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CLIFTON KING
Carlsbad, California
About Clifton King

 

 

Saturday Auction

That ol' truck jus' couldn't make it
from town to the ranch,
so I pulled in at Charlie's Auction Yard
to let 'er cool down, like I did most every
Saturday afternoon. I cussed and kicked
the runnin' board, then wandered out back
where they keep the livestock.

First time I saw 'er, I knew she's somethin' special.
Oh, she weren't the prettiest, that ol' buckskin Mare,
standin' alone in the auctioneer's pit.
Jus' a wore-out ol' saddle bronc.

I could see right off, she'd been rode hard over the years,
them scars, up an' down 'er neck and shoulders,
from cowboy spurs, jabbin' an' slicin'
for decades, eight seconds at a time.

An' that look in 'er eyes, like she don't trust no one.
But she held 'er head high, kinda proud like,
an' the way she moved,  muscled an' smooth,
I was pretty cert'n she was more than
jus' some ol' rodeo horse, that couldn't
make the next call to the chute.

They called 'er number, but she balked
when the cowboy tried to lead 'er in,
pullin' hard again' the reins and rearin' 'er head,
like she knew this was the last stop,
the last time out'a the chute.

The auctioneer began 'is song, the numbers
weren't big, an' there weren't many takers.
Jus' a fat man that runs a rodeo
south o' the border. An' the guy
from the slaughterhouse, smokin' a big cigar,
makin' 'is bid without even lookin'.
Jus' eight hun'erd pounds of dog food to him.

The auctioneer sang out, "I got
one seventy five, do I hear one eighty?"
The only sound -
that ol' Mare pawin' at the concrete floor.
"Goin' once!"
"Goin' twice!"

Then I heard the bid, "Three hun'erd dollars!"
I turned to see who the fool was, an' realized it was me.
I didn't have but two hun'erd on me, but they took
my word an' a handshake for the rest.

She ain't had a buckin' strap
or a cowboy on her back since.
I never did give 'er a name, jus' call 'er Ol' Gal,
figur' she don' mind.
To this day, I don' know why
I bought that ol' saddle bronc.
Some things ya do.. jus' 'cause it feels right.

2003, Clifton King
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without permission.

 

Clifton told us: I was researching a piece, when I stumbled across a rodeo website. "Saturday Auction" came out of my thoughts about what happens to bucking horses when their rodeo days are over.


About Clifton King:

I am recently retired from the distraction of working for a living. I may now concentrate on my writing. I live in Carlsbad, California, a costal community thirty miles north of San Diego. Not exactly cowboy country, but it is out West. I did spent a few years back in the seventies wandering the ranches of central Oregon in connection with my work. Always felt at home, at peace in that country. I've been writing poetry for about six years. Cowboy poetry is new to me. I like the "real" feel. 

 

 

 

 

 

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