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Wamego, Kansas
William J. Karnowski
William J. Karnowski's web site

The Backward Walking K



Two Cowboys

I idled up to the old Exxon
Station man sitting stubble
faced with tobacco leaking
from his smile.

I said, "Nice evening isn't it?"

He said, "Nice bike, it's a Harley, right?"

I said, "Sure is."

He stood up, cocked his hat a little
to the right
rubbed his eyes
walked a full circle around
me and the Shovelhead.

He said that his name was Walt
but folks called him The Old man
or Cowboy, depending upon the
weather.  "Today, they will go with Cowboy,
I reckon."

We shook hands like some old friends do.

He told me the fastest thing he ever
road had four legs, and a mean
disposition, before noon.

I asked him if he wanted me to take
him for a short putt up the road.

"You won't buck me off the back?"

He spit out his chew, smiled, and
climbed on.  I brought up a few
revs to compensate for the
extra weight.

He was busy, holding on to his hat.
"Whooee, this thing is fast."

I never went much more than forty.

He told me there was a campsite
real nice at a nearby State Lake.

I told him "Thanks.", that he was
welcome to come by later.  I'd
make him a cup of campfire coffee
in a paper cup, and pretended not
to notice the tears in his eyes.

It may have been the wind,
or perhaps, it was the brief moment
of friendship between two traveled

2004, William J. Karnowski
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

About William J. Karnowski:

I was raised on the Hoot Owl Hollow Ranch on the North end of the Flint Hills region of Kansas near the Town of Emmett, Kansas.  I am the third oldest of fourteen children.  My Dad was David E. Karnowski.  He owned a little over a thousand acres and leased another 5 sections for summer grazing.   He was a cow-calf man and had Angus cows with Hereford Bulls. His brand was, and now mine is, the Backward Walking K.  My Mother, Louise is still alive and remains active in the management of the Ranch.

The Backward Walking K

My brother Dave and I own a small construction company in the nearby town of Wamego, Kansas.  I am married to Sue, my bride of 31 years and have three creative children, Kathy, Sandi, and Adam.  I have written all my life.

My first collection on poetry and stories is published and is called PUSHING
THE CHAIN, and is available on the internet, or through Barnes and Noble
worldwide.  The second volume called PAINTING THE TRAIN is currently entered into the Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman competition, so wish me luck.  The third collection is titled CATCHING THE RAIN is nearly finished.

Visit William J. Karnowski's web site.




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