Cowgirl, Cowboy

ooh ooh ooh weep padoo,
ooh ooh ooh wooop padoo
ooh ooh, ooh
ooh ooh ooh weep padoo
singing their cowboy song

Cowboy couldn’t believe Emmy Lou sang that song. He’d thought it was a throw-away – though he’d found it infectious beginning age six – from a cowboy compilation record with a wild west lasso cover, and lyrics remembered as the kid heard it: not “cattle call,” but “cowboy song,” and maybe he heard it right.

There she was, talking of it live with fondnesty (to those spiritual americans of all kinds, natural recyclers, plagued by the thought of ridding themselves of their THINGS so many – BUT NOT HOARDERS, just oft-cluttered collectors of meaning and memories and crapula, faithful to the songs of their still young war-ist country of trick blanket generosity and syphilitic-psilocybin experiments, home and not home on the range; loyal to old beats that had ridden with them across the seas over four centuries; emboldened by defending the free speech that kept converting both from their origins of cotton; to spawn new sounds).

Emmy Lou’s impromptu words before playing the song mentioned a music hall in Lake Charles, Louisiana where “the only way to get to the stage was to climb through a window.” Then, once she and her ramblers finished singing to the cattle to affectionate applause, she paused, reaching back through her years and said so simply, “I always loved that song.”

His discovery, off a mid-career Harris CD he bought for a dollar at the never-winter, never-closing tag sales running in the sunny states where retirees and no-deegree searchers look for hope toward the end, and sometimes need to turn their treasures into cash, brought joy. He considered the find a vote of confidence – his own choice of a long-ago yodel being surprisingly seconded – right there on song-number-three by the dueting, aigrette-of-white stranger who could give radiant blush to any partner’s voice.

Cowgirl loved Sonny’s tale of practicing in the wide-open spaces of the Williamsburg Bridge, his insistent belief, fifteen hours at a time, that a better one would be coming from his horn’s next draft…even as she came from the A. I. version  (“practice! practice?”) Clashy cultura.Nevertheless, she could beat a detail into the sagebrush with her methodology of working art, despite claims of her bent for Basquiat’s Origin of Cotton – under thirty seconds on a wall beneath a factory. Her loves were vast, her feet were fast, and her tagging slow.)  


In the moon, there was no blame. To Belle Star or Jesse James.

Its milk-white powdery shine fell without the sound of a note upon both of them that eternal evening. And, it always would. And, they both knew it. But modestly; the truly abandoned modesty of Dexter’s raised horn. Everything so far away, and sad and happy, in time that way.

Hard maple. Black walnut. Yellow birch.
Some more good woods in a grand piano.

Sand and sorrow. A bruised sky.
Some mournful words in a grand love.

Toilet seats, mostly down, or mostly up.
Toilet seats, mostly up, or mostly down

Excerpted from “Songs of Impasse.”