December 2013- Week 2

December 10, 2013

MikeHudson

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

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MY CHARISMATIC COWBOY

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

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

the kiss.

Thank you for traveling through time.

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

within the here is.

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

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Stage Coaches

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

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

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

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

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Horse, pony, colt, filly waiting for a cowboy

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

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

October Issue- Week 3

October 14, 2013

monsoonrainsSanPedroValley

Monsoon rains of San Pedro Valley, “The territory comes alive after the rains, everything turns as green as you can see.”M. C. (Mike) Hudson was born in Tombstone, Arizona and has lived and loved the life of a cowboy for most of his life. He is an ex-bull rider, who has lived to tell about his experiences, and has helped train youth to ride bulls. As a pastor of a rural church and setting in SE. AZ Mike has worked many of the larger ranches in Arizona and New Mexico, gathering cows, doctoring, sorting, branding (cutting-seems to be the job for a pastor) and roping. He is also embarking on a journey into writing poetry and prose, and was chosen for the October 2012- week 3. You can spot his photos all about CPP if you just explore…

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THE COUNTRY MILE

Mixed with tobacco juice
And red summer clay
It came from the edge
Of the cornfield
The clout that soared
Past the unplowed field
Smashed into the red barn
Scattering the cawing crows.

Clinton Van Inman (TBA) 

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APACHE

“When I was young, I walked all over this country;
east and west. I saw no other people than the Apache.
After many summers, I walked again, and found another
race of people had come to take it—how is it?” -Cochise

We wished only to speak sunlight into our hearts.
To follow mountain spirits toward ‘The Giver of Life.’
To own nothing, and everything—bow to no man.

Now, our mesquite and cactus are barren. We carry
life on our fingernails and wait to die.

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.

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The Alien Invasion Tapes, #87

It was back in ’63 they set down in my wheat field, and I was too damn angry to be scared. I knew that crop was gone and it wasn’t a thing anyone could do about it. When they come out of their spaceship—no, no it wasn’t a door that swung down like on a castle,
but a giant car door, like on my Buick?—they come out, three of ‘em no taller than my knee,
and just stared at me, no expression in those big glassy eyes, no sorrow for what they done to my field.

“We come in peace,” they said without sayin’ it out loud but I heard it in my head, and I looked at my flattened, withered wheat and said, “The hell you do.”

Have you ever seen mangled wheat, the stalks cracked, the feathers singed? A whole season: It’s enough to make you cry. And I did, standin’ in the middle of my broken field with those three aliens, wellin’ up, the door to their giant ship propped open, a sickening light pourin’ from inside and slicin’ across my barren field like a knife. They do somethin’ like rock, paper, scissors and one come over and tells me I’m supposed to be some kind of alien ambassador. 100 acres, gone, the exhaust from their craft fellin’ my crop like a tornado, the shoots fallin’ like dominoes, like ambushed soldiers, the stink pourin’ into my nostrils.

“You fellas best be on your way,” I said as patiently as any man who just lost his livelihood can, and for the first time they look around. Sure I think they’re doin’ damage assessment, conjurin’ a way to bring the wheat back, and I picture those fuzzy stalks risin’ like an army of mini Lazaruses across the dead plain, work hard to send that image to them with my mind. But they’re fixed on somethin’ else now, and it’s Tessie, comin’ toward us, haunch-slow, jaws workin’, wheat cracklin’ beneath her bovine hooves. I point to her, my prize heifer, shake my head and give them a firm “NO!” But Tessie and the aliens, they’re starin’ at one another, stock still, as if hypnotized. And even today I wonder what they said that made her walk right past me, through the blade of sharp light and into that shiny crop killin’ machine: You’ll be happier with us, He don’t appreciate you, YOU are the true alien ambassador. So that’s how I lost my wheat and my cow in the same hour.

The man from the insurance company, he don’t believe me, but I know you do. You see this stuff all the time, so I was hopin’ you could talk to ‘im, tell ‘im about the giant car door, the two-foot Martians, a prized cow that trundled, hooves clickin’, into another dimension.

Dorene O’Brien has appeared in the Connecticut Review, Carve Magazine, Connecticut Review, New Millennium Writings, The Cimarron Review, the Chicago Tribune, Detroit Noir and others. She has won the Red Rock Review’s Mark Twain Award for Short Fiction, the New Millennium Fiction Award, and the Chicago Tribune Nelson Algren Award. Her stories have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, and she has won the international Bridport Prize and has received a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Dorene’s short story collection, Voices of the Lost and Found, won the USA Best Books Award.

June Issue- Week 4

June 24, 2013

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

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

by Ray Sharp

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

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

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

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

 

Under an August Moon

by Ray Sharp

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

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

 Previously published in vox poetica, September 1st, 2009

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Old Dog

by Laura Jean Schneider

 

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

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

The son glances down at the filthy linoleum.

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

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

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

Tomorrow, thinks the son.

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

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

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

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

“Nope,” the father says.

“Old Smith, he done offed hisself.” 

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

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

“That’s ’mpossible,” says the father.

“He was over here,” says the son.

 “When?” the uncle asks.

“‘ ’Bout four. Four, huh?”  

The father stares at his son.

“Sure, four,” the son nodded.

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

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

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

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

 

June Issue- Week 2

June 10, 2013

Drinking With the Angels

I don’t claim to be an angel

But I know

I’ll be drinking with the angels when I go

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll have a chaser for my friends

And maybe while

My elbow bends

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

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

To toast the gone, forgotten times

Then, as the midnight hour chimes

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

Before I head out to that Big Bar in the Sky

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

And all the spirits in those bottles are sublime

And every hour is happy hour

The angels toast each meteor shower

And the tab you’re running’s stamped Eternity

So pardon me

If I don’t claim to be an angel

But I know

I’ll sure be drinkin’ with the angels

I’ll be drinkin with the angels when I go

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

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Scars

by Dawn Schout

The rough

spot on my knee

from when I fell off

my first pony

onto gravel after taking

a corner too fast.

A thin, pale line

above my elbow

where my horse kicked me

on my bare skin.

A darkened line on the edge

of my cuticle

where Destiny stepped

on my toe before he died,

the pain remaining

after he’s gone.


Furrowed Sky

by Dawn Schout

Long rows of clouds look ready for planting.

If plowed by constant gusts

of wind, stars will start to push through.

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

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

June Issue- Week 1

June 2, 2013

Steerhead-2

by  Laura Jean Schneider

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SHAWNEE TRAIL

Come all you young cowboys so young and so hale

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

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

I got me a job for pretty good pay

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

Taking ponies to Sedalia for a dollar a day.

 

We rode out one morning, the cowboys and me

Captain Gray lead us all, on his mare named Marie

My pal rode a paint, the one named Pawnee.

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

How that paint had hurt more than a dozen good men

He would throw a good rider, time and again.

 

When that rider was down, God it was sad

That horse would go crazy, plum ravin’ mad

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

Til the rider was dead and mashed in the ground

That horse wouldn’t stop but just whirl all around

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

 

That horse was smart; he would wait for his time

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Just leave that damn paint horse to someone like me.

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

Maybe my pal was too foolish and bold

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

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

 

I am really your man, I aint terror struck

I’ll soon see if this outlaw can buck

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

And he saddled the paint and with the ponies we rode

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

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

 

Well we herded those ponies like they had wings

Until we got south of the town Baxter Springs

Now I seen some sights and some terrible things

But nothing prepared me for the sight I would see

When that damn paint horse started his spree

He spun and jumped higher then a goddamn dog flea

 

He was bucking and screaming like a mad grizzly bear

That was roused from his sleep and come from his lair

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

He reached for his night latch, to help himself stay

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

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

 

The latigo busted and my pal hit the ground

And that paint was on him in one single bound

A kicking’ and stompin’ my pal who was downed

There was blood on the saddle and blood on the ground

My pal was a yellin’, a terrible sound

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

 

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

Cause this is that  Devils Goddamn last day”

He pulled out his pistol, a Colt forty four

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

That Paint went down, all covered with gore

He won’t kill no riders, not anymore.

 

But my pal lay dead there right next to that horse

Their blood run together as a matter of course

All in a pool as if from the same source.

In all my life, I seen nothin’ worse.

All we could do was stand there and curse

Our hearts was sad and filled with remorse.

 

We buried my pal right there on the trail

Wrapped in a blanket, his face was so pale

And over his grave the coyotes would wail

The bones of the Paint still mark the spot

So when you ride by, your horse at a trot

Jist give my pal more than a thought

 

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

And if you find one you best stay away

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

On the trail near that pile of rottin’  horse bone

Listen to the south wind with its sad moan

And think of my pal, lying there all alone.

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

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

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First Choral Sonnet

 

Now penetrators concentrated stones

Of silver pierce in shafts with sharpened picks,

Mining her guts, as mother Tellus groans,

In rival disembowelment to affix

Themselves. These delvers, axing depths, intent

On access to the earthen entera

Of ore, all rupturing her fundament

In rock, would argentine phenomena

Confirm. In Gaian innards grubbing, down

Toward the inmost domain of bowels they dig.

They’d shiver fundatorial earth, her brown

Intestines breaching where the find is big.

The pithiest sinuosity, fulfilled

With argent marrow, must be mined and milled.

Second Choral Sonnet

Nevadan cavers excavational

Evisceration speed in Davidson,

Where fissured strata, fused with mineral

Profundities, afforded by the ton,

Are struck. As burrowed indentations spread

In deeper ores of pitted danger, so

Interior horrors must be hazarded,

For ground spates shoot into the mines below

Five hundred feet with permeat magnitude

In steam. Thus noxious burrows, nether bound,

With vapid calefaction are imbued,

Where delves are veins with fervid trouble found.

Indented Davidson is disemboweled,

Down where her hollowed viscera unfold.

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

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