The boy watches the men
near the warped-boards corral sharpen
knives, did snuff, judge girlfriend snapshots.
The wintered bulls are trailered,
except for a cancer-eyed Hereford.
The men’s coats and jackets
are draped on corral posts
and a light south wind ruffles
them toward the Dakotas.
The boy owns two words,
Yep and Nope. He rides sheep
to prepare for broncs and bulls.
He wears a hand-me-down Resistol
battered by work and weather.
One man notes the promise of a spring
of slush and mud. The others nod, spit tobacco juice,
and a burly one joshes about a girl gone-to-town.
The men agree... sooner or later everyone
Bleeds: thumbs lost to rope-crush saddlehorns,
Driving on Kessler’s Whiskey to the tune of lost-woman,
Prom night fights... And do you remember
that Keya Paha kid who got the earring ripped off?
The boy watches the men stand, stretch,
and shake their heads at the bull,
good for one season,
now bound for hotdogville.
from the chapbook "The Beef State"
In Deep Bourbon Cover
No one wants to be
tracked down like 35-pounds
of rapid coyote.
I want something luminous-blue...
magical moon or plaid snap shirt,
Bowie knife or edgy horse.
I kick into oblivion hotels,
strapped to jet-black
notebooks of frostry hindsight.
Locate me at the edge
of a a West where no revelation lasts
longer than Great Basin rainwater.
from the chapbook "The Silver State"