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

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 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.

December- Week 3

December 20, 2012

SONY DSC

Elizabeth Akin Stelling, Managing Editor- CPP traveled to Hawaii this past fall with a quest to find Polynesian Cowboys, and that she did. A chef and poet and sometime photographer her poetry and photography has been published in Referential Magazine, Tuck, Linden Lit Press, Curio, and many others. (photo taken on south side of the big island of Hawaii).

Fat and Sassy

He laughed when he said

I like my women like my horses

Fat and sassy.

I answered

A little hunger’s not a bad thing.

He said, nah

Fat and sassy’s the way to be.

His wife pointed to her geldings

Turned out together in the arena.

The chestnut with the white blaze and two white socks

And the brown with a little star

Kicking up their heels

In a lively

Dusty

Horse dance.

Aren’t they marvelous creatures

She breathed into the wind.

The most marvelous in all god’s creation.

I leaned on the fence

And I watched with her

And I kissed my mare

On her velvet nose

How a woman does love her horse.

 

Riding Lessons

When I was a girl

I rode horses.

Beneath me

Muscle

Sinew

Coarse hair

Sweat

Horse musk.

Now I am a woman

And I ride young

With equal vigor.

Julia Barrett grew up in rural Iowa. She’s married to the love of her life. They have three amazing children. She’s a writer of poetry and prose, a Registered Nurse and a trained pastry chef. Julia loves to travel and she’s visited or lived in all fifty states. You
will usually find her hiking with her dog or riding her horse. If she’s at home, she’s cooking, baking or writing books. Julia can be reached via twitter: @JuliaRBarrett or her website: http://juliarachelbarrett.net or her Amazon Author page: *http://tinyurl.com/czph8lu*

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.

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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.

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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.

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