The lot was full when I pulled up out front.
Some cars, but mostly mud-caked pickup trucks.
Men and gunracks ready for trouble or the hunt—
it’s headaches, heartbreaks, and a few lousy bucks.
As I am not among the drunken faithful, yet,
I honor a smoky tavern’s chief unspoken rule:
order a beer, pay with cash,watch where you sit,
and keep your mouth shut, you damn Okie fool.
The regulars’ eyes go back to their bottle necks.
Man… it’s tough to be a stranger here in hell,
where loose old lips forever stretch the facts
and men are even strangers to themselves.
A land made hard by rugged creeds and codes,
and men are judged by hitches and heavy loads.
NATHAN BROWN is an author, songwriter, and award-winning poet living in Wimberley, Texas. He holds a PhD in English and Journalism from the University of Oklahoma where he taught for seventeen years. He served as Poet Laureate for the State of Oklahoma in 2013/14,and now travels ful ltime performing readings and concerts, teaching workshops and speaking on creativity, poetry, songwriting, and creative writing.