My Pony, by Liam Rector follows Shining River’s article about cowboy poetry yesterday. It is from Cowboy Poetry Matters, From Abilene to the Mainstream, Contemporary Cowboy Writing, edited by Robert McDowell, Story Line Press, Ashland, Oregon, 2000.
Coming back to you, my pony, whom I had to leave
To make money, I proffer up the dire smidgen,
The torn thing I managed to lug back with me,
Along with the big bucks: World is made of bologna.
Like the pressed woods of my ascetic bookcase,
Like the traffic jam full of air conditioning
And grieving music, world is pressed together
As if my impossibility, my pony, as by poetry…
How long I have loved thee to see you now grown old
Though still able—under all this weight—
To put your foot to the far off, to the going…
Carry me now, my pony. Carry us to where we buried
Those Clydesdales who once in soggy spring,
In early morning, plowed those furrows which fed us
Before I could no longer afford the farm.
I think we laid them down, me scrounging money
For the backhoe, over there in the west field.
I think we should go over now to the west field…
And the cats who used to run with us back
In the olde days: Sartre, Huck, and the others—
None lived to see fourteen, though all stayed relatively
Long for cat lives—blessings to them now, my pony ;
Blessings to them who used to run and sit with us!
And will I ever get to hold my father as he dies
And will he release me then from the fear of dying?
Not likely. Probably not, my pony.
Probably much more mulling through this membrane
Which passes so quickly, which stuns me and makes me
Wonder how much longer we’ve both got here to ride…
Ride on while we’re here, my pony, and next spring
I’l bring Virginia, whom I’ve left back in the city.
I’ll bring her to you for her safekeeping.
She needs the hurl and arc these fields have put in us,
Out looking: she needs the kind of joking past grieving
We’ve come to together, thrown through the pressed world
Where I went off to earn being hers and yours, your Liam.