Tag Archives: Hunting



The ranch hands found him
half grown and half starved
wandering through the hills
five miles from any real water

Rolled him up in a leather jacket
threw him in the back of the jeep
brought him home and set him loose
in that big slough north of the barn

And what an architect he turned out to be
building his house with cedar post beams
and mud and straw and sticks for walls
larger and homier than a sodbuster’s cabin

An aquatics engineer as well
every inch of his domain cobwebbed
with small rivulets to larger streams
to little rivers all running to his castle

Spill a cup of coffee anywhere in twenty acres
and he could sip it in his home

Mighty impressive and a good neighbor too
until the dry years came

At the edge of the slough was a dugout
where the cattle watered spring and fall
and mostly in winter when we chopped
a hole through thick ice and the cattle’s
weight pushed water to the surface

The beaver needed water too
and he knew what to do
dig a hole through the soft dirt bank
and steal his water from our tank

I watched the surface a long patient time
to see the Vee of his swimming
to shining brown of his head
and fill it with lead

My brother held him up, large as a small man

Life on the ranch is very simple, as was I
what interferes with living has to die
as a city boy might swat a fly

Had they gotten to me then
I could have gone to war



Dick Cheney
just had the worst day of his life
he said so himself

The worst day in Dick Cheney’s life
was not the day John F. Kennedy died
or Robert Kennedy or Martin Luther King

The worst day in Dick Cheney’s life
was not one of the many when he learned
that dozens of the young and brave
he had helped send to Iraq
were not coming back

The worst day in Dick Cheney’s life
was not even 9/11

The worst day in Dick Cheney’s life
was hunting quail in Texas
after a beer or two

The worst day in Dick Cheney’s life
was when he pulled the trigger
and saw a man actually fall
saw a man actually bleed

A bad day for Dick Cheney
may be a good day for the world



When Cheney pulls the trigger
it’s likely as not
that a partner not a bird gets shot

In Afghanistan allies tremble to a man
so much power – so little plan

Killing Canadians from Strathcona
and Cardinals from Arizona

And how many Iraqis now have died
who might really have been on our side



When Wayne was thirteen
he had the finest blondest hair
the finest features and the finest mind
of all the cousins round

A city boy and cooler about everything than all of us
until we took him hunting

When his first shot hit the rabbit
he ran and cried and held it till it died

At eighteen he quit school with A grades
a month before graduation to get a jump on a job
met a girl and bragged of achievement on first date

Over achievement it turned out to be
quick marriage, quick, two children, three

Army for security, liquor for the pain
it was twenty years before I saw him again

He was in a downstairs bar
sitting there as coarse and thick as adobe brick

I wanted to roll it all back
reach in for the lost fineness and yank it all inside out

And hold him like the rabbit when he cried
still innocent when it died



A tough shot, 600 yards at least, running left to right
in the open sights of the 303. Aim to the top of the
third jump ahead, move the gun in a smooth arc
and squeeze slow

It was a kill
I saw it as great skill
a source of blood fed pride
and the deer… well it just died

The Indians used to see it as a kind of revolving door
the spirit of the animal would come back soon
enough in another body if you used the one
he had given up to you with gratitude

There are not many deer in these parts anymore

I wonder if they are trapped

waiting for the gratitude

Indians lost in whiskey

and we never knew