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Spokane, Washington
JD Reitz' Pocketmouse website

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About JD Reitz

Featured in "The Big Roundup," an anthology of the best of


The Corporate Cowboy

Now, I ask you folks, does it make any sense
    For a young cowboy to always leave a piece
Of himself at some rodeo arena fence
    Or to put up with multiple contusions and broken bones
And the havin to listen to your ridin partner's bitches and groans
    And after drivin for hours and arrivin just a little late
Havin to hear some rodeo secretary say, "sorry
    Cowboy, but, you just missed your gate"
And of course, there's the judges
    That always seem to short you on points
And the troubles that come from hangin
    Around them there strange beer joints
The times you ran around tryin to
    Borrow your entry fee cash
And then drawin some bronc or bull
    That can turn your brains to mash
But heck, I'm a rodeo cowboy and
    I gotta make my next date
Just keep goin down the road
    And leave what happens up to fate
Who knows, I just might run into a little luck
    And draw some stock that I can match buck -for-buck
I might get so good that I can incorporate
    Get a manager to schedule my rodeo dates
Start advertising Wrangler or Levi jeans
    Become a cowboy of independent financial means
Yep, for sure, it would fill my heart with joy
    If I was to get good enough at this rodeo game
To become a Corporate Cowboy

1999 James David Reitz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

The Jury

A while back I had this really strange dream
And in the dream I was about to meet my final judgment
As I recall it I seem to remember that those five jurors were not heaven-sent
The jury was composed of a drunk, a gambler, a lawyer, a banker and a senator
Somehow they all seemed familiar, almost as if we’d met before
I never was very good with names but I could always recall a face
And then suddenly it came to me, their faces and their names
Yes, we had all met before, and I recalled how they played their little games

I remember the drunk from a time when I was still livin fast
He was a quitter, he couldn’t seem to make the good times last
He’d lost everything he had because of that demon drink
He was a cowardly weak man always livin on life's brink
All he ever seemed to do was to find fault and constantly bitch
Nobody cared when they found him lyin dead in a ditch

And the gambler, I met him in Reno in some long ago time
He always had money, usually from committin some kind of crime
He was one of those that had no character or heart
Whatever someone else put together he would just tear apart
He’d take his money and throw it away on cards or a roulette wheel
This was a strictly nothin man that always acted like a big deal
The gambler left three children and a once lovin wife
The only ones that cried when some loan shark took his life

And I too, remembered the banker, he was strictly small-town
He had gained a notoriety for turnin hard workin folks loans down
His high interest and hard attitude caused many a rancher to grow broke
Then he would sell their places, rake in the money and act like it was a joke
They found him in his office one dark night his face a horrible red
Most folks sighed with relief when the coroner pronounced him dead

Next there comes the lawyer and the senator, I don’t know which one's worse
To me, these two together are worth only this single verse
They were both two fakers that happened to wear cowboy boots
And if somethin crooked happened, you could figure these two were in cahoots
I heard that they were found together in some barroom in a strange town
That’s where they died together when a constituent shot them down

So, you see folks, this is the jury that dared to pass judgment on me
This devil's jury of five men, I’m sure none were a mother's joy
Why He decreed that they sit in judgment of me I’ll never know
But I heard that He’s got a strange sense of humor, it’s probably so
And I know too, that he’ll soon tire of his little game
That’s when those five men will be sent to His flame
And it there that they will we judged for the sins of which I tell
And I will be satisfied to know they’ll soon dwell in Hell
It’s also true that there’s a lesson in this tale I’ve told to you
Be careful how you treat your fellow men, be honest and true
If you live your life in this way you won’t have cause to worry
About meetin someone you used to know servin on some jury

1999 James David Reitz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



He felt the soft evening breeze reach out and caress his tired old body
  And upon that breeze there came to him the soft note of an old cowboy rhapsody
His old memories flickered and then burned brightly as he recalled the past
  And he began to chuckle as remembered how his life had been cast
His chuckles soon turned to laughter that joined with the notes of that rhapsody
  And then they rode away together on that soft evening breeze

The old cowboy had been away for many years from the old home place
  Time had caught up with him, you could tell by the wrinkles on his face
But he had finally returned home again to that barren South Dakota plain
  If only with a small hope that he could revive old memories again
His mind was totally stunned by the sights that met his old eyes
  Sadly, there was very little left that he could recognize
There was very little left of the old place that he used to know
  The house and barn had been taken down by sixty years of Dakota snow
The land was now just so many acres of dirt filled with weeds
  Could this really be the same place that had fulfilled his family's needs
The old windmill had long ago stopped turning and then had fallen down
  The relatives had all passed away or had moved to some town
But, a small ray of hope, when he saw where his mother's back yard used to be
  He knew that it was the same tree his mother had planted on the old home place
And, he knew too that the tree was also a sign of God's good grace
  So it was, beneath that tree the old man sat until the darkness of night fell
He was listening to all the stories that the old tree had to tell
  And it was there, that the old man died while listening to that old tree
But there should be no sadness, for the old man died happy, that you could see

When they found him, there was a smile on the face of the old man
  Because he had been able to return to the place where his life had began
We buried him there, beneath the branches of that old tree
  Figuring it was as good a place as any for him to spend eternity

He felt the soft  evening breeze reach out and caress his tired old body
  And upon that breeze there also rode the soft notes of an old cowboy rhapsody

1999 James David Reitz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Going Back

Where do you come from, he asked this old man
  I answered him in this way, beings he took the time to ask
I come from a time when just living was life's toughest task
  Call it the time of leather, wood, iron and men as hard as rocks
A time before fences, highways, cities and men controlled by time clocks
  Back to a time when the winners were the ones that gave life their very best
And now, I will tell you the true story of what really happened in the Old West
  I'll take you the time when the pioneers began their trek to the west
When wagons were pulled by oxen and every mile traveled was a brutal test
  Back, to a time when young men of The Pony Express carried the mails
And cowboys drove herds of cattle on the Texas to Kansas trails
  Tell you about towns with no law and The Law West Of The Pecos
Towns like Abilene and Wichita, where almost anything goes
  Hard places, where, even a good man might be driven to kill
The losers,  buried in an unmarked grave in some long-gone town's Boot Hill
  The U.S. marshalls such as the Earps, Tilghman, Hickock and the Mastersons
When a broken law was  settled with a bullet from one of their guns
  These are the stories from what I call my Yesterday Times
Just like others have tried to write with story and rhymes
  They have told the story of the mighty and proud indian tribes
And how they lost their land through crooked politics and bribes
  Stories of and man call Custer and His Seventh Calvary
And one shameful part of history called Wounded Knee
  Tales of how the white man was allowed to steal the Black Hills
And of the Generals that were finally able to break the Indians' wills
  They will be the tellers of stories that no one else knows
And they won't be anything like you've seen in the movies or on TV shows
  Like an event in Wyoming called The Johnson County Wars
When innocent men and women were shot or lynched outside their own back doors
  When Geronimo and Cochise surrendered, thus, ending the Indian Wars
Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull being murdered outside of a military stockades doors
  Yes, I say ride with me, and with words, I'll tell you about the past
And you will know the truth of it and it's hardships at last
  Back to a time of leather, wood, iron and men as hard as rocks
Back, to a time before fences, highways, cities and men controlled by time clocks

1999 James David Reitz
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read J. D. Reitz' A Cowboy's Christmas Eve, and  Christmas Eve at the Silver Dollar Saloon posted with our other Holiday 2000 poems.

And read his A Little Argument with the Lord in our feature about The Cowboy Cancer Crusade.


About JD Reitz:

From his biography at his site, reprinted with permission:

I tell most folks that I am a cowboy poet but I feel that what I write is cow pasture philosophy.  The things that I write may be tinged with sadness, anger and irony and I guess that they may be.  The sadness is for the loss of a way of life that has been overrun by what some folks call progress.  The anger is probably for the damage that has been done and is being done to this, our Mother Earth. The irony is just a reflection of all the ironies that occur in the lives of working cowboys.

To give you a sense of the type of person I am I offer the following.  The last politician I trusted was Harry Truman. My boyhood heroes were Joel McCrea, Randolph Scott and Will Rogers.  The first love in my life is my lady, Linda Fay, with my two dogs coming in a close second. I am independent by nature and ornery by choice.

In the last few years it has been my pleasure to have been able to work with other cowboy poets and balladeers and a better group of peers cannot be found.  I only hope that what I write can one day be included with their works.  They are my inspiration and the reason that I continue to write.

Now, I would like to leave you with this last thought because long ago I learned what these words mean.



J. D. Reitz' book, Heartwords and Headtrips



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