With evening G & Ts
we will stare
across the creek
at black hills,
white ash remains
cut by cowtrails—
pink phos-chek trim
between blond dry feed
until it rains
until it rains
We map the burn,
watch the weather,
hope for ground soft-enough
to drive steel posts
for five barbed strands
of Red Brand
because good fences
make better neighbors
for a long time.
No wet redwood reflection, I look past black morning,
scan the radar for a chance the last forecast stalled
before it got away to who-cares-where into the future
on the other side of the Sierras, then search for stars beyond
the gray for an out-of-habit game plan between rains:
soft warm earth too wet to work too far from home.
Forty years ago I slowed, took the Fowler exit off
Highway 99 for Madam Sophia’s neon sign of things
to come my way from the landscape of my palm:
low range of callouses spilling into the deep canyon
of my heart—she read both hands and lit a candle,
saw lots of water in my future and I was glad.
Dawn is gray above the green and last year’s bleached
dry feed, chorus line of sycamores undress white limbs,
show flesh between their rosy leaves to tease a good
hard rain to bring the creek to sweep its cobbled bed
of four-years’ deadfall in a rush to wipe out water gaps:
fixing fences into a future that’s not quite guaranteed.
Fence posts and barbed wire:
obstacles for honest people,
may their tribe increase.
Half full, half empty—
but differing perspectives
to prove fences work.
WPC (1) ‘Half & Half’
Of all the necessary evils strung
across the West, mile after mile
glistening either side of every highway,
every rail, keeping cattle in and people
out: lines of wire and sentry posts
standing between a disastrous mix
of urgencies, a clash of cultures:
the timeless calm of open space
invaded and escaped at seventy.
The better ground fenced between
Frost’s good neighbors, cross-hatched
into managed pastures cowmen dream
will optimize the grass, the grazing—
and of course the breeding: a tangled
trail of testosterone enraged to war,
a crash of skulls, two tons of bellowing
bulls colliding in a storm unwinding
borders for as far as they can.
Most cowboys despise fixing fence—
ride around the long step down
to keep the evil stuff up.
WPC(3) — “Symmetry”
Posted in Photographs, Poems 2015
Tagged Barbed Wire, bulls, cowboys, cowmen, fences, fixing fence, necessary evils, Paregien Ranch, photographs, poetry, testosterone, weekly-photo-challenge