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

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

 

August Issue- Week 2

August 6, 2012

Landscapes

Never did I dare to dream of deserts,
how they, too, collect things
and arrange them into collages:
Red pebbles mistaken for grass,
cacti growing in hardened earth
not on big box store shelves,
brazen palms touching the sky
without a sea in sight,

and trees I could never name
more glorious than magnolia and pine
who dare to show winter what it means
to be alive.

Telly McGaha is a native Kentuckian who fell in love with the Southwest after visiting Texas and Arizona. His work has appeared in Assaracus, Vox Poetica, Referential Magazine, and Vwa: Poems for Ayiti. His flash fiction, Patches, was the 2008 Hayward Fault Line Competition winner and appeared in Doorknobs & Body Paint.

***

Picket

He saw someone
do this in a movie. Wants
to try. She obliges.
Saddle shifts to the left
when he pulls
himself up onto the horse.
She hands him his guitar.
He strums,
looking intently at the strings,
pudgy fingers lost
in them. She stays
on the ground. Even the horse
seems confused, reins
draped at his sides.
Lowers his neck to graze.

She gave
him what he wanted.
All he sees
is the old, plain
guitar he doesn’t know
how to play.
It’s like she’s not there anymore.

She walks to the barn,
climbs to the hay bale closest
to the rafters,
her hair just below
spider webs, ideas weaving
in her head.
He’s not there anymore.
There are horses, acres
of lush, green pastures, picket
fences to keep crazy men out.

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.

John H. Dromey was born in northeast Missouri. He’s had a byline (for brief, humorous items) in over one-hundred different newspapers and magazines. Once upon a time he had light verse published in Grit, Hoofs and Horns, Light, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. His cartoons have appeared in Bowhunter and Farm Antiques News (no longer published).

WORDS SPOKEN BY SPOKANE GARRY
AT THE DEDICATION OF HIS MONUMENT
SPOKANE, WA August 25, 2011

Proud am I that you
Children of my children
Stand here today honoring
Our stiff necked resolution
To fancy dance and wail to pounding drums
Carry our feathers and totems
Against the white fangs of Mickey Mouse and Barbie.
You have not forgotten bones of our ancestors
Line trails from the northwest.
Buffalo soldiers following yellow haired men with shoulder straps
Hanged a few of our braves
Who died like warriors – slaughtered our horses
These slaps were nothing
To crude tribes of peasants fiercely fleeing
Dandy dukes and counts and princes
To ravage and reshape our mother
Dam up her rivers withhold the red ocean fish
And turn the canyon where I died into 18 smooth grassy stretches for a German farmer’s son
To chase a hard white rubber ball
In a put put cart
Smiling whiskey on his breath.
May this construct of basalt pillars and metal work magic medicine
Reserve our dry ground
Cold swift rivers so we may
Breath cool mountain air
Over tongues speaking Salish words that
Ancestors entrusted to us.

Tyson West 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.

June 2012- Week 3

June 19, 2012

JOHN TWOGUNS’ MEDICINE

When my people come I will rise up,
hard eyed, hard armed, hard bellied,
in the colors of war,
in the markings of a warrior,
with the weapons of a man.

The sun has set in my eyes.
Winter has settled in my hair.
My belly hangs over my belt
like a crest of old snow.
I smoke white cigarettes
and cling to my plastic cane.

But, I have seen my people come.
And I have risen up,
hard eyed, hard armed, hard bellied,
in the colors of war,
in the markings of a warrior,
with the weapons of a man.

Edna Running Elk wakes me,
her thin arm across my chest,
her brown eyes shadowed by sleep,
murmuring, “It was only a dream, John.
Only a dream. A dream…”

H. Edgar Hix is a Minnesota poet who has been publishing poetry for around 40 years. His work has appeared in over 100 journals, including recent appearances in bear creek haiku, Waterways, Time of Singing, Priscilla Papers, Crack the Spine, Mutuality, FutureCycle, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal . He has published one poetry chapbook, The Saint Cloud Café and Motor Inn . You can also find his flash fiction ‘Mary Had A Big, Bad Wolf’ in Z-composition, April 2012 Issue.

The Trials Of The Messenger

If you follow the canyon trail down,
the blunderbusses will pick you off.
There is absolutely no cover
save for a few pomegranate bushes.
All is visible through the branches.
If the pragmatic blasts
can reach across this divide,
you’re connected to your apprehension.
Any litter you’ve collected won’t save you.

Colin James has poems forthcoming in Pyrokinection, Nazar Look and Eudice. He has a chapbook of poems
available from Thunderclap Press. Formally of the UK, he now resides in Massachusetts.


THE EARTH WITCH

It is the right time of year to search for the Earth Witch. I once found her lair. It is past the subdivision with its orbit of builders’ waste and tires. Past a ring where teens throw beer cans and cats abandon litters. Past a fisherman’s trail, where two old lawn chairs face each other, holding conversation in the woods. Beyond the green briars curling from the soil like cruel whips. At the lakeshore,
you get the feeling of being watched. Time is remote–you can feel the swell of the earth. I once spotted tall figures walking along the far shore. It was the Crane People. I watched them awhile silently, until early darkness surprised me. Then I cut across the thickest part of the woods, parting the vines with a stick. The forest opened up ahead. Before me, an ancient oak stood covered in ciphers.
A zigzag arrow: snake. Eight-rayed circle: spider. Many Xs and markings I can no longer recall. Hanging from the branches were knotted cords of small skulls– opossum, rabbit, skunk. I crossed a circle of stones blackened by ceremonial fire. Stepping quiet, knowing an Earth Witch received her visions here–once, long ago.

M.V. Montgomery is a professor at Life University in Atlanta. His third book of poems, What We Did With Old Moons, will be released by Winter Goose Publishing this November.

June 2012- Week 2

June 11, 2012

THREE OF THE WEST

   GARY ELDER                                                                                                                
   BILL HOTCHKISS                                                                                                          
   LEN FULTON

I rode with one of the men to meet
another on the Sacramento
and the trailers of winter rain cloud
were smoke to me 
        and up the valley
into the foothills to see a third
at a compound of wood smoke and in
a week I would think to kill myself
                      and among
big metacowboy men
of the West were Elder and Hotchkiss
and Fulton and easy toward one
another and with me
        if not the
America behind the rains of
nineteen seventy-nine and I saw
the two that only time
                      the winter
I rode a truck with one and watched and
listened to who were men of the pen
and older than I and had done more
        and in a week I
would think to go to Coronado
and kill myself and did not and of
the winter three
                      no one’s on the bay
or the river or in the foothills
and I the living am elsewhere but
the California part of me
is wondering what they will write next
        not thinking
of Coronado Bridge

Rodney Nelson work began appearing in mainstream journals long ago; but he turned to fiction and did not write a poem for twenty-two years, restarting in the 2000s. So he is both older and “new.” See his page in the Poets & Writers directory
http://www.pw.org/content/rodney_nelson
for a notion of the publishing  history. He has worked as a copy editor in the Southwest and now lives in the northern Great Plains. Recently, his poem “One Winter” won a Poetry Kit Award for 2011 (U.K.); it had appeared in Symmetry Pebbles. His “Upstream in Idaho” received a Best of Issue Award at the late Neon Beam (also England). The chapbook Metacowboy was published in 2011, and another title, In Wait, is due this year.

Dead Bolt

Purple thunderheads climb the horizon.
Maria sits alone in the kitchen, the house dark,
muggy as the front room at Taylor’s mortuary.
Randy starts to the refrigerator, but reconsiders,

easing into the chair opposite the wall.
She lets her thoughts rumble in her chest, distant,
building in the west, driven by the heat.
When finally she opens her mouth, sentences

slam against the windows. Her verbs
are wind, her proper nouns lightning.
He feigns indifference to storm. Her hair, matted
to her forehead, is splayed like rain beaten wheat.

You need to brush your hair, he interrupts.
She throws a salt shaker at him. It clatters
against the chili pot on the stove. He shoves
the table and grabs the pepper shaker.

She runs for the bathroom and slams the door.
He kicks her chair. It clatters across the kitchen floor,
and spins to a stop against the dog’s bed.
She dead bolts her heart; steel clicks against steel.

Al Ortolani is a teacher from Kansas. His writing has appeared in a number of periodicals, across the United States: *New Letters, New York Quarterly, The English Journal, The Midwest Quarterly *and others. He has three books of poetry, *The Last Hippie of Camp 50* and *Finding the Edge,*published by Woodley Press at Washburn University, and *Wren’s House*, recently released from Coal City Review Press in Lawrence, Kansas. He is active with the Kansas City Writer’s Place and an editor with *The Little Balkans Review*.

Week One-

[click on image to enlarge]

‘In The Saddle’

Scott Welch is a living breathing Texas cowboy and rancher who works his land before and after he works a full-time job. This photo was taken while Scott was out riding one afternoon; it’s the perfect example of a birds eye view of the cowboy on the trail.

***

THE GALVESTON FLOOD

My grandfather went hand-over-hand
on a barbed-wire fence
with a table tied to his waist
and my grandmother tied to the table
because she couldn’t swim.

Hand-over-hand, man.
That’s Texas.

H. Edgar Hix is a Minnesota poet who has been publishing poetry for around 40 years. His work has appeared in over 100 journals, including recent appearances in bear creek haiku, Waterways, Time of Singing, Priscilla Papers, Crack the Spine, Mutuality, FutureCycle, and Vine Leaves Literary Journal . He has published one poetry chapbook, The Saint Cloud Café and Motor Inn . You can also find his flash fiction ‘Mary Had A Big, Bad Wolf’ in Z-composition, April 2012 Issue.

***

[click on image to enlarge]

John H. Dromey was born in northeast Missouri. He’s had a byline (for brief, humorous items) in over one-hundred different newspapers and magazines. Once upon a time he had light verse published in Grit, Hoofs and Horns, Light, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. His cartoons have appeared in Bowhunter and Farm Antiques News (no longer published).

***

ANIMAL MYTHS

Crows fly in unwavering lines,
snakes eventually go blind,
and elephants trot off to die.

Fish can shut their eyes to sleep
crocodiles forlornly weep
and moles can sort of see.

The eel has two beating hearts
barn mice grow up into rats
and birds listen for worms.

Worms turn into lightning bugs
bears give suffocating hugs,
and hippos sweat real blood.

Running horses stay aground,
honest men could once be found
who’d never put another down.

M.V. Montgomery is a professor at Life University in Atlanta. His third book of poems, What We Did With Old Moons, will be released by Winter Goose Publishing this November.

***

All the Pretty Horses
—for Cormac Mc Carthy

June 1st and it finally stopped
snowing. It’s been a month
since I’ve seen a bluer than blue
cornflower sky stretching
overhead between mountain tops
whose rent valley gloves
still show fingers of snow
pointing downwards.

I drive past the Hi Ute Ranch
on the Kilby Road
where all the pretty horses
graze and I have to stop the car
to watch as they frolic,
running with the wind
and I can’t help but think
of Cormac Mc Carthy’s novel,
and I sigh with remembrance
at his pensive and provocative prose.
His use of Spanish without translations.

The horses are pastured behind a split
rail fence near a strong runoff
stream of rushing water—
snow melt tumbling and falling,
rushing and frothing from higher
up the valley forming a creek
with a little falls, and then
pooling into a good-sized pond.

I want to write about the west,
about horses and tycoons, gamblers,
cowboys, river men, trappers,
gold diggers, and the Plains Indians,
the nomadic tribes of the Arapaho,
Cheyenne, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa,
Nez Perce, Coeur d’Alene,
Sioux and Shoshone.
Most of all what I’d have loved being:
a rancher, homesteading
cattle country in Colorado
at the end of the 19th century.

But when I set pen to paper
all ideas vanish
like smoke signals
trailing upwards,
which makes me wonder
if these internal images
and feelings shouldn’t stay inside,
once you’ve already lived them.

Nina Romano earned an M.A. from Adelphi University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University. She is the author of two poetry collections: *Cooking Lessons** by Rock Press, and Coffeehouse Meditations,** from Kitsune Books. She has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She *is the co-author of *Writing in a Changing World. *Her latest poetry collection, *She Wouldn’t Sing at My Wedding,* is forthcoming,from Bridle Path Press. Her short story collection*, The Other Side of the Gates, *will be published by Kitsune Books early 2013.
More about the author here: http://www.ninaromano.com

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