from a collection entitled Stirrup of the Sun & Moon

32.4441° N, 90.1517° W

I savor the rare bite of smoked trout as if it were accidental gold
chewing and breathing slowly —
a moment of bliss.

It conjures memories of tall fires
glowing stones
fry bread feasts after purification.

Visualizing her speckled scales
flipping toward the light in the Connemara-green water,
I ponder her skin.

Then, mine.

I laugh out loud and think to myself:
If I did not still possess a Human Suit,
I would appear as a random skull with chattering teeth.

In truth, with this prayerful feast,
I am communing with her well-traveled essence
as if it were my 'Last Supper'.

This is what "Cowboy Zen" does to a mind-stream.
It turns your soul into an iron kettle coming to a slow boil;
gradually warming you up to the idea of not being here anymore.

Just imagine it!
Vacating the scene, carefree and breezy,
when you have done and seen all you came to do and see.
I don't think I'm quite there yet; but, I might be.

Some small part of me still holds out for magic.
For a sign.
For enough coins to build a desert getaway.
For a love absent of erected battlements, daggers, sorcery.
For a nation to find its goodhearted soul and potential again.

Mostly, though, my eyes are devotees of time's horizon line.
I already have a tea house waiting on The Other Side,
and the light through the rice paper windows is nice this time of year.

Even now— just now in fact—a beam of the sun shone on a scroll hanging on the bare wall.

In ink blacker than a new moon night in deep winter, it reads:

Don't imbibe the poison of the world of red dust.

Drink from the well of your dreams instead.

Then, ride.

Ride the back of the western wind home.

(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen /

sound: When Only the Ashes Are Left / Toolbox / Calexico