Folks' Poems

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DAN GIALLOMBARDO
Illinois
About Dan Giallombardo
 

 

(Nine untitled poems)

        They come in self-consciously slapping
their ten gallon hats against dirty levis.
        Their horses tied outside in the best tradition.
        Checkered shirts with large pockets,
boots showing the days work.
        Pockets filled and buttoned closed
they stop to ruffle the coat of the dog, then
return to the past.
 

        Rain drenched, wind driven
and cold.
        Levis, hats and Poncho's
soaked to bone chilling levels.
        They sing soft songs to
cattle as they ride through the night.
        These are the cowboys.
        Fire beneath an overhang.
Not enough for warmth. Not enough for coffee.
        Smiles, stetsons, with dripping brims
boots with drops of water shiny and bright
in the fire light.
        A dying breed
these knights of another time.
        And these are the cowboys.

        The air crisp with frost
these men from long ago leave
the warmth of the wood stove
bunkhouse.
        These are the cowboys.
        Slowly, almost begrudgingly
they make their way
toward breakfast.
        Talking softly, they
readjust hats, tug at blue jeans,
tighten belts, and pull on worn
leather gloves.
        Drawing heavy coats closer
they scan the sky for signs of snow.
        And these are the cowboys.

        Trudging horses
return to the barn
following days labor.
        The door closes
behind and
they walk slowly
to their stalls
knowing
forage awaits.
        A curry comb
brushing,
like a profound massage,
eases them
into the night.
        Bone weary.
the cowboy makes his way
to the bunkhouse
to remove and stow
the gear of his trade.
        Then,
too tired for talking
he washes and
makes his way slowly
to dinner

                                     

        The saddle
creaked
as he
shrugged up
the collar against
the morning chill
watching, as
the cattle,
slowly
waking
to
the silent
thunder
of the dawn
began to
eat.
        And on the ridge
the bone-bare wolf
hungrily eyed
the herd
as the cowboy
drew a
bead
on his
Winchester.
        Then ,
exhaling slowly,
he rode
down
the hill.

 


            Hard
liquor
and harder
eyes
stare
back
at him.
            A small
smile
crossed
his face
as he
thinks
of those
days.........
            Of  Earp,
and Holiday,
Hickock,
and Cody....
            The James Boys
and the Dalton's
the Clanton's.......
            The
shootouts
in
the streets.......
            Then
sighing
he
loads
the feed
into
the
pickup
leaving
the
theater
behind.
            And these are the Cowboys.

    Splashing
across the
Little
Big Horn
in the
dry season,
the valley
wet
with
morning dew;
the wind
blowing
from the
canyon,
carries
the scent
of sage
on the
fresh
morning
air.
    He slows
the bay pony
to a walk.

Wind,
rain heavy and harsh
roars over the plains
pushing tumbleweed vagrants
and flattening prairie grass.
    Clouds, deep throated and singed
with lightning flashes, careen pell - mell
across the sky.
    Shrugging his collar up,
he sees a herd of mustangs
running before the storm.

Wind, rain heavy and cold, rips through pines clinging with near death
desperation to rocky edges.
    Huddled close for warmth, the cowboy murmurs comfort to the Pinto pony,
as his eyes search the canyon walls for shelter.
    And in the thunder, the voice of  Wa - wa - Tanka  rumbles through the
Black Hills.

Dan Giallombardo   
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

The Stranger                    

      And
in the
valley
they
saw him.
     Silhouetted
against
the
setting sun
along
the scowling
Sawtooth
Range.
      He rode
the
ridge
in
angry
silence
as the
sagebrush
cris-crossed
the
valley.
      He
made
no sound
just
reigned in
and sat
his
horse
before
turning
away.

Dan Giallombardo   
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

Council Fires

    Like smoke,
soft, spectral speech of council fires
echo in darkness.
    Illusory,
impossible to reach, or touch
they provide a fleeting history.
    As forgotten riders cross distant
horizons, he has been given the
gift of memory from long ago.
    Wrapped round with his blanket
he stares at the stars.
   And these are the Cowboys.


Dan Giallombardo   
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

 

 

About Dan Giallombardo:

I live in northern Illinois (McHenry County) and have grown up "dreamin' of bein' a cowboy."  Not the fancy stuff of television and movies, but the real, saddle sore, back achin', blistered and calloused hands kind. Somewhere along the way, I went wrong and never got to be a cowboy, except in my dreams and imagination . . . such are the hazards of growing up in Illinois . . . even northern Illinois.
 

 

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