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Folks' Poems

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About Joyce Metzer (and Bone Mizelle)




Seems Like

when ah was young,
no pup cud have scrounged
longer, nor deeper, fur a sorrier bone.
Had to grow-up to match my nose,
wid hands that hung near
'bout to ma knee-caps, and
a hair shock dat stood up
straight as any Huckleberry Finn.
Was tongue-tied too, not
to mention ma funny wheezy lisp,
'round guys and gals alike.
Ah preferred to hang around
de heifers and bulls
'cause not a one made fun,
nor cared a spec' if'n my words
were crisp, or table manners
were correct.
Ah learned to take a bead upon
a rattler's eye, to pop a cracker whip
dat cud peel de skin from flesh.
Now, folks laugh wid de talk,
not against, and frisky gals
roll der eyes as dey pass by.
Can't say as ah'll eber tie de knot,
but havin' learned a twist or two
ma self, ah think ah'll jest
enjoy de sunshine of de suzies' smile
and save ma toothy grin fur
all de catfish in de stream.

2001, Joyce Metzger
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Dos Shorthorns

brought screwworm death into
mid-Florida, sur' as de sun rises
in de East and sets in de West.
Dey nebber grabbed ma innards
lik' de mulish glint in a Brahman eye,
nor lik' dos midnite black Angus bulls
old man Wells paid hard cash fur
in Tampa...
Durn shame all de changes
happenin' 'round here.  Dat long
horned Brahman seemed plenty gud enuff
to me, and dos shorthorns mite well be
de downfall pitch and upchuck
of all de Floridy herds;
mark des words, if'n ya please.
Wud quit Zibe King cold turkey
t'm'rrow if'n he caught de wind to pepper
his herd wid checkerboard stock.
Wells neber did lik' me no how to a Sunday,
anyway.  He tolt eber hairy ear
I showed off too much when I lit
ma pipe wid dollar bills!
Wells was so stingy he'd wait
fur lightning to strike a yeller pine,
hopin' fur a spark to catch onto cook's
campfire b'fur he'd fork over hard won
poker cash to buy any store
bought phosphous matches.

2001, Joyce Metzger
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Can't Recollect When Hit Was Eber

dis dusty bone dry, Bone Mizelle grumbled
as he stared at sparks poppin' from
the lightered knot campfire. He slowly
turned his gaze toward the short, parched,
pasture grass, what there was of it.
Dos steers gonna go mad.
Dey already roam four and five miles,
from hole to hole, wid mor' hangin' tite
'round Charlie Creek den I eber seen,
an' hit twelve feet lower den normal.
Dey gonna bolt soon.  Can feel it comin' on.
Mite as well stop a freight train with
a full head of steam bilt up.  Gud thing
dey is few, and far between, behind barbed wire,
not bunched up.  Got my spine leery of
lightin' a campfire to boil a kettle of
swamp cabbage.  No squirrels pokin' out
der heads either.  Dey done scampered
so high and tucked demselves into hidey holes,
so deep no hunter with a perfect bead-eye
cud tak' a half hearted pot shot at 'em.
Dos model Ts and Model As wha' cum
chuggin' down de middle of Oak Street
in 'Cadiy town cud lite a pasture anytime,
when dey belch dos oily fumes.
Ma can't hang white clothes
on de wire anymore; dey and de guava
bushes are covered two inches thick
wid blackness.  Makes a man want to
ride de range until de prickly pears
disappear 'neath his hosses' hooves.

2001, Joyce Metzger
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Best I R'Collect

Bone muttered, pluckin' whittled
green from between spaced teeth,
'twas 'round '79, or close
tag-tailin' thereabouts, & ole
Harney had squatted in dat
rickety log cabin fur durn near
20 long ones.  Bragged he did,
dat he'd neber cleaned once...
Big blow-out came, wind
whuppin' trees into stove-
sized kindlin' sticks, hurlin'
dem thru piney trees.  Dat wild wind
lifted Harney's cabin offen hits
foundation & blowed dat trash
& dirt & stuff outta dat cabin,
cleaner dan spit, den resettled
log on log 'fore goin' 'bout hits
merry way... Bad thing tho, hit
whittled Harney's table legs
by a gud 3 inches, 'caused
Harn' to have a humpy back
in his later years.

2001, Joyce Metzger
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

About Joyce Metzer (and Bone Mizelle):

Joyce Metzger has authored and co-authored 25 books which are currently being archived by several universities including: Brown University in Providence, R.I., University of Washington and The University at Buffalo.  Her books are also on the archived list at Yale and on the shelves of the Seattle Public Library. Joyce has written a wide variety of poetry for fifteen years. She is the Editor/Publisher of two periodicals:  CerBerUs and ZZZ ZYNE.  Being a lover of the word, she spreads her interest over many poetic forms, contemporary free verse and has a special love for cowpoke dialect and Irish dialect.  The "Bone" poems have been written in Southern, turn of the century, cowboy dialect. 

About "Bone":

"Bone" Mizelle was a real southern Florida cowboy. He was born in 1853, worked and rode range for Zibe King for many long, saddle-rough years.  Bone's real name was Napolean Boneparte Mizelle (little wonder it was shortened to Bone!) Bone talked with a lisp, loved Jamaican rum, and playing pranks on those foolish enough not to have a bit of common sense.  He worked for $20.00 a month, then often blew his earnings in one wild night.  Once, he booked a fishing trip for himself and some of his friends.  He ran out of money, didn't tell anyone, then caught some time in the hoosegow for not paying the Captain of the fishing boat.  Rumor has it, he knew intimately, many of the local jails and watering holes. Once, he was taken before a judge,and charged with cattle rustling. Bone explained, every cowpoke was entitled to a cow every six months to keep his body & soul alive.  Seemed he had overstepped that spoken agreement, spotting unbranded calves on the open hundred-mile prairie out by his lonesome, so he slapped on one of a dozen brands he claimed for his own. The judge hid a smirk, knowing many did the same, but determined to uphold the law, he sent Bone to Raiford in North Florida for his crime.  Story is told, when Bone arrived in Raiford, he was given a tour of the lock-up, a banquet among friends, then a train ticket, and was sent back to Desoto County without spending even one night in jail. Bone never married, never laid claim on any children, but he is well remembered through folk tales in Arcadia.  Bone Mizelle died in 1921 in the train depot at Ft. Ogden, Florida...the official cause; "Moonshine. He went to sleep and did not wake up."  In these parts, Bone ranks higher than John Henry or Paul Bunyan. He is buried at the Joshua Creek Cemetery in Desoto County.

My husband and I co-authored a poetry book entitled: BONE SLEPT HERE (Arcadia Perfecto!) Perfect bound, 88 ppgs, illustrated with b&w photographs. $8.95 plus $1.00 s/h

509 N 12th Ave
Arcadia, Fl 34266-8966

I am now working on another poetry book about "Bone" simply entitled..."More Bone".  





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