by Baxter Black
“What happened to your pickup seat? Is that buffalo track?”
Well, I guess you had to be there. We had a cow attack.
It all began when me and Roy went out to check the cows.
We’d finished lunch and watched RFD and forced ourselves to rouse.
We’s pokin’ through the heavy bunch for calves to tag and check.
I spotted one but his ol’ mom was bowin’ up her neck.
She pawed the ground and swung her head a-slingin’ froth and spit
Then bellered like a wounded bull. “Say, Roy,” I says, “Let’s quit!”
But Roy was bent on taggin’ him and thought to make a grab.
“Just drive up there beside the calf, I’ll pull him in the cab.”
Oh, great. Another stroke of genius, of cowboy derring do.
Surnuf when Roy nabbed the calf, his mamma came in too.
And I do mean climbed up in there! Got a foot behind the seat
Punched a horn right through the windshield and she wasn’t very neat.
She was blowin’ stuff out both ends till the cab was slick and green
It was on the floor and on the roof and on the calf vaccine.
If you’ve been inside a dryer at the local laundromat
With a bear and fifty horseshoes then you know just where I’s at.
At one point she was sittin’ up, just goin’ for a ride
But then she tore the gun rack down. The calf jumped out my side.
I was fightin’ with my door lock which she’d smashed a-passin’ by
When she peeked up through the steering wheel and looked me in the eye.
We escaped like paratroopers out the window, landed clear.
But the cow just kept on drivin’,’cause the truck was still in gear.
She topped a hump and disappeared.The blinker light came on
But if she turned I just can’t say, by then the truck was gone.
I looked at Roy,”My truck is wrecked. My coveralls are soaked.
I’ll probably never hear again. I think my ankle’s broke.
“And look at you. Yer pitful. All crumbled up and stiff
Like you been et by wild dogs and pooped over a cliff.”
“But think about it,” Roy said. “Since Grampa was alive,
I b’lieve that that’s the firstest time I’ve seen a cattle drive.”
© Baxter Black, used with permission
Baxter Black, top cowboy poet and occasional philosopher, hardly needs an introduction. From Elko to NPR, he put cowboy poetry on the map.
Baxter wants to relay this message, a policy announcement: Since Baxter Black is no longer doing live performances, there are inquiries about others using his material in their performances. His policy is that anyone is welcome use his material in appropriate occasions, including non-profit or paid-for performances. He requests that the poems or stories be performed the way they are written, allowing for editing of length if needed. Please give the author credit.
His office adds that no one, for any reason, has permission to include his work “on cds, books, or dvds…or to try to sell it in any manner, including online.”
This version of “Cow Attack” comes from Poems Worth Saving, Baxter Black’s 2013 collection of 164 poems and stories. You can listen to him recite “Cow Attack” on YouTube.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but request permission for any other use—except recitation.)