The Lives of the Cowboys, September 22, 2012

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

«archive page


The Lives of the Cowboys

Listen (MP3)


SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS. .....brought to you by Brazos Brand Unbreakable Brass Brackets & Braces ---- whether you're storing brake drums, bric-a-brack, brisket, briefcases, breakfast dishes, bronchial tablets, buckets of bolts, or the books of Bertolt Brecht, you need Brazos Brand Unbreakable Brass Brackets & Braces ----


GK: Thinking I might mosey into that town down yonder and reconnoiter, Dusty. I'll be back sometime after nightfall so don't wait up.

TR: That is Dead Man's Butte, Lefty. A man doesn't go riding into Dead Man's Butte without he leaves a copy of his last will and testament.

GK: Well, I saw a notice tacked up on a tree down the trail said there is a poetry contest there and the prize is $50 so I am going to recite my poem "Vicissitudes" and maybe win us some victuals.

TR: I daresay Dead Man's Butte would not take kindly to a poem called "Vicissitudes" ---- they might think the "cissi" part referred to them.

GK: I'll win the prize and come back with pancake flour and a pound of bacon.

TR: Don't count on me digging the grave six feet deep. And if nobody beats the drum slowly and plays the pipe lowly, don't be too disappointed.

GK: I'll see you later, pardner. (BRIDGE, HORSE TROTTING)

DR: Hey! You on the horse!!!!

GK: WHOA. Whoa. (HORSE WHINNY, STOP) You talking to me, mister?

DR: I smell soap. Smells like peppermint.

GK: I bathed just the other day.

DR: Around here we take cleanliness as a sign of personal insecurity.

GK: Just like to be clean is all.

DR: Well, I suggest you get down off that horse and don't reach for that six-gun or you will be laying crumpled up on the ground with a rather high lead content in your vital organs.

GK: I'm guessing that you are not a regular public radio listener, sir.

DR: No, sir, I am a well-known desperado named Belligerent Bart and I am a job creator ---- I moved to town and they had to hire two more deputy sheriffs, an assistant undertaker, and a plastic surgeon. And we don't need no more of you government dependent people around here.

GK: I don't care about the government, I am looking for the poetry contest, sir.

DR: Poetry contest???? Ha!!!! You? A poet? You're no poet.

GK: Well, we shall see about that. Who's running the contest?

DR: Lulu is. Down at the saloon.

GK: Okay. Thanks for the information. (GIDDUP, HORSE HOOVES, BRIDGE) Ah, here's the saloon here. Called Peaches & Cream. Interesting name for a saloon. (FOOTSTEPS ON BOARDWALK, DOOR OPEN, JINGLE. SITAR PLAYING "CAMPTOWN RACES") Hello?

LM: Hello, welcome, come in. My spirit welcomes your spirit and may this dwelling be a sanctuary and a refuge where you will feel nurtured. (MD SINGS: Nurtured) Wherever you may be in your journey (MD SINGS: Journey), let this time be yours, and may you feel the light within (MD SINGS: Light within) that is the beauty of your soul (MD SINGS: Beauty of your soul).

GK: Well. Thank you. This isn't the saloon, is it.

LM: This is the salon. (MD SINGS: Salon). I am Chrysalis and this is Shoshana. (MD SINGS: Shoshana). The saloon is that way. (MD SINGS: That way.)

GK: Okay. Sorry to take up your time. Have a nice day.

MD & LM (SING): We always do.


GK: Man, I've got to get myself a pair of glasses. I've been putting it off because out on the godforsaken prairie there's nothing to see anyway, so why would you want clarity, but gosh, I can't read signs anymore. (FOOTSTEPS STOP) Okay, here we are. Saloon. (DOOR OPEN, PIANO "CAMPTOWN RACES", FOOTSTEPS, STOP)

TR (BARTENDER): Yeah? What you want, stranger?

GK: You the bartender?

TR (BARTENDER): Take a look at this filthy apron and smell my breath (HE EXHALES) and take a wild guess.

GK: You are.

TR (BARTENDER): Good guess.

GK: I ain't smelled breath that bad since I attended the Sons of Norway lutefisk dinner and cheese fest.

TR (BARTENDER): What can I get you?

GK: I am in search of a woman named Lulu who is in charge of the poetry contest.


SS: Yeah?

GK: This poetry contest of yours. When and where does it take place?

SS: You planning on participating in the contest, mister?

GK: I am, yes. What are the rules?

SS: Well, first of all, you have to recite your poem from memory and if you make a mistake, we tie you to a post and fill up your pants with red-hot scorpions.

GK: Okay.

SS: The poem has to include a gunshot, bloodshed, a shriek, and horse manure.

GK: Okay.

SS: And finally, if you lose the contest, you have to eat a raw egg.

GK: No problem.

SS: A rotten egg.

GK: Hmmmm.

SS: You in?

GK: Guess so.

SS: Too bad. Cause the contest's over and done with.

GK: Saw a notice posted on a tree back up the trail eight, ten miles.

TR (BARTENDER): Contest took place in May.

GK: The notice said September 22, 2012.

SS: Well, it got moved up.

GK: How come?


DR: Cause I moved it up. I'm the top poet in this town and I saw no point in waiting until September. And then that no good slimeball W.M. Devereaux went and tried to steal my poem. He got up and started to recite and he had no sooner got the first line out of his mouth when the sheriff threw him in jail for plagiarism.

GK: What was the title of the poem?

DR: The title is (HOWL).

GK: I see. How does it go?

DR: I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the woods in the snow where my little horse gives his harness bells a shake and drops a turd for goodness sake and I saw you, you lowdown snake, and I pulled out my Samuel Colt, loaded up, pulled back the bolt, and shot you in the left cheek as you let out an awful shriek, the blood flowed in a crimson creek. And so forth.

GK: He stole that from you?

DR: Tried to.

GK: What happened to him?

DR: Hung him. We take plagiarism seriously in Dead Man's Butte. So what poem were you gonna enter in the contest?

GK: It's called "This Is Just To Say" -----

TR (BARTENDER): Okay. How's it go?

GK: This is just to say

You ate those plums that were in the icebox and which you probably knew I was saving for breakfast and that's why I shot you and you let out a shriek and bled all over the plums but I washed them off they were delicious so sweet and so cold and that ain't no horse manure.

SS: That's some poem, mister. Where do you ever come up with your ideas?

GK: I just keep my eyes and ears open.

DR: It ain't as good a poem as (HOWL) but it's just about the best poem about plums I ever heard. (BRIDGE)

TR (DUSTY): So I see you didn't win that poetry contest. I was hoping we'd have bacon for supper.

GK: It's a cruel town, Dusty. Forty-seven percent of the people are drunk and illiterate and forty-seven percent don't vote in elections and you just hope it's the same forty-seven percent.


Oh the country is in trouble
And that is nothing new.
And in the middle of trouble
Is U.
Say what you want to,
Do what you're going to do,
But I is not in trouble,
Just U.


SS: THE LIVES OF THE COWBOYS was brought to you by Brazos Brand Unbreakable Brass Brackets & Braces ----

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

American Public Media © |   Terms and Conditions   |   Privacy Policy