Category: Poetry

A Horse is a Horse, Of Course

I was told that the worst sin in cowboy poetry is to rhyme horse with course. So I just had to do it.


When Adam & Eve were in the garden

They took a big bite and then the clouds began to darken

And God cast them out squarely on their butts

He closed the door; he was not interested in any kind of pardon


So they walked with their bare feet to find a new place

Cast out, embarrassed from their huge fall from grace

They struggled with all of the things that they had to carry

Like their dishes, and their tools and big bowls of dates


That’s when Adam invented the rope and made friends with the horse

It really was Eve’s idea in the first place of course

And now they could carry a lot more of their load

They could live far from the water, and find other food source


Over time the horse became one of man’s best friend

Along with the dog, man’s progress ascend

And for thousands of years this relationship grew

But with the industrial revolution it came to its end


About a hundred years ago a new thing came on the scene

First bikes with two wheels, then a four wheeled machine

They could go faster than horses, these new iron beasts

The even made huge ones, that ran on rails and looked mean


That’s when horses became pets, and used just by few

They were put out to pasture, and turned into glue

But cowboys still liked them, and treated them nice

On the range they prefer them, they’re part of the crew


They fuel up on prairie grass, they don’t need gas in their tank

They just need a cool stream from which they will drank

And some say horse gas smells sweeter than exhaust from a truck

A good horse might help you, but they might drain out your bank


You can’t cry for a truck when it’s time is over

Not like the tears you shed for your horse or old Rover

And the ghosts of your Ford, your Chevy or Dodge

Won’t wander the prairie, eating sweet, sweet, sweet clover


I Am a Big Man

I am a big man

But I don’t have a big plan

I live my big life to the fullest

No big regrets, except for that time in Spokane

My clothes are big

My truck is big

I ride a big horse

He needs to be big to carry around my big gut of course

I have a big gullet because of my big appetite

The ladies all say I have a big…


When they see my big feet and big hands

They assume I have big boots and big gloves

I need a big hat to go on my big noggin

My noggin is big because I have big thoughts

I think big you know

It’s because I have a big heart

But I also have a big temper

It’s usually shows up when I encounter big assholes

I grew up in Texas, where they say everything is big

I may not be the biggest

But I’m bigger than most

I’m a lumbering bear scratching his back on a post

I like a big pat of butter on my big Texas toast.

I wash it down with a Big Red because I have a big thirst

I have a big voice that carries afar

And when I need to be quiet, I cap a big scream in a jar

An Ode to Cliven Bundy 

(with a nod to Woody)


This land ain’t your land

This land ain’t my land

‘Cause this is our land

And your cows are outta hand

You’ve used it for years now

But you’ve been given a command

Now it’s time to get them off our land


We let you graze them

And you didn’t pen them in

Across the ranges,

Through the desert sages

Then you didn’t pay your fee

You robbed us equally

Now it’s time to get them off our land


So what if your family

Has been ranching for eternity

The Native Americans

Were there before you and me

And the wild animals

Where there long before us

Now it’s time to get them off our land


Don’t stand there waivin’

Your flag and braving

The federal officers

To push you off our land

You call out all the freaks

And wave your guns around

Standing behind your wives

Your children guard your lives

Just back up and move on off our land


So don’t you complain,

When you feel the pain

Of the federal lawmen

When they take you away in chains

And you put your cows for sale

To raise money for your bail

Our land, will come back to you and me.

Holiday Letter

You only send me a letter once a year at Christmas
And all you do is ask for things
Why don’t you ask how I’ve been?
I’d also like to know how you’ve been
Its not like I don’t know already
I’ve go my sources you know
I’d just like to hear if you think you’ve been good or bad
But no
Every year it is “I want this”
And “I want that”
Most of the time you say please
And the cute way you write
Years ago with crayons, and now with fine penmanship
Well, it warms my heart
So I always give in
I’m a sucker
I bring you what you want
And I am rewarded
Because you always leave out milk and cookies
You’re not so bad after all

Flora & Fauna

You already know the grizzly bear, the lynx and woodland caribou
The Sockeye and Chinook salmon, White Sturgeon, Greater Sage Grouse too
But do you know the lesser ones? The ones that make “the list?”
Such as the Burneau Hot Springs Snail, Slick Spot Peppergrass, Bull trout and Steelhead fish?
The Bliss Rapids snail? The Boreal Toad? Spiranthes diluvialis?
Spauldings Silene? The Snake River Physa? Gulo Gulo Luscus?
The North Idaho Ground Squirrel? Whitebark Pine, or Coccyzuz Americanus?
Idaho is full of rare plants and animals, And that’s what makes it great
The added bonus that we find, Is that they taste great on your plate

Fishin with my Buddy

I wanted some fish to fill up my cooler
So we hooked up the boat ‘cause we heard a good rumor
We headed down to the lake
But first at the store, hit our brakes
Got some beer, and some ice and picked up old Junior

The boat we got in the water was decked out for driftin’
But we had no poles and no hooks and the bait seemed to be missin’
Buddy pulled out a stick of red T-N-T
“You can’t do that!” I said before he lit it and handed it to me
Then he said, “You gonna keep talking, or are we going fishin’?”

Now the game warden didn’t think that was funny
But the locals all knew he sometimes took hush money
So we invited him over
For a dinner of fish and stewed gopher
It’s easier to shut up when you have a full tummy

The warden knew Buddy, he helped put up his Christmas lights
But he needed to discuss the situation with the illegal use of dynamite
He told us we couldn’t do that anymore
Rubbed his belly, and turned toward the door
Then he stopped, burped and and said, “Well, maybe only at night.”

An Utter Disaster

Braided trails converge on the ferry

A slow-moving path on the swift shallow stream

A one-way route of wagons and men

Children and mothers, cows and oxen

Crossing plains, buttes, mountains and lands

Through sagebrush, tumbleweeds dust storms and sand

Walking and riding until we were sore,

Then we got up in the morning, and then walked some more

Dresses frayed at the bottom from walking for miles

Holes worn through the soles of the barely shod child

The Indians watch us, we trudge on in fear

Round the wagons at night, for the demons are near

The first attack came on high ground near Castle Creek

We rounded the wagons, they only prey on the meek

They came at us again, down near Henderson Flat

We could not hold off them then, many died where they sat

Survivors escaped with the clothes on our backs

A few guns and some provisions, at night we made tracks

Along the Snake River, to the fork of the Owyhee

Where we camped and rested, ‘neath the cottonwood trees

Eighteen children, six adults and a young teenage man

Rested there by the river, before some began

To go in search of a rescue, but they met their sad end

Four small children taken captive, the rest dead at Farewell Bend

We folks who stayed behind by the river and were too weak to go

Died slowly of starvation, resolving to forgo

The morals of civilization, and we vowed to eat the flesh

Of the recently departed, lest we too become dead

Eventually the Army came to find us last few

Just eleven of the 44 who started had managed to make it through

But the small ones who were captured and were traded as slaves

Died of torture or went feral, now lost are their graves

The Cowboy Mustache

General Ambrose Burnside had a very manly chin,
But with his sideburns joined up ‘neath his nostrils,
It’s a fail, not a win
Tom Selleck came close, with his thick detective ‘stache,
But Magnum PIs baseball cap just wasn’t a match
ZZTop, Chuck Norris and Dan Haggerty too
All had manly beards, mustaches… part two
There’s the walrus, the Hungarian and the Fu Manchu
The English, the Dali, the Mustachio too
The Handlebar, the Chevron, and the rare Golden Shrew
The Toothbrush that Chaplin and Hitler wore, the Rusty Horseshoe
For a real cowboy mustache we must look different places
They don’t need a horse, but they need different faces
Mark Twain had a good one, as did President Ted
Sam Elliot, Rollie Fingers and Wyatt Earp (He’s dead)
A good cowboy mustache must be thick, dark and heavy
It’s got to catch most of the food he’s eatin’, especially the gravy
It’s important to him in matters of matin’
It’s got to tickle the lips of the damsels he’s datin’
It must look good in bib overalls, a tuxedo or a suit
With a bolo tie, a crisp white hat or when even when playing a flute.
It should smell like a yellow rose, and be softer than barbed wire
But tough enough fend off a spark from a wild prairie fire.
It must be kept clean, and trimmed up nice, even and tight
It must cover a fat lip you got in a bar fight from last night
Yup, only a cowboy can wear such face hair
The only alternative?
His upper lip bare.

Mama Cried

Mama’s Hungry eyes
Mama didn’t let her babies grow up to be cowboys
Mom, Can we talk
Mama, he’s crazy
Pistol Packin’ Mama
Mama tried
Just look in your Mama’s eyes
Mama knows
Mama said “Don’t take your guns to town”
I’m the only hell my mama ever raised
Mama don’t forget to pray about me
Mama cried
Mama sang a song
Mama sang tenor
Mama sewed the rags together
Mama please stay home with me
Give my mother a crown
Mama got run over by a damn old train
Roses for Mama
Here’s a toast for mama
I dreamed about Mama last night