Monday, February 15, 2010

Cowboy Coffee and Cowboy Poetry

Cowboy coffee cooking up on the Chowade River

You know I've always thought the adjective "cowboy" was really just synonymous with bad. Hence, cowboy coffee was just bad coffee and cowboy poetry was just bad poetry. I guess that's why I have gravitated towards it.

But the more you get into cowboy poetry the more you realize that there were some, and still are some, incredible cowboy poets. I challenge anyone to read through "The man from snowy river" and not feel that euphoria when the kid rides over the side of the mountain and catches the herd safely on the far ridge. That comes from more than knowing rhyme, rhythm, and the mere mechanics of alliteration - it comes from having lived the life and having connected with the subject matter. It's why I struggle with so many of my heroic poems but am rather adept at writing poems about food, bad luck, and being "throwed".  

I do want to give you one of my latest poems as it captures my affinity for the gaudy retro shirts of the 40's and 50's. It's called

The hundred dollar shirt

I could’a spent the money
on booze or girls that flirt
But there’s nothing like the feeling
Of a hundred dollar shirt

The girls will often leave ya
And the booze just makes you hurt
But you’ll never be mistreated
By a hundred dollar shirt

Oh, I could’ve paid the feed bill,
Or squared up with the vet
But the smell of fresh pressed cotton
Why a fellow can’t forget

With its brocade and its buttons
Why it’s better than dessert
And I’m prouder than a peacock
In my hundred dollar shirt

So when you’re feeling beaten
Whipped by life’s relentless quirt
You’ll find the perfect pick-me-up
Is a hundred dollar shirt

Bright and gaily coloured
Fresh pressed straight off the rack
More like a million dollars
You got hanging on your back

And when my race is over
And they lay me in the dirt
I’m sure you’ll see me smiling
In a hundred dollar shirt

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Please feel free to leave a comment. Ever since old Rebel rolled on me and I've been strapped to this old hospital bed I've enjoyed whatever posts come my way.