I continue to enjoy settling into Vermont. If you're in the neighborhood, I host an open mic at the Tap House in Bennington (2nd Tuesdays). My twice monthly podcast series, Poetry Spoken Here is in its second year. More info and poems are
I Wanted To Be a Cowboy
I wanted to talk like a cowboy
saunter down the street
like a cowboy.
I wanted to look like a cowboy
in the movies so much
that I begged
not to wear a coat in winter.
My Nan relented
and let me wear three sweaters
under my cowboy flannel shirts.
There’s a picture of Johnny, me and Ray
dressed for play in our cowboy
hats and shirts.
We even tried cowboy boots, but the heels
were hard to run in and the toy spurs
It was simple good guy, bad guy stuff.
Ray robbed the bank, Johnny rounded up
the posse, which was me, and we
hightailed it down the trail
to head that varmint off at the pass
before he could make it to his hideout
and escape doing time in the hoosgow.
We were a product of the times.
The frontier still lingered in memory
for people who had been alive
when part of our own continent
was still unexplored,
some of it even unfenced,
acreage not yet accounted for
and corralled by barbed wire,
when a man could sleep out under stars
drink from mountain streams,
feed his horse from a ten‑gallon hat
and cook his dinner in a big iron pot
over an open campfire.
Our grandparents were alive
when Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show
toured the east, when the dust had
barely settled from the Indian Wars,
when Arizona and New Mexico
were newborn states.
Looking back, I can now see
we were not just playing cowboys
when we giddy‑up'd through
that vacant lot and down
to the stream we called Eagle Pass.
We were miniature shamans
re‑enacting our people's history.
Our daily dramas told tales
of a frontier that helped shape us
and the nation around us
and was no more--
a time before factories and fences,
a time that was gone
but not yet forgotten.
©2018 Charles Rossiter
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF