Free?

1971

Here I am, a bird, a gull. Yes!
That’s what I’ll be. Upon rocks I
shall sit or fly the oceans, free.

Oh, but free. What is free?
How far is free? I am not free.
I wish to fly to the end of free!

A gull, that is me, I am a gull.
I see the ocean white with foam.
So,is the oceam or the foam free?

I am not a gull and the oceans are
Not free and the foam is not free
And I am not free. I just am…

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The Mustangers

The two cowboys had worked hard to corral the wild mustang. Several times it had charged the men as they worked to capture the beast. They took turns at the ropes as they struggled to get the animal properly tied to the stake.

”High spirited broom tail ain’t he,” said Rob in his Australian accent.

Daniel laughed, ”Yeah, ask ol’ Buster about that.”

Kicked in the thigh, Buster was off at the shack nursing his injured pride. It was nearly mid-day and the sun was out and beating down hot. They had started long before sun up. It took a lot of hard work and a considerable amount of luck for the three mustanger’s to catch nine of the high desert natives.

“You know we could go to prison for this,” Buster warned.

Mustanging in Nevada had been outlawed for years yet the youthful trio could not help but get gathered up in the excitement of the chase.

“Well, either they’ll end up in the pen or we will,” replied the Perth native. He laughed at his joke while the other two shook their heads at each other.

Once they snubbed horse to the post, the two cowboys worked in tandem to put a blinder over the animal’s eyes. The blinder was an old towel folded over and lightly held in place by a piece of hemp rope.

Next came the saddle. Daniel flipped the saddle blanket on the horse. It’s skin twitched wildly from the fright of being in close contact with humans. Rob hackamored the wild one as Daniel cinched up the saddle. They were going to ride the mustang the old-fashioned way.

“Who’s going to go first?” Rob asked.

Daniel dug into his jeans and pulled out a quarter. “Let’s flip for it.”

“Heads” called out Rob.

Daniel tossed the coin into the air and then promptly caught it. He slapped it onto the back of his left hand. When he lifted his right hand it revealed that Rob had won the toss.

The young Aussie wasted no time in climbing onto the hurricane deck strapped across the back of the mustang. Then Daniel pulled the blinder from the horses eyes and made a mad dash for the pole corrals safety.

Instantly the horse pitched up and out ward trying to shake the unfamiliar weight of the rider on its back. It twisted violently one way and then another continually exposing its underside towards the sky. The horse hopped and bucked and came crashing to earth in great big jarring strides and still Rob stayed on the horses back.

They continued like this for nearly a half of an hour. Daniel enjoyed the rodeo show from the top rail. Finally the horse slowed then stopped, exhausted.

Rob lightly tapped his heels into the sweat covered animals flanks. It jumped slightly but obeyed the riders commands as he directed it first in one direction and then another.

After ten minutes, Rob climbed down out of the saddle. Daniel dropped from his perch on the corral and met him half way. “Here mate, take him for a spin.”

He handed Daniel the reins.

Without warning the mustang bolted. Daniel was still holding tight to the pieces of braided leather. The animal jerked the young cowboy off his feet sending him flying across the corral. Yet he held tight to the reins.

The horse dragged him a few more feet and the settled down.

Daniel rose to his feet. Instantly he knew something was wrong. There was a blinding pain that emanated from his right shoulder. His arm felt weak and uncontrollable. Daniel glanced over at this shoulder and instantly realized that it was dislocated.

“Son of a gun,” he said as he dropped the reins and gathered up his useless arm.

A second later Rob was at his side. He said, ”Don’t worry mate, I’ve seen this before.”

With that he slipped a balled up fist under Daniel’s shoulder, directly in the arm pit and grabbed Daniel’s elbow he pushed up and back on the arm. With a sickening pop the shoulder joint slide back into place.

The pain was searing and caused him to pass out. Daniel woke up face down in the dust of the corral. As he stood up he found he still could not use the arm.

“Great,” he said, “now you really messed it up.”

“Well it worked before,” Rob said.

With that he helped the injured cowboy out of the corral and to the pick up. It would be a long and torturously bumpy ride into town and the hospital where they would have to dislocate Daniel’s shoulder again and then reset it.

Under Hoof

Grampa said to me one day
For a cheap hat I should pay.
One without the fancy trim,
Jus’ one with a solid brim.

I should’a listened to Grampa,
An’ through his eyes what he saw.
But given my youthful age
I didn’t hear the wise ol’ sage.

Workin’ hard to dally ’round,
Bringin’ cow-brutes to the ground.
And my, how the dust does fly
Stingin’ even the bravest eye.

But the saddest thing I know
Is havin’ to reap what I sow.
An’ this tear’s jus’ the proof
When my fancy hat’s under hoof.