FLIGHT FROM THE PAST
7 August, 1998

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rod in action at The Riverton Rendezvous, July 2001. 
Photograph courtesy Jay Hagan.

A Thought for Today

More than just a part of love, suspense is head foreplay.

 

Rod is on the road for a couple of weeks and will be back with you sometime during August.

RODEO COWBOY

Being a cowboy is a freewheeling life. At least it was then. A cowboy, whether astride the animal in the fairground or in the coliseum, or hitching down the road with a bedroll on his shoulder, commands a strange and reserved respect. Cowboys seem to be uncaring, moving through life at their own pace. Though some of them still compete in the arena long after they should be out to pasture, they never seem old. Maybe it’s because all of us have been weaned on cowboy films and we secretly know they fulfill all the fantasies we ever had that none of us will come close to living out ourselves.

My specialty was bulldogging and I got so I did it pretty well. Leonard helped. He was always hanging somewhere in my head, coaching me and telling me what to do. And if he wasn’t then I wanted to be as good as I possibly could so that wherever he was, if he had any way of knowing, he could be sure I was trying hard for both of us. Leonard never got to be a real cowboy, and I suppose I didn’t either. I was just pretending. Marking Time. Filling up the days and nights until something happened. Anything. Those days, those years, I was always turning corners. Expecting. I was always rushing headlong down a block sure that at the end something waited. I was always traveling through time with a feeling that the good times were yet to come. Not once did I think I was having good times then. But I was.

- from "Finding My Father", 1976

Rod McKuen concert and appearance details can be obtained via the link below.

Concert & Appearance Details

notable birthdays Ralph Bunche o Billie Burke o Lana Cantrell o Anjanette Comer o Rodney Crowell o David Duchovny o Stan Freberg o John Glover o Nathanael Greene o Mata Hari o Garrison Keillor o Don Larsen o Louis Leakey o “The Amazing” James Randi o Alberto Salazar o Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer o Charlize Theron
Rod's random thoughts Loving and being loved has taken me down every road I ever wanted to travel, up every hill I felt the need to climb.

It is a fact and not a pun that some heft and hoist barbells to attract bar belles. Some work out to keep from going out and working.

Welcome is the thunder to the man who's lived too long in silence.

COWBOYS / CHEYENNE

ONE

Brave
they straddle the animals,
hearts racing before the pistol sings
then leaping from the chute
man and animal as one
wedded groin to back.

One small moment in the air
and then the mud.

Hats retrieved
Levi’s dusted
back to the bullpen
to await the next event.

Sunday's choirboys,
in cowboy hats.

TWO

Huddled in the pits
below the grandstand
or lining at the telephone
to call home victories
they make a gentle picture.
Their billfolds bulging just enough
to make another entrance fee.

Next week Omaha or Dallas,
San Antonio is yet to come.
And now the Cheyenne autumn
         like a golden thread
ties them till the weekend's done.

THREE

They wade through beer cans
piled ankle high in gutters -
the rodeo has moved
         down from the fairground
to the town
and every hotel door's ajar.
Better than the Mardi Gras.
The nights are longer than Alaska now
until the main event begins
another afternoon.

But after all the Main Event is still to be
a cowboy.
For ten minutes or ten years, it's all the same.
You don't forget the Levi’s
          hugging you all day
and Stetson hats checked in passing windows
        cocked a certain way.
Some years later
when the bellies
flow over the belt loops
there're always mental photographs.
        Here the hero in mid-air.
Now the Dallas hotel room.
Now again the gaping tourists
licking off the Levi’s with their eyes.

Photographs of feeling
       mirrored in the mind.

 - from "Lonesome Cities", 1968

 
© 1968, 1976, 1998, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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