My mother was a poet who, at one time or another, wrote celebratory rhyming odes to almost every friend and family member. I, on the other hand, have only written two poems and I doubt I will ever write any more. One, Do Real Cowboys Eat Sushi?, is in celebration of a cowboy I saw eating sushi while my husband and I were attending the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV.

The other, Consent, was written during the course, "A Writing Life," offered in 2010-2011 through the Vanderbilt Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. I was indeed privileged to be under the tutelage of Victor Judge of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School.

I hope you enjoy both poems.


Do Real Cowboys eat Sushi?


He rides a dun named Smoky

Tis a little two-bit colt.

He wrangles for the Bar 3

Bunks most any place he’s tolt.


He rounds up all those stragglers

And brands ‘em in the spring

Then tends the herds that gather

As the desert’s turning green.


He doesn’t take to opera

Or Shakespeare or to Keats.

Nor is he fond of office wear

His trousers have no pleats.


He’d rather be on horseback

Than riding in a car

And when he thinks of city life

He’s glad he lives afar.


He’s kind of shy, retiring

In his dirty scuffed up boots.

He doesn’t have a bank account.

He’s never had much loot.


He only comes to Elko

But once or twice a year.

The sights and sounds of commerce

Fill his cowboy heart with fear.


He’s played some hands at Stockmen’s

Pulled some handles ‘cross the street

Tried some vegan at the Garden

Said he’d rather have red meat.


Once, he visited the houses.

The girls frightened him a mite

With their open ways and blouses.

Reckoned he’d just stay uptight.


Had tongue and tripe and picon punch

For dinner in this town

But when it’s time to order lunch

This cowboy hunkers down.


He moseys up on Idaho

To where it crosses 5th

Then ambles down the sidewalk to

The door beneath the fish.


He ducks his head, pulls down his hat

Like he’s a wanted man.

He sidles through and smiles relief.

No one has caught his plan.


He lifts one eye and surveys quick

Then eases down the aisle.

It’s only just a few steps

But it feels bout like a mile.


He settles down his duster

Tugs his neck rag nice and tight

Lets his hat rest on his noggin

And when he gets it right


He looks from his safe haven.

Not another cowpoke’s there.

Then hears the waitress ask him

“You want the special fare?”


He eyes the chalk display board

Drools at the sights he sees

“Yes, maam, I’d like the special-

And a Rainbow Roll, too, please.


And I’ll have a side of steamed rice

And a bowl of edamame

And some vegetable tempura

And two hamachi sashimi


And a Minotaur and Rudy

And a California Roll.

And a Devil’s Bro and Demon

And a crispy Spider Roll.”


When he’s all done the patrons

Of that Elko eatery

Don’t ever need to wonder

“Do real cowboys eat sushi?”


For he downed it all with great aplomb

Used chopsticks with a flair.

Then paid his tab and parted

Doffed his hat into the air.


He nudged the door and started out.

They heard that cowhand say,

“I’m pert near stuffed with sushi-

And that’s the cowboy way.”





Strong I stand like her

Resisting the nevermore.

Bending, I assent.