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Life, Writing & Photography 
...a Collection of Personal Discoveries
Copyright © by Greg German, 2008

The Limestone Cowboy...

                                               Limestone9...a Brief History 


The Limestone Cowboy Searches For Cinderella



From a distance I can tell

Limestone has got her rollin'.

His bucket seated, four-barreled,

Holly headed, chrome slotted,

Four-wheel drive Chevy, screaming

for all its pleasure.  Coming

right at me, dust vortexing

behind the grey bullet

like a mad-faced angus bull.

I pull partway over into the ditch

and wait.  And as he slows

the cowboy reaches down,

then holds up a milk-white

pair of ladies lace panties

for me to witness.

His bare chest sparkles with heat.

I squint through the dust

and get a dim glimpse of myself

in his pilot-styled sunglasses.

"Cinderella," he says.

Explains he found the lingerie,

clean, hanging from a hedge post

two miles back east and a mile

west.  Mumbles something

about Fairy Tales being real.

Offers there is no time to waste,

and leaves.

             Originally Published in
                 ZONE 3, 1987, Winter










The Limestone Cowboy And The Red Rooster


Wednesday morning,

and Limestone, sleeping in,

pulls the sheet up

to his neck, camps a pillow

over his eyes, and lies there

underwater.  But the Red Rooster,

the one that cockles with last winter's

sore throat, "What can I do?  What

can I do", till noon everyday

steps out of bounds

beneath Limestone's bedroom window.

The tide goes out.

The cowboy comes to the surface

with the attitude of a linebacker,

borrows a shotgun from beneath the bed,

and tackles his way to the backdoor.

"Die," he draws.  His voice spreads

across the yard molten as lava.

Hens scatter like marbles.  The rooster

squirts straight up,

and 4 feet above the ground

pops like a hot coal.

Pieces strain through the bushes.

Cats scramble.  The dog

goes on point, and Limestone

shuts the door.


             Originally Published in
                 ZONE 3, 1987, Winter














The Limestone Cowboy Discovers Atlantis


It is August, some late afternoon, and Limestone

and me are idling the back roads, half-gone,

our minds leaned onto a 12-pack of Coors

that sits between us like a best friend.  In rhythm

with each beer, we drive deeper into our past,

stare through the hazy windows of our childhood,

or cruise by the abandoned shacks of overheard

stories.  Then, just before the last can spins

into the ditch, the cowboy is blessed

with discovery—tells me our ancestors

have been near all along.  His Chevy rockets

down the road.  My side mirror reflects

the dog, flying in the back, his face streamlined

by the wind, his tongue wet-twisted

to his ears.  Dust vortexes across the hot back

of summer, and I am along for the ride.

We stop at the quarry.  Limestone gets out slow,

then describes how years ago our grandfather’s

fathers worked here.  Explains how someday,

it will be a million.  “There ain’t no length to time,”

he lectures.  Mystified, the cowboy mumbles

something about Atlantis.  Describes how the island

didn’t sink, how the continent of Kansas emerged,

soaked up, flattened out, everything.  Surrounded

by fossils, we stand in the pit for what could be ages

listening to the voice of some old ocean.  Shuffling

across the pages, Limestone wanders across history.

Rock dust collects on his boots. Briefly, I am abandoned.
















The Limestone Cowboy Duels A Stubborn Horse


Sunrise.  The cowboy is committed.

And has chosen spurs

that this dirty-spotted pinto

will come to an understanding,

will take its first step

with man.  And Limestone,

wanting the animal to see a hero,

walks slow across the corral--

Rolls his shirt sleeves

above his elbows.

Pulls his hat low.

Lets his jeans settle

even lower.  Three steps

then four, he revolves around

the barrel of the pinto's

aimed hindquarters.

Their shadows braid.  Limestone

steals the horse's eye,

reappears in the saddle

and holds on for tomorrow.


             Originally Published in
                 ZONE 3, 1987, Winter




















The Limestone Cowboy's Luck Runs Out


With the woodburner cracking hot,

our shirts off, and our boots

kicked across the room,

the four of us

sit in Limestone's tack shed---

soak up the smell of warm leather

and horse sweat, deal pinochle,

and work on a case of Coors.

Two dollars up, the cowboy bids

with fishermen's luck, takes the kitty,

draws into aces and melds a run

with a black queen.  He is proud.

And reminds us of when he rode

the crazy horse at a full buck

all the way to the creek.  His tens

take our tens, and though it's February

the picture on the calendar

describes November.  Old horseshoes

are nailed above the dirty window;

mouse tracks lead behind the Norge,

and it might as well be Christmas.

Already Limestone has trumped hearts

when he jumps up, chokes,

and hollers:  "Dog fart."  He kicks

at the pleased animal, and we all run

out the door, stand there in the cold,

even the dog,

looking in.


             Originally Published in
                 Bits Press, 1988, Light Year Anthology




















The Limestone Cowboy, Me, And Everything Else

Sit Around A White Man's Campfire


It is summer.

And on the south side of the lake,

west of the quarry,

Limestone and me have built the universe

a center with a butane lighter,

a dirty kleenex, and a good selection

of cottonwood, elm, and oak.

Already there are enough hot coals

for everyone to lose their mind.

We sit way back, let full cans of beer

go to waste.  And behind us in the night

butterflies and birds pull up their wings

and sit on the ground.  Chiggers line up,

knee to knee, on tall blades of blue-stem.

Crickets kneel, too awed to speak.

Snakes stretch out.  Coons and opposums

lean against the legs of deer.  Fish

come dangerously close to shore,

and the dog doesn't turn around

before laying down; blue-hot arms

of honed heat shiver

away into the dark.  Sparks

defy gravity, and there is a voice

in the fire that we can see telling secrets.

"Louder," the word drops from Limestone's mouth.

I don't need to ask to know

he has confronted the source

of it all.  I remember

the fire is hot, and that hours ago

the mosquitos moved out to hover over

the lake.  The lift of their wings

together so strong I assume

an eyebrow sized wake

now bends across the water.

We are safe, and I notice Limestone is asleep.


             Originally Published in
                 ZONE 3, 1987, Winter





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The Limestone Cowboy Sees God,

And It's A Woman


Mid-morning, the next day,

after the mud has settled

and the country roads

have turned the color

of smooth-grey,

I drop by Limestone's place.

Find him there on the front step,

barefooted, leaned against the screen door

wearing nothing but Levi's,

his boots at ease on the sidewalk.

And before I ask, Limestone tells me

he's had a vision.  "Jesus," I swear.

"No," he replies.  "God.

And She's a woman."  He says something

about next Sunday, pulls his boots on,

and leads me to the place of revelation.

Two miles east and a mile west

he parks in the middle of the road.

The dog bales out, and we all walk up the hill.

Halfway, the cowboy stops.  Points.

I see nothing but a stone post

and a plum bush, together,

planted next to a short tree.

Aware of disbelief

he describes to me how She

was there, last night,

lightning all around Her

--- Her skirt, and hair

wet and windblown in the rain.

A doubter, I stare at the truth.

A believer, Limestone turns

and  walks back down the hill.


             Originally Published in
                 Hawaii Review, 1989, V.13, N.2








The Limestone Cowboy Talks, At Dusk


Finally, from where we sit

on the bent tailgate of Limestone's

pick-up, after three beers

or five, I ask him

where's he been.

He never looks up,

his eye hooked over the edge

of the can hanging out

of his hand.  His boots

are dry-cracked

more than I thought, dusty.

The dog licks my face,

then runs a rabbit.

Words crawl down the cowboy's legs.

"A gelded palomino," he says.

Tells me about this horse

laid down in the middle of the road

near a bridge built of bones

like his, and close

to the creek of his namesake.

Wants me to believe he

was under the rested beast

when it stood up.  Says:

"That's where I come from."

We each drown our silence

with another beer and half-way

through the next he looks up

at nothing and says:  "Yep."

Tells me that's where he's been,

and that he's headed somewhere

west of the sunset.


             Originally Published in
                 ZONE 3, 1987, Winter


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The Limestone Cowboy Goes Down With The Ship


Five inches of rain and three

hours after the first sun

in two days, Limestone declares

that it is too wet to work

and time to play.  Lewis

and Clark, he suggests—

narrates that the creek

has gorged itself to the size

of the Amazon and waits

to be discovered.  Pure,

the ride is wicked.  Elm

and cottonwood branches,

slash against our faces, lunge

for our paddles.  Saddled

on the back of a fast-paced

python, the cowboy's canoe

twists through the tree tops. 

And then we are there

—north of fame, our eyes

wide with ourselves

and one large dead log

stretched across the creek.

A limb the size of a cannon

punches me artfully in the middle

of my chest.  The ride is terminal. 

I grab the hard wood barrel

and hang there like a cat

clutched to its last life. 

The canoe is swallowed.

"There ain't no length to time,"

the cowboy told me once. 

About ten years later

I see his arm come straight up

and out of the snake's cold, wet

guts and hook around the log.

"Timex," he states.  "Ya alright?"

My hat maneuvers around

Weidenhaft's bend, and I notice

Limestone still holds his paddle.

Eyes clean, he is smiling.

And I know he has cheated 

for both of us. 






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The Limestone Cowboy:  A Reflection, A Vision


Months now--the cowboy gone.

. . . an offering to the times,

circumstances, big banks, faceless

people.  Life.  Simply. . .

an explanation he'd gathered

and folded into his back pocket.

I don't know how many beers we drank.

"Hell," he had said.  "I'll be out there

riding every shooting star you see."

Now he is nowhere and everywhere---

a mirage gliding across fields, horse

sweat gleaming from the Palomino,

his dog chasing hidden spaces empty.

Distant country roads are swept

with delusions of dust, parachuting

clouds, launched from beneath

his Chevy.  And sometimes, just inside

the timberline, an odd moment pauses

before walking further into the creek.

Skunks, coons, and coyotes are safer,

some still tired from Limestone's last chase,

their instincts sharpened from a missed

bullet's honing flight.  Catfish

are more plentiful; the river's edge,

more private; older deer, fatter,

rested--Limestone's conscience clean.

He told me once Captain Kirk was right

to seek out stranger faces, different

places, to boldly go where no man

has gone.  And when I least expect him

he is there riding across the Universe,

heartbeat to instinct, a psychological

twitch, a man, a myth, one life

to the next


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