The Passenger

Old cowboys don’t die

They board planes and fly away

Run down boots, no spurs

I picture his horse

Long put out to green pastures

Bent neck and swayed back

The man still stands tall

Smelling of leather and dust

Old straw hat in hand

I wrote this while waiting in line at a Southwest gate in Dallas. The photos aren’t great–I was trying to be surreptitious.

Parade

She sat on the tailgate
of an old green Ford,
her narrow denim clad hips
wedged between an Igloo cooler
and a box of faded red rags.
Scuffed boots swinging.

The whoop whoop of a siren
heralded the coming display
of a starched color guard,
eliciting a respectful salute,
grandparents demonstrating
flag etiquette for the young.

Then came beauty queens smiling,
perching precariously on the
pinnacle of a tissue paper
decorated semi-trailer in gowns
of taffeta, satin, and lace.
Tiaras glittering in the sun.

She waved at those high school
princesses, pulling funny
faces to make them laugh.
That was her talent, after all.
Hardly anyone took her
seriously as the parade passed.

Marching bands from rival
schools vied for favor
as the sun heated the summer
Texas day; twirlers in spangled
shorts tossing batons inspired
ooohs and ahhs from the crowd.

Reaching inside the battered
Igloo, she dug deep, found an
icy cold Schlitz and disguised
it with a red rag. The Baptists
sitting at the curb on either
side would cluck if they knew.

A string of politicians came next,
esconced in the finest vehicles
the local car dealers could offer;
bright smiles plastered on their
faces as their well-coifed wives
wilted in the climbing heat.

Following close behind came tykes
wobbling on bikes, spokes decorated,
festooned with ribbons and crepe
paper and baskets overflowing
with flags or stuffed animals. She
called out each name as they passed.

Finishing her beer, she craned her
neck to see tractors and combines in
John Deere green compete with those of
International Harvester red in a show of
the latest in agricultural technology.
The parade’s low point, she thought.

At last she heard the clip clopping of
hooves on the WPA bricked street and the
bright clanging of a bell, as the old cowpoke,
Zeke, sang out. Smiling she popped the top
on another Schlitz, hopped down from the
rusty tailgate, and joined the parade.

High Horse

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Are you only passing through
Or will you stay for awhile?
Either way get off your
High horse and come
Dance with my friends and me
Drink some good wine
Tell us a story and
Sing us a song.

I can’t tell you how much
We enjoy new folks like you
And your horse, Stanley, is
Pretty cool, too.
Tell me, does he dance?
Neigh, neigh, but he
Reigns supreme in
Hay rides and parlor games.

If you decide to move on,
Could I maybe go, too?
My travels have been
Brief and far too few.
That depends, ma’am,
He grinned as he said,
On Stanley, you see he’d
Have to carry both me and you.

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Rudderless Horse

Playing with words:

A rudderless horse
A riderless ship
A butterbug and a ladyfly
Two conepines and a pinlinch
A bump that goes “thing” in the night
Beaver eagers and fly soxes.
As for Jomeo and Ruliette
A nose by any other name would still smell.

Continue reading “Rudderless Horse”