On the Way Home from Elko: A Poem

I’ll never own a pony, and I’ll never brand a calf.

I’ll never try to yodel, even for a laugh.

Perhaps I shouldn’t even try to write some cowboy verse.

Is it fake ‘cause I’m no cowboy? Or maybe something worse?

Like cultural appropriation, theft, or just plain rude?

Will a cowboy get offended by the rhymes of city dude?


Please take them as the compliment I mean these lines to be

A paean to the artists whose works surrounded me

For three full days in Elko. As I sat engulfed in craft

That conjured prairie, man, and horse, I cheered, I cried, I laughed.

And when the last guitar was stowed, and the cowboys all departed

I drove home too, still filled with awe, still humming, still full-hearted.


I’ll never live the cowboy life. I’ll never rope a cow.

I’ll never gentle mustangs, but I’ll tell you anyhow,

I took home something priceless from Elko’s great event.

Some cowboy brilliance I will treasure. So, so glad I went.



For more about the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, click here.


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