Monthly Archives: February 2019




Facebook loading chutes,
peckerwood and pipe
from another time:

bob-tail horse trucks
tilting steep and slick

that haven’t changed
when it rains
familiar profanities

from unclear skies.
I have outlived
their usefulness.


Up Canyon



More low snow on Dry Creek last night, 0.27” of rain from a fast moving storm that has slowed or closed traffic on the Grapevine and Tehachapi this morning. Our hills have been too slick to gather with horses, so we’ve gone afoot the past two days so that we can brand next week.


What happens when you put cowboys in a room to talk politics?



The Guardian





TV insanity,
old men posturing
Twitter and Facebook—
I expect the world
to make sense
like Shakespeare’s last act,
                    not of an age
                    but for all time.

My metaphors are wild
company, retreats
I might better know
in deep seclusion,
tracks to follow
and fill with form
to stand as proof
before me.

Like Slick Sweeney
packing a broomstick
to shoot his buck—
left horns and guts
intact, hide and flesh
looking back
to leap clean away
when he said bang.



Book Remarks: How to Cuss in Western



via Book Remarks: How to Cuss in Western





Low snow up canyon, cold
rain at dawn, vernal pools
in the pasture stand full
waiting for Wood Ducks,
waiting for spring.

Sycamores stripped naked,
their white limbs wave
from across the creek
upon these ponds of water
in the evening sun.

Headlights slash the darkness,
a caravan of jeeps
and 4-wheel drives
whine down canyon—
weary songs back home.





Red, white and blue remind
of the friends who went
and never came home,
and those that did
that can’t forget
who they had to be—

of my father
and those before him
who believed
my Country, right or wrong.
How can I not be proud
of them, yet disagree?

I submit my flag
has been stolen from me,
waved to obfuscate debate
and silence truth.
But I submit my flag
as the genius to create

                    a more prefect Union,
                    establish Justice,
                    insure domestic Tranquility,
                    provide for the common Defense,
                    promote the general Welfare,
                    and secure the blessings of Liberty,
                    to ourselves and our Posterity

in the face of future
charlatans and Kings.
I submit my flag
as the backdrop
for partisan stage plays
where heroes become outlaws.

My Country, right or wrong?





Dry cordwood stacked, I crave
unpredictable clouds of change,
the cold and ice, the hail and rain

and the look of snow-capped green,
black cattle grazing an angry gray—
fancy whiskey in a glass with you

inside, woodstove sucking air to flame.
No matter what the pundits say,
it doesn’t change a thing.


Dry Creek



The Dry Creek is up this morning with a 691 cfs flow @ 5:00 a.m. Midway through our 4-day forecast of 2″ of rain, we have received about a half-inch, with another inch promised. For those interested, current atmospheric conditions make forecasting difficult as explained at weather





Dim light above the kitchen table,
wet wedding rings beneath ceramic coffee cups,
shod horses fidget in the aluminum gooseneck
outside before daylight.

“Are Bud and Monte comin’?”
“Nope, just you and me, Babe,” he grins
showing teeth beneath his moustache.

“Any stars?” she asks. “It’s s’posed to rain,
you know, sometime today.”

“A few holes in the clouds is all,”
as he looks up at the ceiling.

“With a little luck
we ought to make it up the hill
before it gets slick,
get the cattle down
and be home by the fire
before it gets too wet.”

After a pause and long swallow, she asks,
“You know what day it is?”

“Thursday, I think”

“Is that all?” she lets trail on her way to the sink.
“Oh, I’ll be goddamned.

Happy Valentine’s Day!”