It’s Doc Mehl’s new weekly feature: TUESDAYS WITH GARTH! I’m honored that Garth Brooks asked permission to perform a few of my poems on stage… honestly, this could be a career changer for Garth. These photos show Garth and me both performing… “The Mav’rick.” You’re really owning it, Garth… I love it.
Copyright 8-2006 Al “Doc” Mehl
By this fire, I’ll tell a story ’bout a Texas longhorn steer,
And by the time I’m done, I ’spect you’ll come to taste a trace of fear,
Because this longhorn isn’t like the cattle you’ve pushed down the trail;
The very thought of seein’ him’s enough to turn most cowboys pale.
Now, I’m told that he looks old. As for his color, hard to say;
You see he’s marked with black, and tan, and rust, and roan, and charcoal gray.
He measures wide across the shoulder, and he stands ’bout fourteen hand,
And his eyes look even older. And he doesn’t sport a brand,
You see, they say that he’s a mav’rick from the herds of Pancho Villa.
And he lives off sage and mesquite, and the leaves of manzanilla.
Wanderin’ up from Northern Mexico, he crossed the Rio Grande,
And then he crossed the Devil Ridge, and then the desert of white sand.
And he crossed the Southern Rockies, where the lower peaks allow.
He wears a marking like a crucifix across his leathered brow.
It seems he ran the Mason grassfire, and that’s how his hooves got burned,
And they say he gored a cowboy, and that’s how one horn got turned.
Well, now, he’s got to be a ghost, because they say he never ages;
Men have seen him walk through fence rails and the bars of makeshift cages.
Oh, I can see my story frightens, and it really isn’t meant ta,
But they say that he’s still out there… in the desert near Kayenta.
They say if you see the Mav’rick, you will never be the same,
And you might newly be possessed of powers you cannot explain.
And it’s said that if you see him, you will never take a wife.
And the horn you gaze on first just might predict your afterlife,
For it seems one horn is pointed up, toward heaven, so they tell,
And the other horn is twisted ’round, and pointed down… toward hell.
As for if I’ve ever seen him, I’m not sure that I can say,
Although I s’ppose I ought to tell about one fateful August day.
Rode out alone, beyond the butte, there were some strays I’d hoped to find,
And, well, the mid-day desert sun can maybe trick a cowboy’s mind.
You see, my eyes were feelin’ heavy, but my heart was racin’ fast,
And when I crossed a steep arroyo, maybe heard those strays at last…
And there he was! Just like a vision, as I dropped in from the gap,
That longhorn standin’ by a crik that never showed on any map.
The Mav’rick stared at me, our eyes were locked; my pony turned his head,
And from the scent, the pony seemed to sense this longhorn must be dead.
Then maybe time stood still; my breathin’ stopped; that Mav’rick stood his mark.
And I did not show up in camp again ’til couple hours past dark,
And I could not remember nothin’! And they asked if I’s insane.
And just how I made it back to camp, I never could explain.
And the foreman called me “loco,” and the cowboys shook their heads,
And a couple laughed at me while crawlin’ back into their beds.
But me, I knew that somethin’ happened in that August desert sun;
See, somethin’ there was lost forever. But then somethin’ else was won…
’Cause when I go to throw a loop now, well, you know I never miss.
And lately, under me, a wild bronc turns as gentle as a kiss.
And if I ride a moonless night, you know my pony never falters.
And you know, of course, I never took a bride up to the altar.
Guess I’ll finish up my story, now this fire is just an ember.
And which horn did I see first, you ask? Be damned if I remember.
(Find Doc Mehl at www.Facebook.com/DocMehl , and also at www.docmehl.com .)