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Colorado Springs, Colorado
About Joe Fabey




Rodeo Arena on Templeton Gap Road

He leans on the fencepost now, staring at years
he wishes he could have back. Dust settled
long before the memories. That gate he built,
with help, sags and fades from the weight of the sun.
Yellow grass whispers the names of men who rode
here, he hears them all. Ghosts sit in the bleachers
and clap at unseen riders.

He walks to the announcer’s booth, yellowed paper
staring out through broken glass. Aged posters claim
he could ride anything with hair. He makes tracks
across the arena with tattered boots. Night settles,
lights no longer pierce the blackness and bring life
to the old corral. He leaves without looking back,
wishing he could.

© 2008, Joe Fabey
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


This poem has been set to music by Mark Mitten and you can hear it here.

Joe comment on its inspiration: I used to drive past an old rodeo arena on the way to school where I was teaching. It was old and broken down and didn't look like it had been used in years. I started wondering if anyone ever came back and the idea for the poem was born.


Wyoming State Prison—Closed

Void of men and life, but not of ghosts.
Those who died here remain. Wind
blows cold across the barren yard, weeds climb
walls inmates couldn’t. Stones, gray
like prisoners, hauled from quarries outside
of Rawlins. Toughened by repeated failures,
the town chose criminals over students
and the state university.

Now mule deer pose, chew dead grass
outside this wardened life. Only tourists
and a local historian come,
the ghosts remain imprisoned.

© 2008, Joe Fabey
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Joe comments
: We took a tour through the old prison in Rawlins with a local historian. He talked to us about how the prison came about and I was struck that the townspeople chose to have a prison in the middle of town instead of the University. After that I went back and sat outside of the prison and the poem wrote itself.

You can read about the prison at the official web site here; it is on the National Registry of Historic Places.



About Joe Fabey:

Joe Fabey grew up in Montana and still considers it home. He has lived in Colorado Springs for the last ten years and enjoys spending time with his family, rock climbing, running and writing.



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