October Issue- Week 2

October 7, 2013

Bison_skull_pile_edit

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.

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

Glance Bandit

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.

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

BUS RIDE

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.’

He continues
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 Issue- Week 1

October 1, 2013

Tombstone

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.

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

WHITMAN REVISITED

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

June Issue- Week 4

June 24, 2013

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

**********

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

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

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 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.

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

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

***********

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.

February 2013- Week 4

February 25, 2013

SONY DSC

The Shooting Star

Midnight splendor

Tell me cowboy,

what was your wish?

Stars shoot first

and ask questions later.

Virginie Colline is a French translator living in Paris. You can read her latest poems in

*Seltzer*

*BRICKrhetoric*,

*Winamop and *Yes, Poetry*

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

*/Paniolo/*

by Clark Crouch

He’s a paniolo

on a volcanic range

minding herds of cattle,

it’s really not so strange.

He’s a paniolo

on these, the lava lands.

He’s a paniolo

far from the beach’s sands.

His ranch is quite ancient

from ‘fore the Texasrange;

from eighteen nine ’til now

there’s been so little change.

His ranch is very large…

puts other spreads to shame;

multi-thousand acres

brings paniolo fame.

His ranch is furtherest west,

and off the continent,

three-thousand miles away

on an isle of content.

There on the mount’nous slopes,

his herds of cattle roam.

He’s a paniolo;

Hawaiiis his home.

Aloha paniolo

on the lava lands.

Aloha, paniolo

 

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.

February 2013- Week 2

February 12, 2013

The Lonesome Cowboy

The lonesome cowboy, he’s out on a roam.

With thirty miles of fence to mend, and today’s grown old.

He finds an old cotton tree, says: “Guess here tonight I’ll be…”

He throws down his saddle and poke,

pulls out some hard tack, coffee and a smoke,

and the frayed-edged letter from Maria, the only one who wrote.

The lonesome cowboy, he’ll pass the night away,

The Hotel of a Million Stars, that’s where he likes to stay.

He don’t got no house, don’t pay no rent.

Out on the range, he’s so content.

A new moon’s on the rise, he’s searching the starry sky,

Thinking about Maria, and her boy, who’s got his eyes.

The lonesome cowboy he’s tired, he calls it a day.

Lays down his head to rest, he dreams the night away,

of Colorado, and pasture sweet, tall green grass, wading through waste deep.

On his cow horse with his cow dog, the cowboy drives ’em on,

up to Colorado from New Mexico, he’s dreaming on and on and on.

The lonesome cowboy, he’ll pass his life away.

He’ll be riding herd, and mending fence, he’ll even put up some hay.

He don’t like concrete, it kind of hurts his feet.

His cowboy boots don’t wear even on a street.

There’s just one thing that he wants. That’s to find the love he lost.

He’s whispering to the wind, and he sends her his kind thoughts.

Yea, he’s whisperin’ to the wind, and he sends her his kind thoughts.

Yea, he’s whisperin’ to the wind, and he sends her his kind thoughts.

Going to Maria, Maria…

Espero te, siempre, mi amor, mi amor perdido, Maria…

(I’ll wait for you, forever, my love, my lost love, Maria)

Arthur Davenport’s musical career spans 30 years of songwriting and
performance. He first started playing in the Washington D.C. folk
scene in the 1980’s and then moved on to the southwest scene during
the 90’s while living in New Mexico.

Arthur has been featured on National Public Radio performing his song,
“Lonesome Cowboy,” specially written for a cowboy music compilation
album entitled “‘Round-em Up!” Arthur now lives in Hawai’i where he
has been a house musician at the Hilo Palace Theater for the past ten
years.
************

A LACY VICTORIAN VALENTINE

Sweet Elizabeth
Can you feel the ride and rise of the sun
This mid-February day bucking against
The rusted spur and crumbling saddle of Jack Frost?
We done got the heifers all calved
Mostly in the ice of January nights
I reached into more than one cow
Afraid with the strange pain spewing new life onto the prairie
Turning her calf to touch light.
The coyotes so full of after birth
Gave the wobbly newborns a free pass
To rise and walk with their mothers.
The sun is frisking more each day
And a tired cowboy can hope for a short ride its in warm rays
To ask you to wander with him a while behind the old barn
To that spot I know where the first buttercups each year
Slip up between the patches of melting snow
I put on my new jeans and a clean shirt and my Sunday go to meeting Stetson
Cleaned the mud off my boots and even shined them.
It shore would be nice if you could walk with me
In the mothering breeze near
That weather beaten barn
With its sides testifying for Mail Pouch tobacco
“Treat yourself to the best”
In fading red and yellow painted by a dead hand some half century ago
Persisting like my feelings for you as the years say adios
To yesterday’s yearlings.
I wanted to share this lacy Victorian valentine
My great granddaddy gave my great grandmamma
Here on the ranch,
He warn’t no better with words than I am
But the pink lace and the frills and the buttercups
Would talk his feelings for her a whole lot better than his wind chapped lips
And tongue rusted from the silence of riding alone.

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.

February 2013- Week 1

February 5, 2013

SONY DSC

Ballad Of Rufus Hartz

First time I ever seen her was in the Rodeo parade
Jesse Sue ridin tall by her pa there in the cavalcade
Me I had a right good view, as the clown with the broom and pan
Sweepin’ up them hot horse apples and puttin’ em in the  can.
See Billy didn’t have no sons, his wife a long time  ago
Had run off one night with a deputy come up from  Del  Rio.
Since then him and Jesse Sue they run their ranch  alone
Hunnert and forty acres of hardpan, flint and stone.
Their ranch raised Buckin’ Broncos for to sell to  rodeos.
Mighty tough work, I reckon just ‘bout everyone  knows.
Wranglin’ broncs is cowboy tough and it’s easy to git  hurt
But Jesse Sue and her daddy never minded dirt nor  work.
Now the Rodeo market ever’one knows is pert’ much a bumpy  ride
Billy figured just to be safe, he need sumthin’ on the side.
Now hogs is sure fast money, and raisin’ ‘em aint much fun.
But Big Black pigs will market just under a quarter ton.
Big Blacks, was a new kind of breed
Round here they’d never been seen
On accounta them hogs, while they grow mighty  big
They tend to git powerful mean.
But the brood sow never quit turnin’ out  choats
A reg’lar piggie machine
So when the Rodeo market was cold or flat,
Them pigs paid the bills in between.
They’re fierce them Big Black hogs,
They’ll fuss and fight at the trough
Snarlin’ and bitin’, pushin’ and shovin’
By God don’t them hogs play rough.
So Billy rigged him a feed chute
Then he’d never have to go in.
He’d feed them murderous Big Blacks
Him standin’ outside the pig pen.
Other day I seen her sittin’ tall on her Appaloosa  mare
Her hand above her eyebrows blockin’ out the  glare
Over by the water tank I was hidin’, layin’ low down in  the draw
Of course I weren’t s’posed to be there, on accounta  Jesse’s pa.
He’d ordered me off’n their place and he threatened to  call the law
He’d seen me a’ peekin through the winder of an evenin’  late last fall.
The man don’t understand there aint no harm in a’  lookin’
Watchin’ through the winder pane at a pretty girl jist  cookin’.
Yesterday I seen her it was at Old Gumps Feed and  Seed
Helpin’ her daddy Billy, they was stackin’ sacks o’  feed
Slingin’ bags of horse feed from the tailgate to the  cab
Pigtails shinin’ golden in a shirt of pretty  plaid.
Now Billy’s eye’s don’t see so good, and his hearin’s a  total wreck
So creepin’ round the ranch house is much easier than  you’d suspect
So tonight I’m gonna slip to her winder, jist to  take me a  little  peek,
And watch the pretty fourteen year old get ready to go to  sleep.
Late that night Jesse Sue awakened, them pigs was a  raisin all hell
Somthin’ in  their food shoot she could hear it  clear as a bell
Why was daddy feedin those bruisers there in the dark of  the night?
Then the pigs got all quiet, she rolled over and put out  the light.
The deputy and the coroner lifted what was left to the  ambulance
“Crazy as a bedbug, old Rufus  he never had any  sense.
And whatcha reckon he was doin’ in Jesse Sue’s pig sty at  night
With them hogs was known to be vicious and ever so  quick to fight?”
“There ain’t no accountin’ with a bad sort, one like that  old Rufus Hartz
Ain’t it awful what them hogs has done, ‘specially to his  lower parts.”
Death by accident was the verdict that day at the  coroner’s  inquest.
In a plain pine box the sheriff and her daddy laid Rufus  Hartz to rest.

Gary Ives is a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer who lives with his wife and  two
big dogs in the Ozarks where he grows apples and writes.

You can find more of his work and other ramblings here- Gary Ives

All work appearing in Cowboy Poetry Press is copyrighted and belongs to the author and cannot be reprinted or copied without their written permission. Unless artist is specified all photos and artwork are property of Elizabeth Akin Stelling, Managing Editor of Cowboy Poetry Press; please do not use or copy any of them without her written permission. All others are property of photographer and artists, same applies.

December- Week 4

January 2, 2013

Scents of Christmas

Remembering briefly the scents which pervaded the Christmas Season so many years ago in our one-room sod home back in the Sandhills of Nebraska.

The scents of Christmas filled the air…
the smell of pumpkin pie,
a turkey roasting on the hearth…
with mama standing by.

‘Twas a Christmas to remember,
and enjoy once again
the many scents of Christmas past,
remem’bring way back then!


Clark Crouch
is a self-proclaimed Poet Lariat and a prize-winning western and cowboy poet, author, lyricist, and performing artist. He admits to a bias toward traditional cowboy poetic forms.

The author of eight books poetry, six of which are devoted to western and cowboy verse, he is a two-time winner of the prestigious Will Rogers Medallion Award for Cowboy Poetry and a five-time finalist in the annual Western Music Associations book award competitions. He wrote his first prize-winning poem at age eleven but never got around to writing more until 2001 when he was 73. Shortly thereafter he started writing and performing professionally.

He was inspired by three individuals: Will Rogers who was his hero during the early 1930s; Charles Badger Clark, the classic cowboy poet, with whom he was acquainted in the early 1940s; and Sherman Alexie, a Native American poet, novelist, screen-writer and performer who, in 2001, encouraged him to write his western tales in poetic form.

His poem ‘The Guardian’ was published in CPP’s October 2012 Issue- Week 2

*******

 TWO SHOTS—MAYBE

It was late Fall when Pete and I found five dead Herefords on the bank of the Ranch’s main irrigation ditch. They were gutted.

I remarked to Pete, “There’s only one animal, besides man, that kills for pleasure—the Grizzly bear. “We’ll shoot him tonight.”

We built a shelter, downwind, with a good view of the bear’s most likely path to his victims. I had borrowed a Steyr Mannlicher eqipped with a night sight and Pete, as back up shooter, had his Dad’s thirty-aught-six.

It was not a long wait. Pete spotted him—about 200 yards out—cantering towards us. My first shot was in his gut. He let out a high pitched grunt and in spite of his condition he closed on us fast. He was less than thirty yards away. On the second shot I remembered my grandfather’s dictum—lie still, bring the animal into the cross hairs, hold your breath and squeeze the trigger.

It was a perfect shot through the heart. The Grizz rose up on his hind legs, barked a piercing death rattle and keeled over. He measured out at over 10 feet and weighed we estimated, about1,000 lbs.

After he was dressed out, I visited the Forest Service to fill out a report.

Chief Ranger Bill Burns admonished, “Mike, you’re supposed to obtain permission before you kill an endangered species.”

“Bill, I know, but he’s made endangered species already of five of our cattle.” I did not say what I was thinking: we Wyoming ranchers shoot first and talk about it later. “Here are your bear steaks. I’m returning the Grizz slightly modified into Forest Service custody.”

Bill shook his head and smiled, “You do pretty good dealing with us Smokeys.”

We named the bearskin Jerome and he was placed before the fireplace. For Mary and me the pleasure of his company endured for years.

I reckon that Jerome’s second life was warmer and more stimulating than his first.

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.

Mr. Keyser 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.

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