Rock’N Bedroll

Rock’N Bedroll



Coronary bands & frog meet dirt

Fiador knots & rawhide quirt

Caliche spits & sweat salt stains

Soft eye lines, McCarty reins

Roached-back mane, squared-off fender

Withers galled & back that’s tender


Chestnut sorrel, gunsmoke blue

Grulla, roan, big blood bay

Wall-eyed, wild-eyed, eye of pig

Pinned-ear, crop-ear, mule-ear big

Broom tail, brush-tail, come what may

Nuggets or biscuits, then there’s you.


Pinworms, bots, scourge of earth

Ringworms, grubs, cinch-sored girth

Curly-cues that twist awry

Slobber chains for boot-top-high

Flyin’ kack that’s leaked plumb loose

Buckin’ rolls o’er slick as goose


Tunin’ forks ‘fore first gold ray

Cackleberries & cathead, too

Single-tree & lantern rig

Bedroll sack & fire pit dig

Painted mares & Big Horseshoe

Nightmares change with light of day


Boss says “Best not stand there idle”

While day is dark ,“Just luck of draw”

Houlihan’s hung on the big outlaw

“You’ll need Minerva’s Golden Bridle.”

Poetic Craft

Poet’s Craft

When I am bleeding,

does your page reek with blood?

When I am crying,

can you taste the salty stains?

When I hunger,

does your stomach growl?

When I laugh,

does your face smile?

If yes,  Poetry.



do you celebrate along?

In my isolation ,

do you recognize your own,

and that together,

we really aren’t alone?

When aflame in passion’s grip,

are you pain’d or warm’ d – or both?

In my pondering,

does your head spin

or want to cry out your answer?

If yes,

then we have successfully completed the requirements of the Poetic Craft.


by Cactus Jack McCarty 5/6/96

Notice, I didn’t let my form get in the way of what I had to say, like Buck recommended.

Draggin’ Home Waltz

Draggin’ Home Waltz

(named by Jeremy)


When I got up this mornin’, I left you asleep,

So warm in the covers, your sweet dreams were deep.

Fixed my own coffee, be gone a short while,

Kissed you good-bye, you rolled over and smiled.

Verse 1:

When saddlin’ his horse, the skies were still clear.

The last mornin’ starts lied “No storm clouds are near.”

Whole world seemed quiet, the windmill was still

But the snow was a’blowin’ just over the hill.

Verse 2:

He prowled through the heifers, still down for their nap,

No heavy ones were strainin’ there in the trap.

The temperature was droppin’ as the flakes started down,

But with more cows to check, he’d finish his round.

Verse 3:

Before long, the ground covered, his fingers went numb.

Tryin’ to head for the barn, his cow horse wasn’t dumb.

Gettin’ cold, but a cow might need help in the storm,

Freezin’ toes, but Wife’s spot in his heart was real warm.

Repeat Chorus:

Verse 4:

Sure ‘nuf a cow’s pushin’ but the calf wasn’t straight

Tried to take her to the barn ‘fore it was too late.

Horse fell in the chase, wet stir’p and boot clung,

Goin’ home upside-down, dyin’ with one foot still hung*.

Repeat Chorus twice:

At the end of last chorus, the last line should sing “Kissed you good-bye…”

*Nov 14. ’94 my horse fell with me, pinning me to the ground so that I could not move my left leg to kick my stirrup clear. When I tried to clear my right stirrup, the horse jumped up so fast that I was unable to get free even with my right foot. I consequently drug by both stirrups, upside-down, for about 25 feet before my left foot cleared and my right boot came off, freeing me to fall away. My boot and spur were still hung and rode the horse without me for another 25 to 30 feet before it came off. I thank God that I was not seriously hurt. I didn’t know at the time, but this song was written a few days later and completed on the same evening a life-long friend, Harmon Liles, was dying of a brain aneurysm in the hospital. A few days before, Harmon had just taken and passed a physical. I didn’t know Harmon was dying.


Draggin’ Home Waltz