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Martinsville, Virginia
About Ed Myers



The Cowboy Life

Old Jake and me
we rode the trail
with Bob at the wheel
of his pickup from Hell.
All beat up and banged
with the muffler broke,
that old '36 Ford
churnin' dust in its smoke.
With the Colorado nights
damn cold to the bone,
and Bob's small ranch
lookin' more like home,
we took each year
and saddled and rode,
and Bob paid us well
what we were owed.
And we mended Bob's gates
and his fences too,
that held the few steers
from runnin' through.
And the years rolled on
like a night with a crack
for me and Jake...
just the shirts on our back.
Two wild workin' corboys
who smoked too much,
drunk way too much whiskey,
chased women and such.
When suddenly one March
with the land still white,
Jake up and died
in his sleep one night.
And then it was me
in that bunkhouse alone,
and Bob with his wife
in that big house they owned.
And I reckoned it was time
to call it a day,
so I bought Bob's old Ford
and just rode it away.
With the wind at my back
I snaked out of them hills,
to the dry Texas flats
with its dust and windmills
that caught the faint breeze,
and brought the desert alive,
for scrubby horned steers
that had their lives revived
by them clunking old mills
standin' over the land
like old wooden bones
nailed there to stand.
Then I found Tom's ranch
t'weren't big atall,
just a few hundred head
and some horses to stall.
And he gave me a job
right there on the spot,
and he gave me a horse
and a green acre lot.
So I built me a house
with my own two hands,
between round-up time
and the off-season span.
And I took me some time
to stock my own brand,
and when the Big War came
I had beef in demand.
That helped me to grow
and I met Lou my wife,
and the years unwound
towards a pretty good life.
Then Tom up and died
of a stroke one Fall,
and his wife Joan tried
but the order was tall.
So she sold their place
lock, stock and barrel
to a fat Waco man
by the name of Farrell.
And he tried to buy mine
but I wouldn't budge,
so he sunk two wells
that turned it to sludge.
Black greasy sand
that made him rich,
killin' all the grassland
to the very last stitch.
But we hung on tight
me and my Lou,
'til the fever hit the stock
and left just a few.
With my hat in my hand,
I tried hard to think:
we owed our souls
to that Angelo bank.
So I took Farrell's bid
and we packed it all up,
kept two horses, a trailer
and my pick-up truck.
With nowheres to live
and the horses in tow,
we drove over them mountains
into New Mexico.
And I took me a job
with a farm working crew,
packin' up hay and cuttin' corn too.
And Lou worked a cafe
where the truckers all ate,
and we rented us a place
at a trailer park rate.
And we saved what we earned
'til we had just enough
to feed us and the horses,
and keep gas in the truck.
Nearly starvin' ourselves
'til a good turn of luck
got me back on the ranch
of a fellow named Buck.
It was kind of small
but the land was good,
and Buck was a fellow
who saw how we stood.
He wanted to quit
because of his age,
so I measured the man
with my eyeball guage,
and I knowed right away
as best I could tell,
Buck's word was as good
as a Judgment Day Hell
would be some day
when my own work is done,
so I borrowed the cash
quick as a gun.
And that Roswell bank
locked up my soul
on another piece of paper
as good as gold.
And me and my Lou
we moved right on in,
picked up our lives
and lifted our chin.
And we've sweated and toiled
to this present day,
all weathered and soiled
in a fine ranchin' way.
And the life is hard
but Jake would be proud
to learn his old pard
is a part of the crowd,
who rode life's turns
like a horse with a burr,
and gave ample concern
without too much fear
of losing his taste
for the things most loved,
and still tips his hat
to the good Lord above.
'Cause this journey called Life
is a tricky old steed,
and it'll buck you around
in your times of need.
But there ain't a thing
this old cowboy would do
to change the journey
he's ridin' through.

2004, Ed Myers
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


About Ed Myers:

I'm a Virginian by birth and still live soundly in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the southwest part of the state. I'm a young sixty years old and have always been a misplaced cowboy.

Horses are still my best friends and I'm a pretty good seasoned rider. I spent some early years in and around El Paso, and my poems reflect some of the old stories I recall from very real old cowboys I used to run across at the Sunday races in nearby Alamogordo. This particular piece is some part true, and involved the father of an old Army buddy of mine from Arizona. He used to tell about how his father worked the ranching circuit from Colorado on down through the Texas ranges during the Depression Years. There really was a Jake and a Lou.

More recently, over the past 5 years, I have had the opportunity to ride the western highways in an eighteen wheeler, so I've seen and done and jawboned with a lot of truckers who have their own "cowboy" stories. I was once a newspaperman in a younger profession so my curiosity for the stories has never left me and I still take it all in like a good drink at the end of a day.

I still ride my horses, plunk my guitar, and watch the Godly sunsets over the western Blue Ridge range. I don't ride the 18-wheelers anymore so I do
miss the western routes. But I can still close my eyes and see it all. And I can still pen the wonder of it.

Name........Ed Myers
Age........... 60 (or thereabouts)
Address....251 Mason Court, Martinsville, VA 24112
Occupation....Retired Newspaper Editor/Manager
Martial Status... Divorced (long time now).
Children............1 daughter, 2 horses, a dog and cat.
Vehicle.............. Always a Chevy truck.  
Money................None (I own 2 horses).
Money likely to have.....None (I own 2 horses).


Read Ed Myers':

Movin' High to Low, in our ArtSpur project


A Good Day's Ride, in our ArtSpur Project








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