Ben McKenzie

October's Featured Cowboy Poet



Pa was up before the dawn, Pounding on the bunkhouse door. He said, "Son, you'd better pull you breaches on, Or you're gonna get whats for. Your grandma's been to Sutters Farm, For a can of their freshest cream. I reckon she'll be up at the crack of dawn, Fair to burst a seam! She asked your ma to corner you. Asked aside, demanded! When it comes to butter day, She's less than even handed. Those sisters of yours don't lend a hand, It ain't cause they ain't able. So I figured it's high time they got a chance, To earn their place at the table. I know I'll catch Billy Hell for this, But we men have to stick together. Your ma'll cloud up like a summer squall, But it's nothing I can't weather. I'll tell her, sit your sisters down, It's time they had some fun. They'll hiss and spit like a gaggle of geese, But in the end, what's done is done." My pa was going the extra mile, It wasn't all just talk. Cause grandma would do her best, to see us both, With our necks on the chopping block. "I don't know what you saw in him," I could hear my Grandma shout. "He's got the manners of a pig, And he's lazy as all get out. Now, he's got that boy following suit, As he grins behind our backs, cause he thinks it's cute. While you just go along with the big galoot, I wish you'd get some backbone! I know you could have done one better than him. One! my temple garments, make that ten! No, tens still to low a number no doubt. You could have bettered him by fifty, I hope to shout!" Then she'd really go to town. When grandma gets her tail up, You just can't slow her down. In between her tirades, I could almost hear her mutter. "He knows girls ain't got the vinegar, It takes to make good butter. He makes me so mad, I could almost scream! He's got that boy caught up, in his dream. You remember last year, when he blacked his own eye? He didn't want to own up to playing the fool. His pa took him up to the high country to ride some fence, So he wouldn't have to go to school! I told you then and I'll tell now, It can't come to any good. Before to long it'll be, girls carry water, And then it's, girls chop wood! I tell you now in ten years hence, It'll be girls work the cattle and girls mend fence! I raised you like a lady, so you could have the best, But you married a Goat Roper and moved us West! If your father could see us today, He'd spin in his grave, to see us living this way. I have no idea what that poor man would say, But there would be no pitch hot and hell to pay!" I imagined she would have it about right. Cause, come nine O'clock, when they blew out the light. Pa would go to bed and catch hell all night. But the final bill would come due the next day, When grandma'd corner me and have her say. "I churned cream all day on the account of you. Just look at all these blisters! And even God could scarce forgive, What it did to your poor little sisters! While you were chasing pipe dreams, They worked their fingers raw! Didn't anyone ever tell you, You're the spiting image, of your pa? The way you walk and the way you talk, I'd swear you two were one." She'd have us both stewing in the same soup, Before the day was done. My pa, had made the manly move, That bonds a son to his pa. The answer I forced over my tongue, Must really have slacked his jaw... I said, " You're the best pa a boy could want. You could have been old man Sutter! But seeing as how it's only a tin now and then. I best go churn that butter."... Ben Mc/Kenzie's Poetry For Cowboys. The End...

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No rifle hanging from my hands, No horse with laden saddle. I ain't chasing prairie dogs, Nor after any cattle. I don't have time to palaver none, Nor hear no airy speeches. I'm headed for the under brush, With a jar of momma's peaches! I see the fence is sagging some, The posts run on like a walking drunk. I ain't got time to pay no mind, I avoid it as if I'd seen a skunk. I've only got one thing to say, It all can wait for another day. I'm headed for heaven the cowboy way. With a jar of momma's peaches! When the lord made peaches I do surmise, He had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. Cause he knew no cowboy could resist, A chance to sample their tenderness! So let the cactus eat my boots, And the chico tear my britches! I'm headed for the under brush, With a jar of momma's peaches! The End... Ben Mc/Kenzie's Poetry For Cowboys.


Skeeters on the high ground, Skeeters in the flat. Cows gettin skinny, Skeeters gettin fat! Alfalfa gettin heavy, Time to cut again. But the hosses won't pull steady, When there's skeeters in the wind! Horn flies work the roundup, As young bull turns to steer. Drive a Waddie crazy, Flying ear to ear. Eatin your share of horn flies, Layin on the brand. Makes a fellow wonder, Don't them suckers ever land? Red ants in my sooguns. Red ants in my boots. Red Ants, Flies, Skeeters, Must be in cahoots! Enough to duff you down a tad, And leave a cowboy greavin! Whilst the Deer Flies and the Horse Flies, Is takin up the leavins! Sun up high in a cloudless sky, Day so hot a man could die! Fence half done, dog done quit, Think I'll stick it out a bit! Someday I think I'll leave the range, To the skeeters, the flies and the sun. But, Lord Ah Mighty, I can't quit now! I'm having to much fun!

Ben Mc/Kenzie's Poetry For Cowboys. The End...

About Ben McKenzie

My name is Ben McKenzie. I am a lyracist, song writer and self styled poet.

I was born in the San Luis Valley in Colorado on March the first, Nineteen Forty Seven

I spent my childhood years in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico.

My Pa was a cowboy who worked for the Chama Land and Cattle Company, primarily. He was a horse trainer and all around Cowboy, although like all Cowboys he would ply his hand at any trade when times were hard. He rode the rodeo circuit but gave it up when he married my Ma (a widow with seven children). He took us under his wing and raised us as his own and although I owe a loyalty to my dad who died when I was five, Rex Reid will always be my Pa. He had three kids of his own, with my Ma bringing the total to twelve, five boys and seven girls. My childhood was spent working beside my Pa and following him everywhere he went meantime. In short I had an idyllic childhood and I owe it all to my Pa, Rex.

I was twenty when I met and married a little gal from Grand Junction Colorado. We raised four children together, three girls and a boy. That was thirty years ago, though it seems like yesterday and I followed my Pa's lead in raising them...

I had always been a prolific wordsmith and wrote song after song for my family and my entertainment.

When my Pa died ten years ago I wrote a song about his kind of Cowboy and then set down to write all of my memories down in poetic verse.

I found I had a talent for poetry and after I had astisfied my grief in the loss of my Pa, I went on to write poetry about my life and all of the cowboys I have known through all these years.

I was encouraged by family and friends to perform my poetry outside my family and nine years ago I took my poetry on the road. I have had no small measure of sucess in the poetic field and am happily performing poetry even today.

That about covers this little diatribe about myself. I have left out a lot that had no bearing on this litany.

I served honorably in the army. I broke a few laws and I like to think a few hearts along my course through life. I found myself no better than the worst of us and no worse than the worst of us. In short, maybe a little all too human.

I thank you for your time and patience in reading this!

Benjamin Harrison McKenzie

You can contact Ben McKenzie at:

Visit his web site, Horse Feathers

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