Tag Archives: politics

WEATHER REPORT

 

 

Up early, awaiting
confirmation of the storm
slated to rain out plans
to brand calves
without complaining,

                    feeding hay
                    on slick roads
                    to thin cows
                    as grass grows
                    against the cold
                    Winter Solstice.

Nothing on the news
but red and blue politics,
mass shootings
and fog on 99,
ads for fast foods,
wonder drugs
and old age—
not one damn thing
I want. Nothing

                    I can change
                    but feed more hay
                    to hungry souls.

 

JUST ADD WATER

 

 

Nine out of twelve days rain—
ground first to turn green
where an errant spark
blackened hillsides
three months back.

If only most of man’s mistakes
could be as easily erased
by just adding water
to all the bad actors
and their political stage plays.

 

INTO BLACK NIGHT

 

 

There are no dreams like this:
old man learning to go slow
without coming to a stop—

                    hand let run the smooth flesh
                    of a time and weather-worn
                    corral-board table top, sanded
                    and shellacked, splinters sealed
                    beneath to become functional.

                    Scars and crooked fingers trace
                    the deep grain without calloused
                    insulation, a new sensation saved
                    for thin skin that bruises easily.

There are no dreams like this
for whip and spur youth, wide loops
and inflated heroics—yahoo mugs
raised to the wild, to the heavens
howling late into black night
when once I was among them.

 

SONGWRITER

 

 

                           It was always so easy to find an unhappy woman
                           Till I started looking for mine.

                                  – Moe Bandy (“It was Always So Easy”)

Young buck with broken horn
on the scent of an acorn-fat doe
and her two blue yearlings
slipped from the bunch
while the boss was busy—

the urgency and wild design
of “cheatin’ songs” plays before me,
lyrics shuffled and embellished
to fit the dim barroom lights
of my imagination

steals my senses away
from the most recent
political intrigue searching
for music—for a tune that might
sell millions on the truth.

 

 

LEGACY

 

 

Without honor,
without truth,

without charity
or compassion,

all is consumptive
dumbshow.

We have grown fat
on the numbers since

we lost our taste
for words that matter.

Like waiting for a rain
to settle dust

and bring verdancy,
the storms will come

to cleanse this earth
and thunder verily.

 

LIKE ALWAYS

 

 

Little passion in the dry,
hard hills and dust trails—
little fire in the leaves
of sycamores and willows
preparing to undress.

                    No foreplay sure,
                    no long-range rain,
                    we feed more hay

                    and wait with cows
                    growing thinner
                    in the cold,
                    sucked down
                    by growing babies.

We taste the air and search for sign:
manes and tails and moon dog rings—
our annual drama of hackneyed details
we bury our hearts and heads within

instead of the direction of a nation
without honor or integrity—

                    in God we Trust.

 

LAMENT FOR YESTERDAY

 

 

                              I’m an old time smugglin’ man and I know just what to do
                              I sell guns to the Arabs
                              I sell dynamite to the Jews

                                        – Tim Hardin (“Smugglin’ Man”) Verve 1966

Sometimes, the old songs ring true—
clever genius festering a tune
we can sing to our children
before we send them off to war.

Business explodes in the cities
of strangers, in jungles and deserts
we must liberate before we extract
our pound of flesh for the fallen—

and here at home, Dearly Beloved,
just outside the door, down the street
around the corner of the future,
nothing is secure anymore—

not the dollar, not the truth.
I want my old job back: weeding
flowerbeds for two-bits an hour—
knees deep into the rich damp dirt.

 

THE CLIMATE OF CHANGE

 

 

On a cool day in hell
they’re sipping lemonade,
holding court, declaring
God to blame for their sins—

for imperfections of soul,
its hollow room filled
with mirrors of themselves
they took too seriously.

The angels rest uneasily
beside Max Parrish pools
looking down on the ground,
even the old cowmen on the ridge

look away from the wreck,
the collision of words, the cloud
of dust that obfuscates the truth
only time will settle.

How long can we be entertained
by delusion, the dissolution
of civility, of compassion
as the planet prepares

for the business of war—
already overstocked with corrals
of houses stacked upon
the fading fruited plains?

 

OMG

 

 

The foundation crumbles—
the red, white and blue
states of dysfunction

grapple blindly
for another victory,
chip away at truth and honor

just to play in the District
of Columbia. Poll-driven
word games, big dollars

for coffers drive the train—
O’ Casey Jones
watch your speed!

 

Job Security

 

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Unbelievably, only one wire is broken beneath the top of this Blue Oak, a victim of the drought and the high winds from the last storm on the Paregien Ranch. Kubota only, the roads are wet, water running in every crease. It will take at least a week without rain before we can get back in a pickup at about 2,400’, or before gathering horseback. The long-range forecast is for more rain at the end of next week.

Not a business to schedule by the calendar, the three major variables we must contend with are the weather, the market and politics. After four years of drought, we’ve found new extremes to our adaptability, thinking well outside the box of past-experience. Just how we will adapt will be interesting. Furthermore, the cattle market is off about a third of the prices received three years ago, and most producers have had to cull their cow herds so deeply that reduced calf-crops may not cover costs.

No one knows the impact of the current politics, other than markets for almost every commodity will probably not be stable. Additionally, much of the domestic beef business depends on exports, of late reduced by a stronger dollar. With existing global trade agreements under fire, there is perhaps less certainty about the market for beef since the fiasco of the first Dairy-Out Program nearly 40 years ago.

We have plenty of places to busy our hands and occupy our minds as we develop a near-term plan around all three variables of this business. Even though we are at the mercy of the weather, the market and politics, we do have job security, for a while.