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Omar West's poetry was the start of the BAR-D. Here are some of his poems that appeared in the early days:

Tex Rockefeller

Modern Art?

Valentine's Day



Ballad of Davy Joe

The Cowboy Poetry Gathering




Bill & Sue

That Cowboy

The Oldest Cowboy

A Mile Between

The Hospital


Billy Lopez and the Rattler

Winner Take All



Anna Claus

Resolution Number One

Fold 'em

Chasin' What??

A Cowboy Kiss Can't Miss

So White...So Red




 Tex Rockefeller  by Omar West

When I get rich I’m gonna switch
     From beer to fancy wine
From cookhouse dregs to steak and eggs
     Whenever I might dine

When I get rich I’m gonna switch
     From freights to gravy trains
From rot gut booze I’ll pick and choose
     Fine brandy and champagnes

When I get rich I’m gonna switch
     From bunks to huge hotels
From gloom and doom to one great room
     I’ll live among the swells

When I get rich I’m gonna switch
     From workin’…they can stick it
My financial plan is to sit on my can
     And purchase a lottery ticket 

When I get rich I’m gonna switch
     From worthless friends to you
I’ll treat you right, but for tonight
     . . . I need a buck or two

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



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 Modern Art?

When Cowboy Artists paint a scene
    It’s Western harmony
It’s grand, and I identify
    With everything I see

I went to this museum
    To enjoy some modern stuff
Well, that was wrong, it wasn’t long
    Before I’d had enough

What animal or vegetable
    Or mineral was that?
I had no clue, I never knew
    What I was lookin’ at

When Salvadore and Pablo
    Were attendin’ art academy
They musta studied hard at
    Rearrangin’ man’s anatomy

A bronze called "Lonely Maiden"
    Had six eyes, but one head only
Much too complex, no shape, no sex
    No wonder she was lonely

One artist spilled and dribbled paint
    As if that might delight us
I guess he couldn’t grip his brush
    He musta had arthritis

An ordinary painting
    Was the focus of a group
The thing was just a billboard
    That was advertisin’ soup

One huge white empty canvas
    Tries the patience of a saint
A brand new school of paintin’
    Where they don’t use any paint?

An ugly pile of garbage
    Was offensive to the eyes
The clean-up crew had missed it
    And the dam thing won a prize

That night, I had a frightful dream
    My head was turned about---
My arms were legs, my navel had
    An eyeball peepin’ out

Will Cowboys have exhibits
    At a modern art museum??
That can’t be true, but if they do
    I hope I never see ‘em!

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


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 Valentine's Day

From the bar he called at seven
"I’ll be home about eleven"
   Then he cussed her when she dared to ask him why
"Listen, girlie, quit yer bitchin’
Get yer fanny in the kitchin’
   I’ll have beef and grits and gravy……..and a pie!"

Well, the meal fulfilled his wishes
And while she was scrubbin’ dishes
   He was yawnin’ and was givin’ her the eye
"Jest ferget to clean the oven
This here cowboy needs some lovin’
   Hurry up, get over here and don’t act shy."

She said, "That aint likely, Honey
Here’s a secret……..really funny
   ‘Bout your dinner and, especially, the pie
There was somethin’ special in it
And in just about a minute
   You’ll be sleepin’ in that Bunkhouse-in-the-Sky !!"

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


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The stagecoach out of Abilene
With mail stops on the way
Takes twenty-four long hours

Til you get to Santa Fe

There only were two passengers
This little gal and me
She wasn’t much fer talkin’

She was sad as she could be

We rode along in solitude

Fer maybe fifty miles
And then she loosened up and spoke

With heavyhearted smiles

She told me ‘bout a funeral
That she would soon attend
A lady that she’d known fer years

Her absolute best friend:

“We both grew up in Texas
     And, together, learned to ride
Eight years in that old schoolhouse
     Where we studied side by side

We both would go to parties
     Like young girls we’d be excited
But one would never go
     Unless the other was invited

Throughout the years, we’d meet in town
     We’d dine, then go out dancin’
That’s when I found the cowboy
     That I soon began romancin’

I’ll always miss my closest friend
     Although she done me wrong
She upped one day and ran away
     And took my man along

Forgiving her is difficult
     I’m tryin’ to forget
In spite of what she did to me
     I know I’ll miss her yet.”

The stagecoach rumbled through the night. 
She nodded and she sighed.
I wondered and I asked her,

Did you know when yer friend died?

“I know exactly when and where
     It causes me great sorrow
          Our last goodbye ?
          When did she die ???
I’d say, high noon . . . tomorrow!”

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

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On the range, communication

doesn't take much conversation

the exchange of information

is of minimal duration

just a single exclamation

or a plain gesticulation

tells a cowboy the location

       of a problem with the herd.

Without verbal explanation

In his chosen occupation

It's the cowboy's obligation

to commence investigation

and with firm determination

he'll resolve the situation

to the foreman's expectation

       all of that without a word.

But a campfire recitation

is the cowboy's recreation

where verbose elucidation

of a windy dissertation

full of wild exaggeration

with bizarre interpretation

and complete obliteration

       of a single word that's true.

Though it's pure prevarication

filled with factual fabrication

it provides exhilaration

for the campfire aggregation.

There's a Western declaration

that a cowboy shuns oration

but he loves that long narration

       when they tell it as they do.

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


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The Cowboy Poetry Gathering

In Elko, there’s a Gathering
     For Cowboy Poetry
Around the end of January
     That’s the place to be.

You think you’ve seen a thing or two
     But here is one sure bet
Until you’ve been to Elko, Pard
     You aint seen nothin’ yet !

The poets and performers
     And musicians that appear
Are only just the finest
     That you’re ever going to hear.

Although some Cowboy shows are great
     And some you won’t forget
Until you hear these folks perform
     You aint heard nothin’ yet !!

You meet with all the poets
     And you talk with everyone
And there’s dancin’ and carousin’
     If you don’t mind havin’ fun.

The Cowboy Poetry Gathering
     Is good as good can get
Until you’ve been to Elko, Pard
     You aint been nowhere yet !!!

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


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The Wrangler is a-wondrin’ why he ever took
This dude ranch for safari trips that rich folks find

I set up camp, it’s cold and damp, that’s where I earn my
But these dumb clucks pay lots o’ bucks to sleep out where the

The outhouse trail is slick and dark, they’re freezin’ while they’re
    hikin’ it
They creep back in with a silly grin, purtendin’ that they’re
    likin’ it

The breakfast meal means standin’ up and, while they eat, they
    roam about
This aint New York, what’s on their fork aint nothin’ to write
    home about

They ride a horse for fun all day, I can’t believe they’re
    choosin’ it
Lunch on the trail and ginger ale without a drop o’

By campfire light, what I recite aint got no word
‘Bout Wild West days and cowboy’s ways, there also aint no

That dude brought separate sleeping bags, his wife’s alone---he’s
    facin’ ‘er
She’s nice to see, if it was me, I know where I’d be
    placin’ ‘er

I say hooray, it’s our last day, them dudes can’t wait to
I feel this week, I’m in that creek---the one without a

With any luck, my banged up truck will start---I’ll make my
While this dumb dude who aint too shrewd will drive his new
    Corvette away

If they’re so dumb, I ask how come they’re rich---aint this a
I fail to see. Could it be me? I quit this job! I’m

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

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This spunky little gal I know
Is driving me insane
    I love her more each time I take a breath
Her quiet ways and softness
Can become a hurricane
    I’m fearless . . . but she scares me half to death!

I’ve made it through adversity
And fought my way in life
    Success did not come easily, or free
I wrestle bears on Wall Street
In the woods I use a knife
    There’s nothing in the world that frightens me

Just look at her angelic face
And better yet, she’s smart
    She quotes from Aristotle and MacBeth
I wonder as I hold her
Will she ever break my heart ?
    I’m fearless . . . but she scares me half to death!

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

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If you want to get a dog
Pitch that canine catalog
    Just go visit your Humane Society
I went there and had no doubt
That I’d choose and pick one out
    When this little mutt jumped up
        ……….and picked out me !

It’s a fact---this dog’s a mutt
So am I, I’m told, so what ?
    Now we’re buddies and I know the reason why
He will always be a pup
Who refuses to grow up
    Seems he lives to romp and, frankly
        ……….so do I !

In a flash he learned to know
What is Yes and what is No
    And to come at once when I call out his name
He’s supposed to stay at home
But at times he has to roam
    Makes me angry, but, in truth
        ……….I do the same !

So I tell him, Here’s a fact
You had best clean up your act
    Otherwise yer ottahere---it’s time you knew
He looks up as if to say
I’ll be good and I’ll obey
    Are we kidding ?? Question is
        ……….who’s kidding who ???

On the couch and on each chair
There are teeth marks everywhere
    I have proper cause to whack him, this is true
He accepts the reprimand
Nuzzles up and licks my hand
    All he asks is that I love him
        ……….and I do !

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

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Bill & Sue


Buffalo Bill was ridin' hard
To meet the actress, Sue
And Sue was pacin' round 'n round
Cause she was anxious, too

As Bill rode in, his heroine
Said Bill, yer late, of course
But we can get to sparkin' yet
If you'd get off that horse

While talkin', walkin' toward the couch
Sue said to Bill, perhaps
We'd sure 'nuff be more comf'terble
If you'd take off them chaps

We're due to pitch some woo, said Sue
So let's have no disputes
Among yer clothes that buckle goes
And then take off them boots

At her request, his vest, the rest
Was piled up on the floor
You prob'ly guessed how he was dressed
But she said, one thing more . . .

I love ya Bill, but, Bill, there's still
A problem here . . . What's that?
Before you're kissed I must insist
Now, Bill . . . take off yer hat!

Take off my hat?  I can't do that
No cowboy ever would
Why that's a sin an' its agin'
The Cowboy Brotherhood

But Sue won out without a doubt
That hat flew off the couch
And Buffalo Bill was kissed until
He screamed and hollered . . . OUCH

You made demands, you made commands
And I complied with yers
Just one thing, Sue, I ask of you
Take off them gol durn spurs!!!

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


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 That Cowboy


Well, Lady, if that Cowboy
   is the Man you wanna keep
The Man who watches over you
   each night when yer asleep

That Cowboy who is headstrong
   and can prob’ly make you weep
Just remember he’s a Cowboy
   and a Cowboy aint a sheep

At times he'll let you lead him
   Sure . . . but Lady, use yer brains
Be careful not to grip too tight
   when you grab hold the reins

His word is true, he’ll do for you
   despite his aches and pains
And then he might get lost a while
   ‘cause freedom’s in his veins

He’ll live with yer misgivin’s
   and put up with some abuse
He’ll love you and respect you,
   but he don’t need no excuse

To wander out and roustabout ---
   don’t change ‘im, its no use
If you wanna hold yer Cowboy,
   Lady, hold ‘im mighty loose !

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

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The Oldest Cowboy


I work in your Garden, said Adam to God,
     Eden Ranch is delightful to see
I keep the spread nice, but it’s not paradise
     I need a companion for me.

A soft gentle soul, always pleasant and kind,
     Always good…….please create one, I beg
That’s a very tough order, My Man, said God,
     It'll cost you an arm and a leg !

An arm and a leg ? I could never agree
     If I did, I’d be telling a fib
I never would part with an arm or a leg
     But……what can I get for a rib ?

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

photo by Teddie Daley, Ketchum Idaho

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A Mile Between


It’s time to blow
The Rodeo
They’re stompin’ you to bits
You never were a quitter
But it’s time to call it quits

Eight seconds more
A rotten score
You never hurt
Like this before

You’re at the stage
Of life when age
Prevents you from
A livin’ wage

Your fans admired your courage
As you took those brutal hits
And it was true, they numbered you
Among their favorites

You made it to the finals
You enjoyed the benefits
You sold the car and in some bar
Your shiny trophy sits

It’s time to blow
The Rodeo
The wiser man admits
He’ll never be a quitter
But it’s time to call it quits

A busted jaw
A lousy draw
Your nerves are shot
Your bruises raw

You know it’s rough
You know you’re tough
But, know when you
Have had enough

It’s time to blow
The Rodeo
It’s time you use your wits
It’s a mile between a quitter
And the Man who calls it quits !

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



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The Hospital


When a man's been chasin' cows
   And stringin' fence and stackin' hay
A week can last a year or so
   Before it's Saturday

There aint no doubt he's plumb wore out
   Can hardly lift his head
One sad cowpoke, his back is broke
   His boots are filled with lead

Despite his woes that cowboy knows
   The way to end his grief
He knows fer sure, the only cure
   Is honky-tonk relief

It's hospital care he'll find in there
   No cowboy is immune
The prescription reads: This puncher needs
  The Honky-Tonk Saloon

The staff on hand is a lively band
   The doc is tendin' bar
Those western queens in skin-tight jeans
   That's who the nurses are

The man checks in with a mile wide grin
   Already, he feels better
That lady there with long brown hair
  He's off-- he's gonna get 'er

A dance or two, then someone new
   To guide around the floor
Perhaps some drinks? Not yet, he thinks
   I'd rather dance some more

Some friendly boys are makin' noise
   They're laughin', havin' fun
"Come over here and have a beer"
   "O.K . . . but, only one"

He has a brew . . . in fact, has two
   Then says, "So long, you guys . . .
I'm headin' there, to the long brown hair
   Just look at them big blue eyes"

He leaves the men, he's off again
   To ask if she'd like to dance
He holds her tight, and thinks she might
   Consent to a brief romance

"Well, Romeo, it's Yes and No
   I hope you won't be mad
I'd love to dance . . . forget romance
   Hey, one out of two? Not bad."

He's heard it before, he's back on the floor
   He's two-steppin' all night long
Buyin' drinks fer the gals and all of his pals
   As they close, he is still goin' strong

Twelve hours ago, it was hard to know
   If his health could be restored
Too tired to walk, he could hardly talk
   One chance . . . the Emergency Ward

Intensive care at the Hospital there
   December, March or June
They know for sure, the miracle cure:
  A Honky-Tonk Saloon!

2001 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


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We work the ranch together
   There’s a thousand things you do
And, always, you’re so beautiful
   I love to look at you.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse or two
   When you are doin’ chores
You’re beautiful, my lady
   Feedin’ stock or scrubbin’ floors.

Whenever we go dancin’
   Or go out to some affair
You dab a little make-up on
   And dress and curl your hair.

It always makes you happy
   When you’re wearin’ somethin’ new
You’re such a pretty lady
   And I love to look at you.

That day when you were workin’
   In the barn was quite a scene
As ever, you were lookin’ nice
   Your clothes were old, but clean.

You just had swept the stalls and
   You were brushin’ out the mare
She reared and kicked her leg and
   Sent you flyin’ through the air.

You landed in a puddle
   Where the sweepin’s had been swept
Some old manure was there for sure
   That’s where a horse had stepped.

Your hair, your jeans were murky
   And the mud ran down your face
You were not the perfect tableau
   Of Gentility and Grace.

I had to laugh……then you yelled out
   To vent your agony
You told the whole world then and there
   Just what you thought of me.

Of all the pictures in my mind
   There’s one that I prefer
I’m smilin’ yet, I’ll not forget
   How beautiful you were!

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Photo courtesy C. E. Avery -- click for details


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Billy Lopez and the Rattler


We all knew Billy Lopez
    As a neighbor and a friend
He’d be there if you needed help
    On that you could depend

With Rosa, he was happy
    On their tiny little spread
They farmed and ran some cattle
    Maybe forty, fifty head

One Saturday they hitched the mare
    And drove out into town
They laughed and sang along the way
    As they were ridin’ down

They tied up at the hitchin’ post
    He went to get supplies
While Rosa shopped and talked with friends
    She loved to socialize

As Billy finished loading up
    A nasty scene took place
That rotten bum called “Rattler”
    Poked a finger in his face

I don’t like men that look like you
    Spat Rattler with a grin
I don’t like names like Lopez
    Or the color of yer skin

He was twice the size of Billy
    He was meaner than a snake
And many men who’d quarreled with him
    Had made their last mistake

But Billy didn’t back away
    He said to Rattler, Whoa……
Did I do somethin’ wrong?
    ‘Cause if I did I’d like to know

Yer a lousy stinkin’ coward, boy
     A mighty sorry sight
You hear what I been sayin’?
     What’s it take to make you fight?

I’m leavin’ now, said Billy
     Then he lightly tipped his hat,
You don’t like me, I don’t like you
     Let’s leave it right at that

He waved and signaled Rosa
     Who was near the hitchin’ post
She was frightened, she was tremblin’
     And was paler than a ghost

He calmed her down and kissed her
     Then the Rattler yelled, SeeenYor,
Yer wife sure strikes my fancy
     She’s a pretty little whore

As Billy whirled and charged
     The Rattler drew and shouted, Son,
Before you take another step
     You better get a gun

For Billy it was suicide
     To challenge and advance
He knew he had to get a gun
     Or die without a chance

He’d had a huntin’ rifle
     That he got when he was ten
But Billy never owned a gun
     Designed for killin’ men

I’ll whip you with my hands, he said
     But Rattler laughed and swore
Just shoot me with yer finger, boy
     Or use a forty-four

Then Rattler faced a group of men
     And said, This aint no boast
Now draw, or hang yer gunbelts up
     Around that hitchin’ post

Alright, SeeenYor, now take yer pick
     Of any belt that’s there
And strap it on, it’s time that we
     Get on with this affair

So there stood Billy Lopez
     Who had never drawn a gun
And facin’ him was Rattler
     Who just sneered and counted….ONE

It’s time to say yer prayers, SeeenYor
     Yer breathin’ days are through
With venom in his beady eyes
     He slowly counted………………..TWO

A second passed and then
     The Rattler’s gun was in his hand
Too quick, a little trick
     Was how the Rattler had it planned

Two rapid thunderous shots rang out
     The aim was good and true
But Billy still was standin’ up
     He never even drew

The Rattler lay there on the ground
     And everyone could see
That Rosa held two smokin’ guns
     And softly,….counted,..……..THREE        

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



When the Marshall asked the town folk
     He was told by every one
That Rattler tripped and shot himself
     While polishin’ his gun

In my report, the Marshall said
     I try to be precise
I guess I’ll always wonder
    How he could’ve fired twice

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

CowAndI_0610.gif (15599 bytes)


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 Winner Take All


   We were both in love with Katie
       That was many years ago
   She seemed to like the two of us
       Who best?.…..We didn’t know

   We couldn’t ask her for her hand
       Since both of us were broke
   Me, a driftin’ gamblin’ man
       And Jim, a poor cowpoke

   With Katie, I would build a ranch
       I’d love her all my life
   And Jim was wishin’ he could have
       This beauty as his wife

   One night---a chance for both of us
       Til then we’d been unable
   My rival, Jim, was facin’ me
       Across a poker table

   We both had won a lot that night
       The stakes kept gettin’ higher
   I looked at him, and knew that Jim
       Like me, had one desire

   The game just then was seven stud
       And Jim and I both knew
   Whoever won this poker hand
       Would ask for Katie’s, too               

   The other players in that game
       Had bet---and dropped---in stages
   The money in the pot right then
       Exceeded ten months' wages      

   A stake to start a brand new dream
       Life wouldn’t be too hard
   But it was clear, the winner here
       Would need his seventh card

   Now, Jim was showin’ diamonds up
       A fifth one was his goal
   And me?……I had two sixes up
       And deuces in the hole

   So……down and dirty came the cards
       Jim looked……then smiled……I knew….
   That he had filled his diamond flush
       And me?……I caught a two

   A full house beats a flush for sure
       Poor Jim would get a shock
   So, understand, I knew my hand
       In poker terms……a “lock”!

   I only bet the minimum
       Enough was in the pot
   But Jim, with thoughts of Katie, said
       I’ll raise you all I got

   He’d bet it all, I had to call
       And then, within a wink
   Sweet reverie encompassed me
       And I began to think

   A lovely wife, a better life
       My gamblin’ days are done
   No more misdeals, or crooked wheels
       Although……….it’s sure been fun!!

   Now Jim turned up his diamond flush
       Nice hand, said I, I’d swear
   I thought that you were bluffin’, Jim
       I only got two pair.

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



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1  . . 2. . . .3. . . .4


I came here to America
When I was thirty-three
The only job I found was in
A pencil factory

You pack those little boxes there
With pencils---put in ten
Then as before, you pack ten more

The foreman checked the work I did
He swore, he was irate
My boxes had eleven
Some had nine and some had eight

You’re fired, you foreign dunce, go home!
He made me feel depressed
That factory life was not for me
I left and headed West

I worked odd jobs, I labored hard
I cleaned, I carried trash
I settled down right here in town
And saved a little cash

I opened up a tiny store
With tools and ropes and feeds
I bought and sold most anything
To fill the rancher’s needs

My store is so successful now
And I don’t mean to brag
Each night I grab a pile of cash
And stuff it in a bag

Just yesterday, I took one bag
To buy a fancy car
This snooty salesman held the bag
And mumbled, How bizarre

He handed back my paper bag
And said, Count out the price
Again I gave the bag to him
And said, This should suffice

Just take out what you need, I said
Whatever the amount
I’d still be in that factory . . .
If I knew how to count !

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.



Photo courtesy of C. E. Avery, click for details

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"East is East and West is West
     And never the twain shall meet"
You’re wrong there, Mr Kipling
     That phase is obsolete

The rodeo in Medicine Bow
     Is where we twain first met
This Lady was from Boston --
     How Eastern can you get?

And me, a lonesome rancher who
     Rode in to get some laughs
A little break from tendin’ my
     Twain thousand cows and calfs

We met, we had a dance or twain
     And it was clear to me
That I had best lasso this gal
     As quick as one twain three

We tied the knot in ninety-twain
     And I continued ranchin’
Her Eastern flair and lovin’ care
     Made our small home a mansion

When East meets West and West meets East
     A baby they’ll soon add
And that night while I paced the floor
     Not one, but twain, she had

The East, the West, the twain has met
     This family maintains
The Cowboy and the Lady and
     Our twain-year-old twain twains!

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Photo courtesy C. E. Avery -- click for details


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Anna Claus


As we near the Christmas season
Every year I have a reason
   To complain about my lot in life because
I'm unhappy as can be
No one ever thinks of me
   It's not easy being Mrs. Santa Claus

Who is always doing chores?
Who does sewing and restores
   That old tacky crimson suit with worn-out furs?
For a century, each year
I've been letting out the rear
   To accommodate the bulge that now occurs

When my absent-minded spouse
Lets the reindeer in the house
   Through that broken door the elves forgot to fix
Muddy hooves -- there's quite a few
If you're counting -- thirty two
   Unless Rudolph shows and then there's thirty-six

And speaking of those elves
They do not behave themselves
   All their noise while making toys compounds my woes
I am always mending frocks
And forever darning sox
   That they puncture with those awful pointy toes

Since the nearest grocery store
Is a thousand miles or more
   All I ever get to eat is frozen dinner
Although Santa thinks it's fine
When he sneaks a glass of wine
   That's why he gets fat while I keep getting thinner

Santa Claus is too darn jolly
And I think he's off his trolley
   When his cheerfulness becomes a bit extreme
I attempt a conversation
But it ends with my frustration
   If I hear another "Ho-Ho-Ho" -- I'll scream

"Santa: On this Christmas Eve
I'll mount up with you and leave
   Because Anna Claus deserves some holidays
Tell those elves that you released her
And she won't be back 'til Easter
   Even later if they don't amend their ways

You get all the World's applause
Rightly so . . . you're Santa Claus
   Every child appreciates the good you do
Good is good -- while I agree
Save a little good for me
   And you'd better if you know what's good for you!

2000 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read by Mrs. Claus on National Public Radio December 21, 2000 on the Larry Meiller Show, hosted that day by Jim Packard of Wisconsin Public Radio


Meeker image courtesy Nell Daley

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Resolution Number One


I can’t say, this New Years Day, that I’ve been pious
   Fair to good I’ve understood to be my best
It’s the truth that half my days I’ve acted poorly
   And I sure don’t want to talk about the rest

So I’m thinkin’ I’ll quit drinkin’ and carousin’
   Yes, I own I must atone for years of sin
I resolve to seek a life of deprivation
   But  I’ve yet to find the path where I begin

From the Bible I’m not liable to be quotin’
   I’d be squirmin’ at the Sermon-On-The-Mount
How much time do I require for absolution?
   I’m not startin’ ‘til I get an honest count

Wait…….I HEAR IT!…….it’s the spirit of salvation
   Got the feelin' I’ll be healin' mighty soon
Now’s the time for me to test my resolution
   So I’m headin’ out to Mollie Belle’s Saloon!

Not Omar . . . but close resemblance

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At my gambling occupation
I’ver earned quite a reputation
     I can win at cards or anything you choose
And I owe it to a stranger
Who alerted me to danger
     When he offered me a bet I couldn’t lose

It was afternoon that Sunday
When he said, "I’ll bet it’s Monday"
     He was wrong -- I knew it wasn’t midnight yet
So, of course, I made the wager
The amount was more than major
     Then he said, "My boy, it’s Monday in Tibet"

My success began that Sunday
I’ll remember, it was one day
     That I learned a lesson no one should forget
When you’re sure you’re gonna win it
Stop . . . and think . . . for just a minute . .
     Throw it in, old Pard, -- you're gonna lose that bet!



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Now, listen up, you Cowboys there
     I want you all to know
About this gal I met out West
     and my first rodeo

The night before the big event
     the town was in full swing
Wine, women, song, a happy throng
     that place had everything

The dancehall was the place for me
     a band . . . and merriment
I asked this pretty gal to dance
     she smiled, and off we went

Those hand-tooled boots, her leather skirt
     that kerchief in her hair
Could I resist those lovely eyes?
     I never had a prayer

Between each dance, I had a chance
    to chat and be so clever
Then came a jolt, a lightning bolt
     my heart was gone…….forever

"Tomorrow, let’s go out," I said
     and started making plans
She said, "You know, I’d love to go,
     but, I’ll be chasin’ cans"

"You’re chasin’ what ????? I heard you, but
    I hope you’re kidding me
A simple "no" or just say "go"
     and I’ll be history"

I’ve been rejected lots of times
     by ladies back out East
I’ve been brushed off a thousand ways
     to say the very least

Like "Grandma’s sick" or "I’m in court"
     or "next time" or "I pass"
"I’ve things to do in Timbuktu"
     or "I teach bible class"

Poor, lame excuses I have heard
     when some gal turns me down
But, "I’ll be chasin’ cans" is one
     that sure deserves the crown

A can -- back East -- is slanguage
     for that room way down the hall
Are you pursuing outhouse thieves
     who made a recent haul ???

Will you be trailing robbers who
     cleaned out a grocery store ???
Or driving some recycle truck
     collecting door-to-door ???"

I never thought my style was worse
     than any other man’s
Compared with me, it seemed that she
     would rather chase some cans.

I left, dejected, hurt and sad
     I pondered all night long
I’d thought that she seemed sweet on me
     did I do something wrong ?

Next day, as I meandered out
     I sure was feeling low
But, I had come two thousand miles
     to see the rodeo

I soon got so excited
     watching cowboys do their stuff
On Brahma bulls and bucking broncs
     eight seconds……that was rough

Remember, I’m a city guy
     all this was new to me
I stood and cheered for each event
     and then……what did I see ?

My former love was mounted up
     I simply gazed……perplexed
A loud announcement bellowed out
     "The barrel race is next"

The flag went up, she broke out fast
     three metal barrels were there
She cut around, just missing them
     as close as she could dare

She finished in a blaze of speed
     her time would win first prize
And while she held her trophy up
     she searched, and found… eyes


 Back East, she meets the city folks
     Cool Cats and Fancy Dans
All conversation stops when she says
     "I miss chasin’ cans !"


2001 Omar West




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 A Cowboy's Kiss Can't Miss

My gal and I
    Togetherness in life
We care, we jest
We share the best
sure a touch of strife

It’s never wise
To compromise
    The truths we’ve come to know
But, we learned this
We’d better kiss
    And let the quarrel go

To realize
Those flashing eyes
    Are planning an attack
My plan is this
I’ll try a kiss
    And hope she’ll kiss me back

We’ve thought it through
We know it’s true
    Our differences are there
Should we debate?
Or osculate?
    When angry tempers flare

It seems to me
    We’re kissing all the time
It helps prevent
An argument
    So what . . . is that a crime?

Cowboys are rough
And tough enough
    We take hard times in stride
For my morale
I kiss my gal
    Until she’s pacified

When we’re entwined
Our lips we find
    Keep one another quiet
For when we’re mute
We can’t dispute
    It works
you ought to try it !
you ought to try it !

Omar West


From Omar to Pearl



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So White . . .So Red


Was red so very, very red
And white so very white . . .
    As the Indians and the Settlers
    Shared a constant common plight?
The land was unforgiving
The conveniences were slight
    There were months of cold and hunger
    When their future wasn't bright

The droughts, the floods, the wildfires
That they faced with common dread
        And then the joy of sunshine
        Building nature's lavish spread
When Indians and Settlers
Were contented and well fed....
        Was white so very, very white
        And red so very red?

A tepee or a house of sod
Upon a chosen site
        A fireplace or a campfire
        Spreading comfort, warmth and light
A safe place for each family
To spend a peaceful night . . .
        Was red so very, very red
        And white so very white?

The Indians sought freedom
To preserve the life they'd led
        The Settlers, too, sought freedom
        From the life that they had fled
They could not share the land they loved
A war broke out instead . . .
        Was white so very, very white
        And red so very red?
The land belonged to both of them
The tribes -- by birth -- their right
        The Settlers who had cleared the land
        With sweat, strong will and might
They both were much too stubborn
To give in without a fight . . .
        Was red so very, very red
        And white so very white?

The wounds that were inflicted
And the blood that they would shed
        Blood that was identical
        In color when they bled
Their heartbreak, pain and sorrow
As they lived to mourn their dead . . .
       Was white so very, very white
        And red so very red?

Their cultures so divergent
That they never could unite
        Proud independent spirit
        Each believing they were right
Although we know the stories
That historians will cite . . .
        Was red so very, very red
        And white so very white?

2001 Omar West

Photo by Nell Daley, local gal

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My son, they say you're just like me
A Cowboy, too, you want to be...
        Who sez this life's a cup o' tea?

I aint no rich aristocrat
Here's good advice, a lovin' pat...
        And who can give you more than that?

Well, son, although you're only nine
You smile and do your chores just fine...
        Whoever heard a Cowboy whine?


You'll learn---a Cowboy's life is rough
Be kind, stay calm and never gruff...
        Who ever learned by actin' tough?

You'll make mistakes, that aint no shame
Just stand up tall, respect your name...
        'Cause who but you should take the blame?


A Cowboy's word is firm and true
So when you promise, see it through...
        Who then will say they can't trust you?


Alone, you'll be a-ridin' herd
Your throat is dust, your vision blurred...
        Who's out there with a friendly word?


You'll eat cold beans in rain and hail
You'll long for some sweet soft female...
        Who comforts you along the trail?


You're pullin' heifers, chuckin' hay
You're chasin' cattle night and day...
        Who sez that there's an easy way?


This Cowboy life is fine for me
I'm blessed. I'm strong, I'm proud. I'm free!...
        So, who else would I rather be?


Now, son, your life?  I wish I knew
How you should live, what you should do...
        You're young, who knows what's best for you?


But, son, whatever life you lead
Be faithful to the Cowboy creed...
        And then, who sez you won't succeed?



2001 Omar West

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The old man held the letter
     that was written long ago
A letter left, "fer Gramper
     from your grandson, Davy Joe"

"I always called ya, Gramper
     since the day ya took me in
Ya shared your home and raised me up
     ya been my only kin

I'm leavin', Gramper--headin' west
     to find my destiny
Out there I aim to make a name
     and make ya proud o' me

I love ya, Gramper, I'll be back"
     is what the letter said
But after waiting lonely years
     the old man bowed his head

So many many tears
     his grandson never came
He couldn't know that Davy Joe
     had made himself a name

And Davy Joe remembered
     in that letter he had vowed
To come home to his Gramper
     and to make the old man proud

The old man's sight was failing
     but he saw enough to know
Two riders were a-comin' on
     and one...was...Davy Joe

The old man's heart was pounding
     as the riders reached his gate
The man was slouching on a mule
     but Davy Joe sat straight

He rode up and dismounted
     they just stood there side by side
Then years dissolved in minutes
     as the two men hugged and cried

"Ah, Davy Joe, I missed ya so
     jes' let me look at you
A Marshal's badge there on yer chest
     you're totin' six-guns, too"

"These guns have helped me, Gramper
     sometimes problems have arisen
You see the feller on that mule?
    I'm takin' him to prison

Ya mighta heard about that man
     and of the things he did
The toughest man I ever caught
     he's called, The Pecos Kid!

I tied his hands behind his back
    he can't hurt anyone
I even threw his boots away
     in case he'd try to run"

The old man's weathered face showed pride
     his old eyes were aglow
To think this man was captured
     by his grandson, Davy Joe

The old man smiled and whispered
     "I'm as proud as I can be
Be keerful with that Pecos Kid
     he shor looks mean t' me"

The prisoner never said a word
     throughout the afternoon
He reckoned as the sun went down
     that they'd be leavin' soon

The man who sat there on that mule
     was hardened to the core
He calmly gripped in one free hand
     a loaded forty-four

"I had to see ya, Gramper"
     said a saddened Davy Joe
"But Marshals have a job to do
     so, now, I hafta go

I'm glad I got ta hug ya
     and I wish that I could stay
I'll always love ya, Gramper"
     ....then the two men rode away

At length, the man astride the mule
     said, "Kid, let's not use force
I think we've gone 'bout far enough
     now climb down off my horse

You know this forty-four I hold
     is loaded and it shoots
So hand me back my Marshal's badge
     and, Kid, take off my boots!

N' jes' unstrap them empty guns
     n' lay 'em on the dirt
N' git up on that lop-eared mule
     n' nobody gits hurt!"

"I gave my word" said Davy Joe
     "that I'd come peaceably
You let me see my Gramper
     and I made 'im proud o' me"


That proud old man was happy
     but his health and strength had slid
He passed away the very day
     They hung The Pecos Kid

2001 Omar West
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


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