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The Cowboy Poet

Eleanor Livingstone

speaks without a drawl.

He can’t lasso his verses in

        – no flick of wrist

         no quick tug at the line –

even when they stray beyond his range.

Nor does he write love poems

lonesome round the campfire

                                  late at night.


During his long hours in the saddle

inspiration never keeps him company;

and after public readings to a rowdy

saloon audience of gambling men

and good time gals, he don’t collect

                                   no spurs.


No, sir.

The cowboy poet lays it on the line

strictly for cash. He never writes free verse

but wants a large down-payment for materials;

then doesn’t show or take your calls

for weeks. When finally he swaggers in,

he squats down on one heel, pencil

in hand, writes half a haiku, words

and messed up pages strewn around.

He needs tea by the mug-full, and eats

your last Hob Nob; moseys out to take a leak

then says he’s low on couplets, but reckons

he might know where he can get some

cheap. He heads off west, into the sonnet

that is sunset, promising to be back

Friday at the latest, or next week,

to finish off the job.


From Rain Dog No 13 (September 2007)

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