after visiting a cowboy gathering in Fort Worth, Texas. Now 57 years old, have a small farm in Putnam County, Indiana, still teach school, and absolutely love writing cowboy poetry.

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

GUN FIGHT AT THE DIAMOND K CORRAL

It was one of those days at the ranch when you sensed something was going to happen—something fun but probably slightly dangerous. Grandpa, Uncle George and I were gathered on the back porch of the Bachelor Shack. On the agenda was a shooting match with the usual hyperbole regarding one’s expertise. Grandpa raised the ante to a bottle of Uncle George’s Courvoisier to the winner or, in the unlikely event that he lost, the same prize which he would obtain at the bar of the Rogers Hotel in Idaho Falls. Grandpa was generous and offered Uncle George a small victory sip. My uncle was “powerful annoyed” because first his cognac was dearer than life and second there was a strong possibility that his Dad would out shoot him. Furthermore his Dad knew exactly how to gore his ox. The shooting was over before it started. It wasn’t even close as the “hawkeye” punctured ten out of ten tin cans at 75 yards.
Uncle George was very unhappy and Grandpa was doing his best to restrain his gloating about his smashing victory. We retired to the front room of the Shack. I found an old seat out of the way and at a respectful distance from the combatants. Uncle George and Grandpa sat on the cots facing each other. They downed the bottle of cognac and then the conversation and its volume escalated. The egregious acts which followed became the stuff of legends.
Taking casual aim Grandpa shot a hole near the bottom of one of Uncle George’s gallon cans of honey and the resultant flow was spectacular and catastrophic. Then without a pause he shot a bottle of Hennessy where it had rested a long time under its owner’s savoring glance. Uncle George was furious—he had lost two bottles of cognac and a can of honey.
Before outrage set in, Grandpa was heading down the road with remarkable speed toward the ranch house. According to a reliable source, he ran upstairs and hid in the closet.
Within seconds Uncle George burst through the door shouting,
“Where is he? I’m going to kill him.”
In her customary calm voice Grandma said. “Put down the gun, Junior. You know he didn’t mean anything.”
Uncle George was still indignant, “Didn’t mean anything!” He detailed the damages and his grievances.
Grandma raised her hand and declared, “There will be restitution. Now put down the gun!!”
Uncle George did and the crisis was averted. In a few days Grandpa was seen heading toward the Bachelor Shack with a gallon can of honey and two bottles of Courvoisier—-a special affirmation of the wondrous love between father and son.
Later Grandma asked me to recite the events of the great shoot out. She listened and pronounced, “Those damn fools. They could have killed my grandson.”
I replied, “Maybe not Grandma, I was ready to duck.”

Michael J. Keyser in his formative years spent summers and other free time at the family ranch, the Diamond k located in southeastern Idaho. He graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in English. While there, he won the John B. Wanamaker Prize for Excellence in English Composition.

Mr. Keyser served as the President of the American Cancer Society, Cuyahoga County Unit. He was also a Park Commissioner in Hudson, Ohio. For several years he served on the Board of the Summit-Portage County Health Systems Agency.

He also has published four works of fiction. His hobbies are writing, walking and woodworking. Mr. Keyser is very active in his church with outreach ministries serving senior health facilities.

December- Week 2

December 10, 2012

Call The Fire Joe

Cookie, I know your dark drinkin’ secrets
But you got no notion of mine
So we can talk around this dying campfire
While the moon limps down like a three legged coyote.
I don’t care if some fruity song writer
From New York City claims out here we call the rain Tess, the fire Joe and the wind Maria,
The embers of this fire is burning out nameless
While we hang this last bottle of whiskey
And rehearse our eulogies for its funeral.
Our campfire don’t need no name
Not like our buddies
We drove with on yesterday’s trails
And who are the dust we choke on today.
Cookie, you got even more grey whiskers and fewer teeth than I do
These young bucks snoring away in their bedrolls
Couldn’t handle the whiskey or the truth under this clear black sky
Nor are they even going to appreciate that some of the stars is missing
Since they can’t see yesterday’s sky.
That Jimson boy rides frisky and free reminds me
Of my pardner Joe just after the war
Same strawberry blond hair and easy laugh
We shared many a bottle and many a hard dirty ride
And many a lady at Miss Lucy’s sporting house
But we could only share feelings up to that line
That a real man draws
For fear he will be less of a man.
There was them two ladies
Miss Susan and Miss Elspeth
That Joe and I would pass back and forth
Neither was any great looker
Not like some other younger slim fillies Miss Lucy kept in her stable
I’d go upstairs with Miss Susan and Joe with Miss Elspeth and next payday we would trade across
Older and a bit stockier
They still looked perfect after the whiskey started playing the piano.
They conversed about more than the coins
And the arrival of the next stagecoach
They could see the magenta in the sunset and puce in the cactus blossom
If we weren’t cowboys and needin’ to drive the herds up this Goodnight Loving trail
We might have ridden with them on a good night lovein’ trail of our own
A few cows and an couple quarter sections
Miss Susan could almost see the lace of the sins in my soul
And loved me anyhow
Cotton Eyed Joe
Where did you come from?
Where did you go?
I know where my Joe rode off to
We buried him in Wyoming
Too far from a town to carry his body
I’ve always wondered if I knew then
What I learned in all those starry nights
Silent except for the dust and the voices of the cattle
That there ain’t no great eye of God watching us
Or even if he was
Would even care how close Joe and I could have gotten.
Fearing mostly the scorn of the other young men who was thinking they was going to live forever
And the whuppings from our daddy’s
We high tailed it from any feeling that a silk dress is something purdy
Not just the body of the lady that’s wearing it
After all these years of hard saddles and even harder women
I just wonder if there was some soft place we was missing
Where we might want to bed down for a while
Some place near cool water
Before I sleep with Joe under this hard prairie soil.

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.

October- Week 4

October 23, 2012

Bareknuckle

He wrapped a bandage tight around his battered knuckles
to stanch the flow of blood. His buddies ponied up
the cash to keep his pitcher full of beer, their chuckles
inviting him to tell again about the whup

he’d laid on that there thief, the way he went and slugged
the noisy little dude that interfered with his
prerogative to hear the song he picked. While drugged
with alcohol, he’d made it his especial busi-

ness setting matters square by punching out the lights
that darkened his already ugly mood. Fort Knox
would barely cover debts owed on his ranch—his sights
lit on the quarter stuck inside that damned juke box.

C.B. Anderson, the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden, spent his formative years in Blue, Arizona where, in the late 70’s, he worked for neighboring ranchers (Clell & Katharine Lee) at the stupendous rate of $5/day. He has castrated many a bull-calf and eaten the grisly harvest that was grilled on site atop the rusty iron cylinder in which the branding irons were heated red-hot by a propane torch. His poems on other subjects have appeared in many print and electronic journals internationally.

********

The Cowboy Who Counted the Stars

At days tattered close, head nodding to rest
His ride for the day is now done,
He thinks of the hours whose total won’t count
“Cause he only gets paid sun to sun.

His eyes shift above a duster of red
That rakes blowing sand from the wind,
He’s glad day is made but knows in his heart
Before long, another begins.

Reins still in his hand he steps to the ground
Tipping his hat with a nod,
He lets go the cinch to bring back the breath
Then takes stock of the four that are shod.

The dust billows free as he raises a leg
And gives his worn boot a good stomp,
His horse now at ease as it chases the ground
Looking for some sweet grass to chomp.

With care, a brush, and sure measured strokes,
To her mane and her flank and her withers,
Sweeping tangles and brambles, knotting the tail
She speaks thanks to him when she shivers.

Deep purples and reds are all that remain
Of the sky that was painted pure blue,
The sun cutting west will be dipping below
As night waits to answer its queue.

Hobbling his mount to the picket line
He knows she’ll be safe for the night,
Covering his traps with a dusty ole tarp
Resting easy, ’cause all is put right.

Upon a soft meadow his bed is unrolled
Then he studies a vast sparkling sky,
He asks if there was ever a count,
Of the stars ’cause it takes a sharp eye.

Repeating the question for no one to hear
Thinking, “Cowboy, now how can this be,
That no one has counted the lights in the sky
Are they leaving it all up to me?”

Begin the tally from a well-chosen point
Should you have to start over it’s plain,
The northern star on the handle shines bright
To preface your celestial domain.

The counting established with nary a slip
He knows he’ll not stop ’til its penned,
With thousands to reckon he can’t miss a one
At least, that is what he intends……

Darkness now past, the camp’s in a stir
As the riders crawl out of their rolls,
Saddles are creaking, horses are speaking
Big Augur recalls these poor souls.

Rousted from sleep, he’s not quite awake
As he raises an eye toward the heavens,
He remembers the count of nights’ flickering lights
But was sure there were more than eleven……

Robert L. Penven Sr.
70 years of age, the patriarch of a rather large family/grand kids included. He served in the United States Marine Corps from June 1961 to January 1966. Honorably discharged at the time of separation. From 1967 until 1992, and served with the New Jersey State Police as a state trooper. Since the time of retirement Robert has taught tennis under the auspices of the United States Professional Registry, and has been employed as a finished carpenter and later years an assistant to an airplane mechanic. Hobbies are many, aversions are few. He likes writing stories and poems, and this is his first real publication, but he did submit poetry to his college magazine in 1975 and it was published for the benefit of the student body, probably not so much for himself. Now you know more about Robert Penven than you probably should.

*******

October- Week 3

October 16, 2012

‘Liquid Cowboy’

Michael Baca is an art teacher in New Mexico and also Cowboy Poetry Press Art Editor in his spare time, outside of his own painting and sculpting.

*******

Cloudbusters

by Rosalyn Marhatta

Gloria held happiness
in a blue calico bag
resting between her breasts,
those crests of flesh spilling
out of a brown linen dress
hiding a corset and pantaloons
of French flowered lace.

She marched to the tune
of the Pied Piper of Mirth,
to the dance of chance
to honeyed notes of a sonnet
pressed in a book
in a secret pocket
where love’s call rang out,
out of tune.

Her smile chased clouds
from the sky till the crops
went dry. Then the cry
for rain brought the rainmaker
to town, a cloudbuster with bluster
and a mustache he’d stroke
to stoke passion in young women.

His words were a potion
and Gloria fell into his pocket
for burnt kisses, promises
of wind chimes on a prairie porch,
a mule to pull the plow,
a child to tug at her pink
gingham skirt.

She never spoke sorrow
till that rainmaker came
to steal her calico pouch,
sack her pocket of poems
with his kiss of bliss,
then run to chase rain
in another sky.


********

Memory and Sacrifice

I can still smell
the kerosene lamps
in my father’s house,
their soft glow
illuminating
my grandmother’s
harmonium like dusk
in late summer.
The top was cut down
for the journey
across the plains―
the excess wood
first to be burned
along the trail.

Justin Evans was born and raised in Utah, but now I live in rural Nevada with my wife and three boys, where I teach a variety of subjects at the local high school.  I have been in the military, graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in History and English Education, as well as a Master’s Degree from University of Nevada, Reno.  I have published four chapbooks and the full length poetry collection, Town for the Trees (Foothills Publishing, 2011).  I have poetry forthcoming in Weber—The Contemporary West.  I also edit the on-line journal, Hobble Creek Review.

*******

Dakota

I buried Dakota in her favorite dress,
calico snug, said a prayer that I’d never
have another daughter born in a black blizzard.
I looked out over the clay gullies,
the impossible fossils rising like
hands. Flung her floppy sunhat over
the empty coulee. The dog barked.
In time, her pups would fetch it, bring it
back to the ranch. As if they knew something
by sheer dog sense. I looked East,
prayed for sorghum and flaxseed,
sunflower and milk-veined maidens.
Saw Dakota in the parting lips of clouds,
low and moving over drought and badlands,
saw her pantomime and sway
before the young moon,
her voice over the Cheyenne,
over cottonwood and willow
gently mocking me, the way it did
when she pressed my hands to her cheeks,
she, so numb from the cold, from chasing
the sheep that strayed. On top of this
bare hillside, I looked everywhere,
hoping for a sign of the next harvest.
It would keep me above ground,
this body of sod, mind of open spaces,
for another year.

Kyle Hemmings is the author of several chapbooks of poetry and prose: Avenue C, Cat People, and Anime Junkie (Scars Publications). His latest e-books are You Never Die in Wholes from Good Story Press and The Truth about Onions from Good Samaritan. He lives and writes in New Jersey.

August Issue- Week 4

August 20, 2012

‘Fire’

Alice Humphrys resides in Florence, Texas on the family ranch helping brand and manage their horses along with dogs, sheep, and many other livestock.

*******

Way Back

Snow in an empty field hovers like a thick layer of fog
over dull green and brown grass in need
of the sun’s restoration. Rivers of snow
collect, the rest of the field brown, bare.
Another field is white, the snow’s covering
sporadic, choosing the places it touches.
Tomorrow it might be gone. For now it lingers
with months of refuse—plastic bags hooked
on corn stubble, boxes that were buried by snow.
Water, high in ditches, currents strong,
sounds like rustling bags. She removes
her white hood, frees
her long brown hair, unzips her jacket,
lets it flap when her horse gallops.
Hoof prints indent the malleable ground, leave
a new trail beside the old.
She is a torn bag left in an abandoned
field, miles from home,
trusting a weary horse to help her
find her way back.

Dawn Schout’s poetry has appeared in more than two dozen publications, including *Fogged Clarity*, *Glass: A Journal of Poetry*, *Muscle & Blood Literary Journal*, *Pemmican*, *Poetry Quarterly*, *Red River Review*, and *Tipton Poetry Journal*. She won the B.J. Rolfzen Memorial Dylan Days Writing Contest, the Lucidity Poetry Journal Contest, and the Academy of American Poets’ Free Verse Project. She lives near Lake Michigan.

*******

Driftwood

Driftwood is a sane representation of the human condition.
Its withered flow speaks to us of the ‘ragged glory of time’.
We’re dull, grey, and smoothed out, as the driftwood, made
to solemnly wash up on anonymous shores;
a sage artifact of the ‘general passage’
that delivered us.

Dan Hedges
teaches English in the Sir Wilfred Laurier School Board of Quebec. He has also taught at Sedbergh School, and the Celtic International School. He has lived in international locales, including Spain and Mexico. His writing has appears or is forthcoming in The Monarch Review: Seattle’s Literary and Arts Magazine, Ditch Poetry, The Maynard, The Camel Saloon, Wildflower Magazine, Rigormortus, Fortunates, Inertia, Crack the Spine, Short-Fast-and-Deadly, Coatlism Press, Whole Beast Rag, Marco Polo Arts Magazine, Kenning Journal, The Rusty Nail, Wilderness House Literary Journal, Retort Magazine, Certain Circuits, Touch Poetry, Poetic Diversity, Haggard and Halloo Publications, Jones Avenue Quarterly, Blink Ink, Greensilk Journal, Literary Chaos, Subtopian Magazine, The Euonia Review, Undertow Magazine, The View from Here, Nazar Look, The Apeiron Review, and Mad Swirl. Dan is the editor of a literary collective called Humanimalz.

Dine With Pat

Food & Dining in the Garden State

campfireshadows

Western short stories, heritage and trail recipes.

The Blank Page

Confronting Writer's Block