About Stephen Wolfe
In younger days I rodeo’d
an’ didn’t have a care
‘cept drinkin’ beer and healin’ up
until the next affair.
I seldom had a dollar ‘cause
the broncs all knew my name
an’ dumped me on the hot hard ground
most often… to my shame.
But I cared not for gain or fame
just wanted to live free,
awake to a desert sunrise,
drift like a co-yo-te.
One day I saw a flyer for
a gig in San Anton’.
I got my fool brain all cranked up
to ride the Devil Roan!
This demon had a rust-red coat
all speckled in with white.
Her eyes set wide and full of fire,
1200 pounds of spite.
Eight seconds on the Devil Roan?
To hold that seat is tough,
an’ any cowpoke takes that dare
best have more nerve than bluff.
They told me she ain’t ne’er been rode
an’ couldn’t likely be.
“But guess what boys? That sultry witch
ain’t seen the likes of me!”
By now I’m sure you may have guessed
yep, drunk out of my gourd.
No sober man would sign his name. . .
I did? Oh lordy lord.
I can’t back down! I can’t abide
to go back on my brag.
There really was no question. Dang,
I had to ride that nag!
I took another nip or two
to gird my resolute.
A grinnin’ clown said, “Yep, he’s full!”
and led me to the chute.
Before I even realized
I sat astride that beast.
I nodded off to sleep, but then
the chute door was released.
There’s only just a couple things
a cowboy can’t sleep through
an’ this was one. I realized
I ain’t had near ‘nuff brew!
This devil dame soon proved her fame,
my head snapped like a whip.
My discombobulated brain
just couldn’t get a grip.
Thick dust got in my mouth, my eyes
I couldn’t breathe nor see.
When I lost the reins and stirrups
she stopped to check on me.
Then she’s off like a lightning bolt,
she’s headed for the fence!
She pulled up short and then I flew
like ne’er before or since.
The crowd was cheering, ‘cept the ones
directly in my way.
A rodeo queen was screamin’.
I wiped out Section A.
A hospital, full body cast.
They say I nearly died
with tubes and worse gawdawful things
attached to my insides.
“No cowgirl queen can best this ‘poke!”
I bragged to ease my pride.
But when they told me four more months
I ‘bout broke down and cried.
One little consolation was
a red hair nurse called Lin.
She always had a smile, a joke.
That filly drew me in.
An’ by the time four months was up
she said, “Come home with me,
and I will help you convalesce
and find your cowboy chi.
I didn’t have a single thought
about what chi might be,
but I hoped it would be something
involvin’ her and me.
Well, I said yes, of course I did!
That was four years ago.
I bought a TV, Chevy van,
settled down making dough.
Three years ago she came to me
with starlight in her eyes
an’ told me I had best sit down
she had a big surprise!
Turned out to be a little girl,
we named her Billie Jo.
I knew then I’d never again
Ride in the rodeo.
She was so much like her mama
I quickly did succumb.
By the age of three she had me
all wrapped around her thumb.
It was wonderful, ‘til one day
dear Lin left us alone!
A two day conference in Austin.
My cowboy brain was blown.
“But, but”. . .sputtered I in protest.
She wouldn’t hear a word,
“Are you scared of this little child?”
My sense of pride was stirred.
“Heck no” I said and shook my head
A lie, you might surmise.
“No little girl can best ol’ Bill!”
Would this be my demise?
It started out all nice and sweet
‘til nap time came around.
She held her breath ‘til she turned blue!
She just would not go down!
I begged and cried and pleaded, but
her lower lip stuck out.
I bribed her – and she ate the treats,
then went back to her pout.
Logic could not reach this girl, she
stared me in the eye.
I said, real stern, “you must obey.”
Then she began to cry.
Oh no! Not that! It’s so unfair!
She would not be consoled.
I’d tear my hair, but any less
I’d be completely bald.
A funny thing occurred to me.
Her hair was like the Roan’s!
My rusty little devil child
had come into her own.
She had my number, that’s for sure,
just like that roan had done.
She’d saved it up for later use
when we were all alone.
I may not be the smartest man
but I know when to bail.
I scooped her up and held her tight,
her tears began to fail.
“We both could use a little nap,”
I said as we laid down.
She snuggled up and handed me
her favorite little clown.
Life still can be a rodeo
and throw you for a loop.
Best sit down tight and ride it out. . .
an’ leave time to recoup.
© 2015, Stephen Wolfe
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.
About Stephen Wolfe:
Stephen Wolfe is a novelist, poet and sometimes Santa living in Windsor Colorado. His work has appeared in The Triangle Review and Columbine Poetry Anthology. He was born in the San Luis Valley in Colorado and grew up listening to the country/western music of his father, Carol Wolfe, the last of the farm-raised singing cowboys. “My father inspired me to speak the truth plainly and quietly and to leave the frills and trills to folks that seem to need that."
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