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Tucson, Arizona
Bill Black
Bill Black's web site




Irritated Girlfriend

The cast comes off next week,
It wasn't nothing, you know,
I mean it wasn't much of a fracture
As that sort of thing goes.
It did mess up my hat though
When it fell down in the mud
And that darn horse just stomped it
Just to show he could.
And my girl, I do love her dear,
But wouldn't you just know
She'd say something like
"There's easier ways to get belt buckles
Than that darn rodeo!"

My back could use a rest,
But the ribs are healing good.
The colors most back to normal
So I guess it will be as good
As when I got up on that horse
Just two weeks age.
And my girl, I do love her so,
She said something like,
"I'd rather you wear suspenders
Than go for another belt buckle
At that darn rodeo!"

My left knee is still a little weak
From that fall I took last year,
But I still hear how good I looked
While flying out over that steer.
It wasn't one of my better days,
That I will have to admit,
But it gives us conversation
As at the bar we sit.
And my girl, I do love her so,
She'll snarl something like,
"Them belt buckles are
A blue light special at K-Mart
And that's a lot cheaper
As even a darn fool cowboy should know
Than falling of another horse
At that darn rodeo!"

My heart's a little pained up now,
But that don't really show.
And it only slows me down
When I think what made her go.
She's got this thing about my pain
And seems never to know
It ain't about the belt buckles that
Keeps us on the go.
And my girl, I do love her so,
Is keeping company with some city dude
"He don't need a belt with them city pants,"
She snarled out to me,
"And sure don't chase no buckles
At that darn rodeo!"

© Bill Black
 This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


Courage is Easy When a Tame Horse You Ride

Courage is easy when a tame horse you ride
When rivers are low and no clouds fill the skies,
But thatís not the test that must really apply
And there wonít always be tame horses to ride.

When the winds from the northwest, its teeth filled with snow,
And the temperature is dropping with each hour of the blow,
And youíre twenty miles from a warm bunkhouse fire,
You freeze where you stop if homeís not your desire.

When the water is rising with no way around
And a bunch of stray steers spread over the ground,
Youíll have to hold up there till the water goes down
Or force a fording where some may drown.

When the nights are so lonely that there is no familiar sound
And where you are at isnít close to home ground,
Then its what you are made of, what youíve seen and learned
That keeps you up and not getting burned.

You can be sure of yourself, the man youíve become
When the world drops itís load out where you come from.
You wonít whine or cry or make an excuse
But face that problem and not let it loose.

The days that will test you are always on the way
And you donít run and hide to avoid the fray.
You grab on the problems and just tan their hide,
You made your own courage and tamed the horses to ride!

© Bill Black
 This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.


A grin caused a wrinkle in the corner of the old man's eye
As he gave a quick wink that was wickedly sly
To the guys by the fence that were working that day
As the young man approached not looking away
From the looks and the glances and down right stares,
As he walked to the old man hiding his fears and his cares.

"Sir, I'd like to give that horse another try.
We were just getting acquainted when I decided to fly
Over the fence the last time around.
I want to last until I step down."

The old man smiled to himself as the boy explained,
And knew that the boy would end up thrown and in pain.
He also knew the real reason why
The young man wanted this second try.
The old man's daughter had shined on this kid.
He wanted to prove he was competent to bid
For the affections of the old man's delight
Regardless of how many times he had to fight
His fears and the bronc in the old man's corral.
He was sure that the horse didn't hanker to be his pal.

The older man knew these thoughts that day
And the determination of the young man who'd come this way.
Another young man had done the same thing
Thirty years ago, come this spring.
He'd tried another horse and taken the fall,
But he'd hung in and won the girl's mother after it all.

He didn't let it show when he smiled to the sky
And yelled, "Let's saddle up Red. He wants another try."

© 2003, Bill Black
 This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

We asked Bill how he came to write this poem and he told us: I have been reciting "An Oracle of the Plains" by Robert V. Carr for several years.  It finally dawned on me that part of what I likes about the poem was the "winked at the sky" phrase as it reminded me of two old friends.  Both raised horses in different states, but the wink to the sky was something I saw them do. Both were long married and both had tales of boys trying to ride to impress a girl.

An earlier version of this poem is on Bill's CD, The Changing West.


About Bill Black:

Bill Black is a North Carolinian who left the state when he entered the Army. He has only briefly been back to the state since then, but the rhythm patterns of the language there continue to be a part of his written and spoken expression. While rural North Carolina may seem redundant, some parts, even then, were more rural. This rural background still creeps into his voice and stories.

He was trained as an engineer and enjoys the "puzzle solving" aspect of that profession. He continues to match that to another profession, conjuring, to come up with new ways to do impossible things.

He has written and edited scripts, newsletters, educational programs and technical articles for limited circulation use. He has lectured on aspects of public presentations for performers and fundraisers.

His poetry began as a way to develop smoother speech patterns for public presentations and expanded to become an independent channel for idea expression. Much of his earlier work has been (mercifully) lost in the numerous moves he has made. During a portion of his poetry writing, he, like many other Vietnam veterans, found that it helped define some of the feelings bottled up by and after the war. Some of this has been shared with other veterans and their families. Bill began writing a more Western style of poetry when he realized in the mid 1990's that it seemed a more natural voice for his type of writing.

He come to the West in 1969 and met Sue, who became Mrs. Black in 1971. Their main residences have been in the Southwest through most of that time. They have three children and two grandchildren. Bill and Sue now live in Tucson.

"The Irritated Girlfriend" was written in 2001. It came out of a conversation in a casino coffee shop in Reno during the rodeo there in 1993. (The guy may not be good, but he's got a long memory.. and good notes for a good line or two.) The fellow was relating his injuries to some of us, but mainly to a sympathetic waitress. I started writing this poem after hearing a couple of girls talking about their guys and mentioned the suspenders and the blue light special buckles.  It seemed a good way to tie up the lines.

For those curious about such things, I do not think I am related to Baxter Black, Clint Black or even the Bill Black of the Bill Black Combo (of New Orleans fame). Maybe if we had a few drinks together, we could find or create a relationship, but that hasn't happened yet.

While I did any number of things over the years, I'll have to confess upfront that I never have been a "full dyed in the denim cowboy." That does not mean that I have not been around and even been accused of working at farms, ranches, open spaces and ranges. Also, I'll confess that almost everybody can know more about almost anything than I do. I would usually plead for a fifth before further questioning.


Read all about Bill Black, his CDs, his performances, and more at his fancy web site.



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