BrooksLooks @ Tears in Chiricahua

TEARS IN CHIRICAHUA

Brooks Bradbury

November 2013

ANCIENT CHIRICAHUA

SACRED LONG AGO

NOW CALLED ARIZONA

THEIR ANCESTRAL HOME

THEIR MOUNTAINS AND

THEIR GRASSLANDS

THE PLACES

THEY ROAMED THEN

NOW ONLY TRACES,

OF ‘NDE CHOKONEN

GENERATIONS CAME BEFORE THEM

UNKNOWN APACHE HEIRS

NATIVE BLOOD SPILLED TOO OFTEN

DEFENDING WHAT WAS THEIRS

WHO THEN ONE DAY WILL ATONE

FOR THEIR BROKEN HEARTS

EACH APACHE BROKEN BONE

THEIR BODIES DIED YET SANCTIFY

THEIR CHIRICAHUAS STILL

UNBROKEN NATIVE SPIRITS

UNBROKEN NATIVE WILL

THEIR VOICES WHISPER IN THE SILENCE

SPIRITS ROAM NOW WITHOUT FEARS

WHEN IT RAINS IN CHIRICAHUA

IT RAINS APACHE TEARS

© Brooks Bradbury | Innspired Hospitality

BrooksLooks @ Chiricahua Cowgirl

CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL
Brooks Bradbury

UNDER POWDER BLUE SKIES
A YOUNG ARIZONA GIRL RIDES
ON HER PRIDE AND JOY PONY
THEIR RARE LOVE ABIDES

HER MOTHER’S FINAL DYING HOPE
A GIFT TO HER A LARIAT ROPE
AND A LEOPARD APPALOOSA COLT
HER DAUGHTER NAMED HIM LIGHTENING BOLT

SHE FIGHTS THE PAIN EVERY NOW AND THEN
CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL RIDES AGAIN
TO RECONNECT WITH EARLY DAYS
AND HER MOTHER’S LOVE AND SIMPLE WAYS
IN APACHE LAND OF CHOKONEN
CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL RIDES AGAIN
GET UP, GET ON YOUR HORSE AND TELL ME WHEN
CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL RIDES AGAIN

THEY ROAMED THE DESERT RANGE FOREVER
TWO YOUNG HEARTS TOGETHER,
SMELLS OF PIÑON PINE AND LEATHER
DAYS GO BY AND THEY WOULD KNOW
LIFE’S SUPRISING SUDDEN BLOWS
SHATTERED BONES AND BROKEN HEARTS
PAINFUL FALLS AND LOVER’S WOES

SHE FIGHTS THE PAIN EVERY NOW AND THEN
CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL RIDES AGAIN
TO RECONNECT WITH EARLIER DAYS
AND HER MOTHER’S LOVE AND SIMPLE WAYS
IN APACHE LAND OF CHOKONEN
CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL RIDES AGAIN
GET UP, GET ON YOUR HORSE TELL ME WHEN
CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL RIDES AGAIN

A HANDSOME COWBOY RAW AND TALL
BROUGHT HER FLOWERS, CHANGED IT ALL
HER LOVE GREW STRONGER
THEN ALL FELL THROUGH
ENDING SOME MONTHS LATER
BECAUSE HE WAS UNTRUE

THE WILD WEST BECAME WILD THEN
UNBRIDLED ANGER AND WILD EYES,
SHE SET OFF TO OUTRUN HIS LIES
NOTHING COULD CONTAIN HER RAGE
SHE TRIED HARD TO TURN THE PAGE
RODE HER HORSE LIKE A LION FROM A CAGE

THE RIDE WAS FAST AND FAR AND HIGH,
TEARS FROM LOSS AND CRIES OF WHY
BEYOND THE LIMITS OF HORSE AND GIRL
A WILD CRAZY DERVISH WHIRL

A SCORPION SURPRISED THEM
HER HORSE REARED UP, SHE FELL DOWN
ONLY HOURS LATER CAME AROUND
HER HORSE STAYED BY HER
THEY STOOD THEIR GROUND

SHE DRAGGED HERSELF UP
FROM THE GROUND TO HER STIRRUPS
BROKEN BONES AND AN UNYIELDING SPIRIT
HER LAST RIDE? SHE’LL NEVER HEAR IT

CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL RIDES AGAIN
GET UP, GET ON YOUR HORSE
AND TELL ME WHEN
THE CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL RIDES AGAIN
CHIRICAHUA COWGIRL RIDES AGAIN

BrooksLooks @ Chiricahua Cowgirl

Chiricahua Cowgirl
under powder blue skies a brave Arizona girl rides
on her pride and joy pony the last gift from her mother
upon her death they were left almost nearly alone
her mom’s final hope that they rescue each other
the girl and her pony took their hard lives in stride

from childhood and older they roamed Chiricahua forever
diamondbacks and prickly pear, piñon pine and leather
years went by and they would know troubles life sometimes throws
loss and sadness, all of life’s madness and the pain of poverty’s woes

they shared joys and heartaches, and struggled on these two
the girl and her lineback Dun lived and breathed and grew
good people watched over them, like occasional angels above
giving food and shelter and safety in lieu of a mother’s love

then one day it happened, a new love came to call
the cowgirl fell in love with love him, cowboy warts and all
it ended some months later when she found he was untrue
Chiricahua then erupted her true love was misconstrued

angry skies and wild eyes, nothing contained her rage
the Wild West became wild then, and a cowgirl came of age
they lit out for Dos Cabezas, on beyond Apache Pass
beyond the limits of girl and horse, flat out on the open range

the ride near over, exhausted, she had cried her final tear
a scorpion spooked her lineback dun, it reacted out of fear
the cowgirl was thrown hard down on unyielding ground
she was left there forever to die, her body remains unfound

get up, get on your horse, come tell me when
the Chiricahua Cowgirl rides again
she drags herself from the ground to her stirrups
with broken bones and an unbent spirit
her last ride, she’ll never hear it

Chiricahua Cowgirl rides again
to reconnect with better days
of endless joys and simple ways
over Apache land of Chokonen
Chiricahua Cowgirl rides again

© Copyright 2013 Brooks Bradbury / BrooksLooks

BrooksLooks @ In the Company of Cowboys

A Picnic of Cowboys and Cowgirls

A year ago, a car was parked along the dirt road leading to the ranch and a man was on the other side of the barbed wire fence wandering in the field. This is quite a common sight here in southeastern Arizona, however I recognized neither the vehicle nor the occupants.

As soon as I heard the voice I recognized instantly that it was none other than cowboy poet Baxter Black standing there before me in all his cowboy glory, eyes twinkling out from under his wide-brimmed hat as he introduced himself and his wife the very delightful, CindyLou Baxter.

It seems Mr. Black was given the wrong date for the Southwest Pioneer Cowboy Association picnic to be held here in the Chiricahua Mountains, and he and CindyLou had arrived one week prematurely. Susan and I were just as happy to invite them for lunch, and while I welcomed our new friends and guests to Sunglow Ranch, Susan took to the kitchen making the finest lunch ever made under pressure. Baxter recited his poem, The West, phrases of which continue to this day to pop into my head such as, “the wind is the moan of the prairie” and “they don’t call it Death Valley for nuthin'”…

Today, over a year later was held this year’s SWPCA Cowboy Picnic. Over a hundred guests were in attendance just down the dirt road from the ranch, and a glorious steak dinner was cooked-out and beautifully served to all. More than one cowboy guest remarking to me that, “there are less and less of the real old-time cowboys left.”

Stackable plastic and metal folding chairs were ‘circled up’ after the meal, as raffle prizes and story-telling began. Cowboy poetry was recited. Stories were shared from the heart, and a celebration commenced for the real cowboys and cowgirls who were in attendance. Many sentences began with, “The Smith Ranch”, or “The Price Ranch”, or “The Riggs Ranch” and beautiful, time worn cowboy phrases like “prit’ near” and “howdy” were oft’ spoken.

A bit slowed by age, these were the originals–the ones who’s family tamed this very wild west from the 1870’s onward, and who continued in their parents’ footsteps ranching in this faraway land. Back then, this land had only recently been delivered up, wrested violently from the Chiricahua Apaches as their parents became the first white homesteaders here.

Now, a bit grizzled, thin and worn with age–it was clear that I was in the company of real cowboys and real cowgirls. Lord knows the hardships they faced. I couldn’t help but feel I was watching the passing of a way of life, and the end of an era. But I saw extraordinary character in these wrinkled faces, and simple lives.

Baxter and CindyLou never made it this year, but I’ll be looking down the road for them when next year’s cowboy picnic comes around. Heck, they prit’ near made it last year.