A man named Ben stood on a slope looking at the gates of hell,
He swore they’d never turn back, him and his best friend Del.
They knew the bandits came this way, they’d left a sloppy trail,
Sheriff and posse had given up but they, would never fail.
He reached into his saddle where he pulled some paper out,
Posters of the bandits, who had brought them on this route
There was Crooked Jake a killer who was merciless and drear,
He shot you if you looked at him, his colleges were full of fear.
Then came Baba Barber as hairy as a lamb,
But nothing gentle about this one, he head-butt’s like a ram.
The third was Festus Farlow a man with just one eye,
Yet the fastest gun in Texas causen many a widow to cry.
Ben turned to Del and with a sigh he mounted his beige mare,
Said, “guessen we’d better git started, Del ma frind tek care.”
The two had ridden hours with bandanas on their face,
Which only helped a little, for sand was all they could taste.
Both saw many carcasses and bones, bleached white from sun,
But also knew these badlands are not a place for fun.
All at once Del’s stallion, stood with hoofs boxing empty air,
Sent him flying to the ground, and in a rattlers face did stare.
Now when he fell he’d landed on a hard and rocky bed,
So he grabbed a stone and in a flash, crushed that rattlers head.
Ben had reached for his riffle ready to take a shot,
Knowing the sound of gunfire would give away their spot.
Six days later found cowboys, with cracked lips and weary bones,
Now huddled by the campfire listening to familiar tones.
High up on the rocky hill, a wolf sang to the skies,
His silhouette rare beauty, appeasing to their eyes.
Still sleeping at the crack of dawn, a voice woke them abrupt,
Crooked Jake stood before them, his hand his gun did cup.
He started laughing at the two still lying there in bed,
And Ben and Del were certain, that they would soon be dead.
Now Festus and old Baba, were going through their sacks
Finding pictures of two women, they had just shot in their backs,
Then they took their horses, saddles, hats and boots, sayen
‘’You’s ain’t gunna need these, when Festus Farlow shoots.”
Two good friends were shaking now as a dozen shots rang out,
And when loud echoes finally ceased, dead bandits lay about.
Ben and Del stood in a daze, and checked for bullet holes,
The sheriff and posse had come back, God, bless their souls.
For Isaiah Zerbst Contest:
Cowboys in the Badlands 2nd
Copyright © Brenda Meier-Hans
On The Prairie
Congregated on the prairie western clear with beasts
Cowboy chews tobacco, swirls black liquid, spits
Projectile clean, target hit, lizard quick
Long tongued creature stunned
No time to snatch a timid bug
So much hungry love undone
Reptile rolls over rounded rock pin ball like
Looks both ways before crossing into dark
Cowpoke silhouetted, floated on campfire
Smiles Clint Eastwood style
Slips a small stogie through cracked dry lips
Moves it from left to right
Lights it, inhales harsh life
Jagged teeth, yellow, tinted by time
Clinched while he thinks about old wars
A warrior down to the core
Grins at the beans bubbling up
Old iron skillet and the western sky
Gazes at the long lost stars through smoke
Shakes sand off hat and boots when done
Speaks not a single word
But with a sigh he rises and rides off
Copyright © Earl Schumacker
eyes dart with red
black, white and sepia hue
the horse slows behind
selfish cotton hide
lust, under the pale moonlight
Hearts not meant to be
A mountain covered with dust
Orion's chap- stick
Temptations broken wall
Cowboy makes his mark
Copyright © Poet Destroyer A
Enter a storybook tale
Where I can be
The heroine you hail
Lucid dreams of soft reflection
A touch heated with lust and desired protection
A breathe a gasp as we succeed
Join the fairytale with me
Valiant night within dark eyes
the right movement and I make them shine
like moonlight on the steamy hot spring
care to follow for a little dip with me
Trailing like the water at my fingertips
Grasp me around my hips
As close as the breeze on my skin
Whisper lies as I let you in
Lips mumbling up my thighs
bare heart exposed to the sky
fire burning in my veins
Am I a mistress of this lust or simply a slave
Trembling with desire
Take me till we've lost count of the hours
enter this storybook tale
Where I can be the heroine you hail
Copyright © Jay Loveless
I feel for the miserable day,
They try to take MY gun away…
Copyright © Tirzah Conway
Spurs and Chaps and the Rodeo,
The Smell of Leather and Hay,
Lend a Romantic Excitement
To Being a Cowboy Today.
The Last of a Dying Breed,
These Cowboys Lead a Great Life.
They Travel All over the Country,
But the Majority Have No Wife.
There Isn't Much Room for Commitment,
Except to the Rodeo.
There's Something Way down Deep Inside,
Known as a Cowboy's Soul.
No One Else Can Understand
The Feeling He Has Inside,
And the Unique Excitement,
That Comes Before Each Ride.
Yes, He's a Rodeo Cowboy
His Life Is Lonely at Best,
But it Is in His Blood,
'Till the Day He's Laid to Rest.
Copyright © Connie Moore
Who am I?
Am I defined by what is near in sight?
Am I defined by what I have done,
Or am I defined by what I could become?
Perhaps I'm of no use.
To him, or her, or I, nor you.
Or perhaps I'm too misunderstood to be defined,
And it is something like understanding that comes in time.
And if to the world I'm never shown,
Yet in my own light I've grown and grown,
And so I can know no happiness but my own--
The reason for my smile, to you, will forever be unknown.
I do not pray for the world to know my name.
For it and verse; the letters are the same.
And if a man should find his sorrow in what he reads,
I pray his pain my words to keep.
Should his eyes rain on my page,
Better tears than storms of rage.
And if a man should find his sorrow in what he reads.
I pray his pain my words to keep.
And if to the world you're never shown,
Yet in your own light you've grown and grown,
And so you know no happiness but your own.
Let the reason for your smile, to you, only be known.
Copyright © Kristopher Higgs
Rise at first light.
This cowgirl enters up to ride this day.
She dawns her hat, for this is not any day.
Ready to pay her dues.
The sun will beat down,
hot and hard is how she'll ride.
Into the shoot we go.
The blood pumping, muscles quivering.
Ready to go!
The gate slams open.
Off we go!
My mustang and me,
to round that first barrel.
Away we go!
Rounding our second barrel.
Thundering down to that third barrel.
We round that barrel,
the dust will follow.
With a war cry,
We head down the long path home.
Followed by cheers and jeers,
she crosses the line!
Cowgirl is up and paid her dues.
Copyright © Gypsyof Essence
Subdue my senses like serenities face
a heartfelt happy embellished
his canter skilled with heavens grace
a companionship barley unblemished
except that she rides alone
Into the storm gathering speed
she squeezes her knees tipping her heels
gunning for the feeling she longs to be sealed
unleashed like the fury of a thunders peal
Her saddle steals with shift of weight
her balance for the run
like symmetry never expecting to yield
adrenalin hiking the fearful unknowns
There she rides alone
Her life is cinched an aimless roam
her hunger for the feeling of home
with subtle sounds like flexing leather
is the tearing of her heart like the storms she weathers
carried on waves of an emerald trail
turned wheat in Autumns image
Buckskins beat secures her seat
and gives her thoughts to visage
Though there's nowhere in this world she'd rather be
she can't shake the feeling of the missing
destined to wings that fly alone
no companion for her soul in the cheering
This is why she calls him Tuff
Hedeman in a lady she cowgirl's up...
looks her pony in the eyes
reminding her that the tough don't cry
Just take Bodacious by the horns
knowing "impossible" will not hold the throne
always through pain our courage is born
though every eight seconds she rides alone
She'll keep her head up high
never giving in to the pain
lessons she learned from her hero's
Cowboys Tuff and Lane
Copyright © Sarai Romani
A lone rider sits high in the saddle,
As the horizon's sunrise spreads across,
The open prairie.
Twin pearl handed pistols rest at his side,
As rusty spires clang against wooden planks,
At the deadwood saloon.
Legends cowboys whisper his name,
On the dry desert winds,
A giant of a man whom breathed
Life again into the legacy,
Of the old west.
His side swagger's walk trademark
On the larger than a life screen.
The duke truly represents the great
American hero on horse back.
Six shooters drawn at high noon's
John Wayne's the trail dusts equalizer,
He always remained on the right side,
Of tin stars law.
The tumble weeds rolls along a dirt path,
As tall cactus stand on an arried canvas,
Life here is harsh and mean,
Where only the strong survive.
Bold individuals with the inner
Strength against god's forbidden land.
Harden men whom lived by one simple,
Rule I will do what ever it takes
To stay alive.
He'll join the ghost riders,
Forever driving the lords herds
Across the grand divides vast
Prairie sky’s as the sunsets
In the old west.
Alone figure rides high in saddle,
Set against a legends back drop,
Hell bound for glory,
In a cloud of gun smokes fog,
Behold the duke emerges,
With his hat on straight
And gun at the ready.
BY: CHERYL ANNA DUNN
Copyright © cherl dunn
" Ride Like the Wind "
Off now we go!... horses carryin' us fast~
Down through dust canyons & townfolk aghast~
We rode as a wind from hell we did so~
Knowin' only we knew... not where we'd go~
No answer we had of our tremendous fast flight~
No clues or reason nor practical sight~
Just ride... ride... ride hard & down~
Through canyon's depths & unsolid ground~
'Til we'd seen what... was much as never before~
That o'such... had before been folklore~
Guns quickly drawn & hammers cocked back~
'Twas not courage but wisdom... that which we lacked~
So did end... final ride of the four~
Knockin' then... on heaven's dark door~
So songs were sung & still to this day~
Of cowboys most often we've heard 'em so say~
Ride then ride... ride fast as that wind~
For you know such as that... has been your great sin~
Step from that saddle back to fair earth~
You've proven your courage & so your true worth~
Yet no such thing could ever so be~
For that cowboy must... of all things be free~
Ride then ride... ride fast as your wind~
Damn... damn cowboy... we know what's your sin~
Copyright © Caribbean SeaWolf
Your love pricks me like a rose each thorn grows but no one knows Your so full of
it as it shows so carry on now go on, go. I'm fed up with the phony and i'm
through with the tears, you couldn't pay me all your money to make up for those
years. Someone help me I feel faint how could I think he was such a saint and
worst of all I let me fall into a spiral down below. A magic called love carried
by the dove of someone I use to know.
Copyright © Sam Ruby
Cowboys on a cattle drive
whiskey, sun and song.
Days are hard,
nights are cards,
the rivers run so strong.
dark horse fail,
they say dead men
tell no tales.
and hidden talent
does not count.
Life’s a game,
you raise or fold -
some get gravel,
some get gold…
Copyright © 2013
Copyright © Cole Banner
Up before dawn, his feet hit the floor
He can't pretend to sleep anymore
His clothes displayed neatly, beside his bed
He places his hat atop his head
Today is the day he will pay off his debts
He won't return home with any regrets
The first to arrive, empty stands
Soon to be filled with clapping hands
In the blink of an eye, the parking overflows
With tickets in hand they fill in the rows
A couple of clowns to fill in the gap
An impatient bunch, he can hear their feet tap
Alone in a stable with his hat on his chest
He prays to The Lord, that he will do his best
Peaks around the corner for a glimpse of his opponent
An unstable beast and he has to tone it
Brushes off the doubt and dusts his boots
Exposes himself, "Yeehaw", he hoots
Ready to go, signed the waiver
Cards seem to be playing in his favor
While riding him bare
A split second scare
He regains control
At the delight of his soul
Held steady till the crowd cried
Landed on two feet. It was an 8 second ride
Copyright © Anna Hopper
otra vez,otra vez`
I do, say and say again
I am the rock star of the ring
I risk my life again and again for fame,
Some might think of my passion
As just being poetic and practical
Or simply culture or unethical
However, nevertheless not when my life is on the line
Stronger than a herd of Buffaloes
Faster than the
Speed of a race horse,
He is now broken free of his corral
A streak of fury, rushes me
Despite my fear of dying,
My main focus is to
Take the bull down by its horn
I looked deep into his eyes,
I saw mingling of rage
I carefully swung the cape,
A taunt of furling red
Aiming for its horns
The crowd roars, while
The old ladies sob for the bull
The men cheers for
Salvatore the Matador
Nothing more stimulating than the ladies
with the beautiful smiles
The bull is going to die
Copyright © Annie Lander
Willful ignorance is not bliss, but a coward’s way of surrendering control.
Copyright © Clemon Beverly
My sister said, "Let's go dancing.""Not a chance."
"I don't know how. I don't know how to dance."
"They give beginner's lessons at The Yellow Rose.”
"They'll have a live band to keep you on your toes."
I gave in to her begging and gathered up my spunk.
Those at the Rose were probably already drunk.
So I said, "What the heck; how hard's it gonna be?
Those guys are too busy to watch the likes of me."
In most of my endeavors, it's always been my fate,
there's some hidden truth that I didn't anticipate.
Every song had a different dance, no two were the same.
I stood with eyes popping, thinking this was insane.
"What kind of style is this?" I muttered, watching the dancing.
They were clapping and yelling,, twirling and prancing;
with thumbs hooked in pockets and fancy boots on their feet,
they shuffled, hitched and swayed to a crazy country beat.
Not dancing with one another, they formed a perfect line,
turning and bumping hips and stomping in double time.
They even did a Cha Cha,, a Charleston step or two,
Cheater's Waltz and Black Velvet, twining through.
Sister said, "Come on, let's go!" Well, it's do or die,
maybe I'll flop, maybe not. I'll never know, unless I try.
I wound up teaching beginners at West Side Senior Center,
and at local "Silver Games," became a gold medal winner!
I performed with the gang at nearby nursing homes,
in matching western costumes and sequins in our combs.
Copyright © Cona Adams
Where has the American cowboy gone,
Did he ride off into the dust trails of history,
A faded figure, melting into the last horizons sunset.
Nay, unbridled the mustangs run free now,
No riders lasso, snaps against the winds of destiny,
A legacy's true American hero, has finished the
Last round up.
Hey, you'd better halt there, just one dang gone
Minute, you city slicker, them be fighting words,
That you all have just written.
Hush your mouth now, the American cowboy lives on,
Not on horse back, but behind the steel of the
Eighteen wheeler, copy that you'd better, breaker dude.
Show some respectful pride, to the man whom
Has helped to build, this great nation, we all call home.
Driving down the back bone, of America, in the name
Of glory's flag, believe you me brother, a hard
Road does he roam alone, just to keep house,
And home alive.
For all of the feminine persuasion, yes’s em, mam
He still whisper’s, that same old lonesome tune.
Tilting his ten gallon hat, to all you young misses.
After all the convoy man, is still a gentleman
Beneath his rough hued exterior.
Four horse power to the floor, no more, he's
A hell bound creature, in need, for sixty-fives
Speed limit sign, it keeps the old cowboy inside
Alive, down the highway of life.
Thriving on the adrian rush, of the open
Road to freedom, lying ahead of him, no
Boundaries can hold this man, yielding to
The desire for liberation's winds, blowing
Against the trails of progress.
Steel belted radials, burning rubber across
The asphalt turn pike, get far out of his way,
This true road master, swiftness control at his
Command, excelling beyond the boundaries
Damn, don't you all try to fence this free spirit in,
Or he'll run you down, times dead line, haunts
Him, the devil boss's hounds are biting at his heels,
And burden's heavy load, rests upon those broad shoulders.
The Lord God himself does sit, in the passenger seat,
Beside him, heaven's copilot, for this steel driving man,
Bringing him home safely, to those whom love him,
This the convoy man.
BY: CHERYL ANNA DUNN
Copyright © cherl dunn
I do not know?
Locked in the history through the doors of his mind
Are the remains of an unwritten contract he signed.
The rules he lived by with his own flesh and bone,
Wrote in his blood and signed alone.
An Indian father or a Spanish bride,
The white mans greed won’t alter his stride,
The black mans courage with endurance within,
Mixed with trials errors and mortal sin.
Through the hardship and horses through courage and pain
These are the hands that held the rein.
Annie Oakley, Kitty Wilkins and Bell Star,
Combined lace with leather and created a gender scar.
From Picket, Custer, and Crazy Horse,
These are only a few who would not alter their course.
And those less know on Oregon’s trail,
Who sold all they had and to the west set sail.
Chisholm, Goodnight and French, some of the Cattle kings,
They all are the reason a cowboy sings.
And their blood still flows through our veins,
These are the hands that held the rein.
Forgive them for they knew not what they done,
As they settled the west with hand and gun.
Fought for open space they went through,
Not knowing that greed and politics followed them too.
Restless by nature a curious kind,
Searching for answers they will never find.
An unwritten code he rides for the brand,
It pumps through the veins into the soul of this man.
He gathers those memories and tries to remain,
These are the hands that held the rein.
Writing no letter for he can’t but he would,
To who he’s not sure but it is understood,
There is no place to send it anyhow,
So he saddles his pony and rides for the cow,
Sings a song and says a poem in rhyme,
To cut the quiet and pass the time.
That helps keep the stories of his horse and life,
As he sings of a friend and dreams of a wife.
Through the doors of his mind those memories remain,
For these are the hands that held the rein.
Like shuffling a deck he’s held in his hand
He has gambled his life and made a stand,
And made a vow he will try to fulfill,
With the luck of the draw his blood flows still.
To the next generation, with changes in time,
We still hear his stories in song and rhyme.
And if one more day could be spare
For the songs sung and poems shared
Let him live just one more day,
Let him ride for the brand and draw his pay.
In our future let our history not be in vein,
For our hands are now what hold the rein.
Copyright © A. Kathy Moss