This week the artist I am featuring for #WesternArtWednesday is a man I am honored to call friend even though we have yet to meet in person. He is a Cowboy Poet who, I'm sure you'll agree, has great talent!
Well, enough from me.
I introduce to you, Sergio "Trigger" Schaefer!
- Life Story
My dad was a cowboy. His lifestyle didn't rub off on me until after I went to Texas. I got my head right and took it upon myself to fill his boots. I worked wherever I could and learned as much as I could. I was intent on punching cows and working horses for the rest of my life. That was, until I met my wife. Like so many other cowboys, I fell in love, and was put on notice. I couldn't marry her, until I had a "real" job. One with a 401K and a retirement plan. I always thought $400 a month, three squares hot, and a cot was perfect? She obviously didn't. I took a full-time town job and continued to do day work, when I could. We had a son; he's 16 now. Two more years of high school and perhaps, one day, I can hire on full-time to a nice little outfit. At least, that's kinda the goal! Until then, I enjoy entertaining the folks who do the work, and live the life!
Who doesn't write about family? My son is the inspiration for a few poems. All parents can relate to that. I just happen to be blessed with a funny kid!
At the Sunday table one day
We watched Wyatt play
Out at the In-Laws home.
That we all waited
And Wyatt began to roam.
He was still small
Being a toddler and all
But, he was a mobile kid.
He could walk upright
And gave us a fright
When he decided to run through the house, like he did
As usual, I got to talking
While he began walking
I felt no need for concern;
There were plenty of eyes
So, I saw no surprise
Sooner or later, he'd learn.
A while had passed,
The table filled fast,
I couldn't wait to dig in.
Figured Grandma had Wyatt
Cleaning him up, or at least try it,
And lunch was about to begin
We all took our places
As I looked at the faces
Of my family, getting ready to eat
I heard a noise -
It didn't sound like toys,
More like...boot-covered feet?
It came from near the door
On carpet-covered floor,
Little "thuds", not loud, but there
A moment passed by;
I couldn't believe my eyes
As my hat took to the air!
It glided with ease
Across the couch, like you please,
Only the crown in sight.
The couch back was in view,
I wasn't sure what to do,
It gave me a bit of a fright!
The hat flew some more,
The boots hit the floor,
Every step getting louder.
Then, something else hit the air,
(I'm sure it was there)
The distinct smell of...baby powder.
It came to the end of the couch,
For what I can't vouch,
But, "the ghost" finally neared.
With my boots past his thighs
His grin filled our eyes
And his cute little face appeared.
Wearing only diaper britches
We broke out in stitches
Wyatt smiling ear to ear
That lid he was sportin
'Sure made him shorten
As my finger wipes away a tear.
He came moseyin' on over to me,
His age less than three,
And I sat that cowboy on my lap.
My boots slipped to the floor
He kept my hat a bit more
But, couldn't wear it, during his nap.
- Career, Western or mainstream?
This is a tough question. Cowboy poetry has always been a western genre. But, since Waddie Mitchell went on the Johnnie Carson show, and then Baxter Black, it might be considered mainstream? Yet, so many folks have never heard cowboy poetry. so, I guess it's still western!
This is one I was inspired to write with my dad. He loved old western movies. The story was easy to put to rhyme. It was one of his favorites!
Talk of the Town
This snow's been falling all day and this is the coldest yet.
This outfit's had a rough time getting 'em set.
A drive's comin' and time's short. All this herd needs is a trail brand.
Last month we were in Texas riding in the sand.
My partner almost crippled his horse ropin' a heifer down
and came close to going with it, when we all went to town.
You gotta know we got crazy and lost all our sense.
We got to drinking and went outside and ol' Whiskers took out a fence.
His mount got away from him as a shot rang out. He fired his six gun with glee.
His eyes all crossed and red, God knowing, he couldn't see.
His horse ran for a house. The one the bar keep's said to own.
In his saloon, above the bar, he kept his ownership papers well shown.
You see, it wasn't just a fence. But, after it fell down,
Whiskers horse ran for the porch, kicked up his heels and started spinning 'round!
While all this was going, without a moment's pause,
I fell backwards laughing. Corn whiskey helping the cause.
This horse was stubborn and stout.
Whiskers on his back screaming "TARNATIONS, CUT IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!"
By then, I had tears in my eyes. While I proceeded to soak my drawers.
Whiskers got clean bucked off, staggering up and rubbing his sores.
The horse, meanwhile,continued his fit. Outright and quite steady.
Out the door came a woman, the bar keep's wife named Betty.
In her hand there hung a lantern. Shining bright and wide.
The horse flat kicked her arm and threw it to the side.
This, in turn, started the fire in the yard by the house.
Taking all it wanted. Including the shack owned by her spouse!
Whiskers ran for it in fear. He wanted no part of THIS.
Knowing it good and well, his reward would NOT be a kiss!
A few days passed by and all went pretty good.
Work went on and no sheriff came. So, we kept on like we should.
Blackie, our foreman, went to town. To see if the smoke had cleared.
He went to the saloon for a drink and all was NOT as feared.
It seems he heard the regulars talking of that night.
Asking if those guys were anywhere in sight.
It was odd, to say the least, that a reward was overdue.
The boy had burned down a "cat house" and the bar keep up and flew.
Betty was NOT his wife. But, a "lady of the night",
and the sheriff's been tryin' years to get them out without a fight.
So, old Whiskers done that town a favor, burning that house down.
And Whisker's crazy horse is now the talk of the town.
-How did you get introduced to your art?
I've been writing poetry, since I was in junior high. Back then it wasn't western based. It was what was in my heart and head. My way of venting or expressing my feelings. I was a closet romantic. All my friends wouldn't have understood it back then. But, the girls sure did! I wooed the young ladies with them. After I came back from Texas, I was immersed into the western life. So, obviously, my material and topics changed. I found myself sharing them with other cowboys, family, and friends. My foreman, at the Winter Hawk Ranch, encouraged me to recite publicly. After three seasons, I gave in. I performed in my first cowboy poetry gathering in 1994, here in Colorado Springs. I've been doing it ever since.
Coffee is the drink of choice by cowboys. At least all the ones I know and myself. I thought to myself, no one ever talks about the side effects. Let alone, in the middle of winter!
Being ten below
with a foot of snow
and coffee in your gut,
One may tend to think
"my favorite drink!"
and "Always makes the cut!"
I have to agree
it's not hard to see
Yeah, I REALLY LOVE IT!
It's my life's blood
thick as river mud
My mornings perfect fit!
That is, until noon
it's a different tune
when my gut starts to bloat,
start feeling the blues,
you hear sounds from your coat!
This cannot be good,
move fast as you could,
the outhouse calls your name.
You're moving so fast
the door comes at last;
it's the start of "the game"
You dressed for success,
thought "warmest is best",
with layers you put on.
Keep in mind the cold
not feeling so bold;
they ALL have to be gone!
Now, here's the pickle
the cold don't tickle
and your zippers are froze!
So, what can you do?
Solid ice clean through!
your mad zippers got chose
I think you're aware
of the game we share--
we all seem to play it!
It's not played for fun,
we all come undone
and do our dance a bit.
Please keep in mind
the weather's not kind
I'd choose buttons next trip!
The "dance" won't last long
it won't go so wrong
and you'll greet that next sip!!!
- What got you started as an artist?
I can answer this question easily! The crowds!!! I fell in love with the folks who love this genre. They are sincere in their appreciation for it. I love making folks laugh and enjoy seeing their reactions to my madness, on stage!
My other favorite topic is my wife. It always seems to strike a familiar cord, with the married crowd.
We came up with a plan.
See, I'm a fair man
To take turns with "quality time"
She would choose hers
Without any burrs
Or sass or guff of mine
Likewise, for her
Although.....it's a blur
I can't recall mine done?
I must confess
Her idea sounded fun!
Ya see, it was her turn
I had lessons to learn
on how to relax and tan
So, off to the pool
Just like a fool
I lay on my floaty like a man
The sun just beat down
I felt like a clown
It's hard for me to relax
My farmer tan shown
my whiteness well known
and she began stating "facts"
"You won't stay white long."
she said almost in song
"We'll get you some color soon!
If you did this with me
You won't look like the moon!"
Well, I didn't say a word
I just focused on the bird
Laughing and watching me there.
The time seemed to fly
And I opened one eye
It felt hot, on my skin, that was bare
I'm hot. Are we done?
"Noooo this is fun!
Splash water where you're hot.
You'll cool down."
I lost my frown
And gave it all I got
Now, drenched to the bone
My situation unknown
She finally calls it a day.
We started to get out,
I hear her shout
"OH MY GOD! I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY?!?!?"
"You're so red!
From your toes to your head!
Honey, I feel such remorse."
Sunscreen was not used,
The suns rays just cruised
Without a thing to stop their course.
I went to the tub
My skin too hot to rub,
And my knees and jaws were chattering.
I sit there in pain,
It was hard to refrain
From giving a verbal battering
I promised I would,
And so, I made good
On HER choice of "quality time"
As the vinegar flowed
My seeds have been sowed
I'm reaping the choice of mine
Her comments poured out
I couldn't help but shout
IT'S NOT CLOSE TO FUNNY!!!
She was trying to keep it light
In spite of my plight
"I'm soooo sorry, honey."
Sun poisoning came--
She's not to blame--
I dealt with it just fine,
But, NEVER again, EVER
Will I pull THAT lever
Vengeance soon would be mine
For the time that she laughed
A plan I soon draft
As the redness and blisters fade
Peeling began fast
I knew it wouldn't last
And I was certain of the plan I made
She lay there in bed
As I hit the head,
And the mirror caught my eye
My whole torso was ready
So, I lifted steady,
And removed a ten by ten strip in one try.
I walked to the bed
Not one word was said
Until after I held it up to the light.
GET A LOAD OF THAT!!!
She squirmed where she sat
YOU CAN SEE THIS, RIGHT???
After the peeling was done,
I decided no more sun,
Or, at least, none in a pool.
It's been my choice,
(in a timid voice)
That's my ONLY rule.
A hard lesson was learned
I hate being burned
I'll avoid it, if I can
Next time it's her call
I'll act natural and all
But, the pool is on permanent ban!
- tell me about your subject matter, (ie just horses, just buckaroo style, rodeo etc. )
I write about a lot of subjects. This isn't always what cowboy poetry contest and western magazines want to hear. They all want modern day material. I love it all. I write about old west stories, mountain men, historical figures, and topics that the city and country folks can understand. I went to a Baxter Black show, years ago. He said he writes about topics that only country and cow folks would understand. This made me think. Why segregate your audience? Why not include everyone? So, I split it up. Now and then, I use cowboys terms that city folks won't get. But, the next poem includes them. I like to think I write something for everyone
This is one of the crowd favorites. At least among the lady folk! True stories always make for good material! It's just another cowboy, out of his element, kinda thing.
· For my wife.....TRUE STORY
When most of us were growin' up we learned to wash our hands.
Wiping clean the dirt and grime we collect across the lands.
My mom once told me to dry 'em off on a towel that was clean.
So, natually I did it good, on the FIRST thing that I seen!
With this in mind, I'll go on and tell ya of my "deed".
I just came home from work, makin' money that we need.
She yells to me "Get washed up! Dinner's almost ready!"
So, I head to the sink and lather up real steady.
After rinsing I shake 'em good and turn to face a towel,
Dryin' off my hands, which earlier, were quite foul.
As I'm about to finish the job my fiancee walked in an' glared.
Tells me of these "show towels". A secret she'd not shared.
My first reaction, of course, was "What the heck are those???"
She proceeds to tell me "They're like porcelain dolls with bows!
You are NOT supposed to use them!!!!!" She yells right in my ear.
"They're only used to look nice! I've had them less than a year!"
Why, I had no clue you have a towel for "show".
The way I was raised up, how was I supposed to know???
All I did was dry my hands (Not that they were soiled).
But, the way she came uncorked, you could see her blood was boiled.
I calmly apologized and headed out to my plate awaiting me.
But, since that little occurrence, she couldn't let it be.
"You've NEVER heard of show towels???"
"NOT ONCE in my WHOLE LIFE!"
"Well, you'd better get used to 'em if I'm gonna be YOUR wife!"
"So, where do I dry them off after I go scrub clean?"
"The USABLE TOWELS are under the sink."
"You mean....The one's I've never seen???? "
"You've been using my GOOD TOWELS since we've both lived here???????"
"Well, YEAH! They're clean and dry, so, I had very little fear. "
"I should ring your neck for this!!! You KNOW how I am!!!"
"Ok. Ok. I'm sorry. Let's forget it "
"NO! That's let's forget it, MA'AM!!!"
- What advice would you give to someone just getting started as an artist?
Simple. Don't do it for the fame or the money. Like cowboying, there's no money in it. You do it because you love it. Not everyone will be the next Waddie or Baxter. They are the exception to the rule.
Cancer has touched so many lives. Mine is no different. It can't be ignored. The intro to this poem is pretty self explanatory. I sure miss this man.
This one's a VERY personal poem I wrote for my friend. It was intended to help him keep his head up. The family liked it so much, they put it in his memorial hand out. It's called:
THE FIGHTER ( for John)
I know I'm not the first to have heard such news.
And after a hard days work, ya tend to get the blues.
But, I'm here to tell ya this man's my friend.
And I know he's goin' to fight this, until it comes to an end.
It wasn't long ago, when a mutual buddy came to my door,
and tells me there's somethin' wrong. It's got his family on the floor.
"I'll let them tell you. It's only right."
And we headed on over to the house on that fateful night.
John and Shellie were on the couch. Everything seemed just fine?
But, he had this "look" about him. And he put it on the line.
"I went to the doctor today. They ran some different test.
And they told me I have cancer deep within my chest."
I wasn't sure how to respond to news quite like that.
I remembered a dear lost loved one. And how losing her still sat.
Then I looked at them again and concerned questions spewed out.
After the answers came I realized, that's NOT who this is about.
John's a fighter. He won't just lie down.
I give my support to him wholeheartedly, and won't let his family frown.
We keep it light, as usual, and talk about our next rides.
I give the support his family needs, that helps them roll with the tides.
We talk about how stubborn he is, as strong as oxen teams.
His humor is as sharp as ever, aware of unfulfilled dreams.
He sees no disappointing end and lives life day by day,
As only a man of will can do with positive things to say.
With every good thing that happens to make his day go by,
it only makes me more confident, that this bird to shall fly.
I've only known him for awhile, not into multiple years,
But, I've grown to love him dearly and I will NOT shed a single tear.
We really don't have a reason to? Maybe just due to our own fear?
This will be just another river to cross, bearing fruit on the other side.
He's already told me in conversation, there's plenty of time left to bide.
He has more irons in the fire that have yet to be placed.
And this is just one more test in life that has to be faced.
I look forward to him feeling better and catching years of flack,
About things like my favorite football team, and riding so far back!
I once thought that I should keep God out of my poems. I didn't want to offend anyone in the crowd. Over time, I realized, I cant. God blessed me with this skill and I should use it. So, I wrote this for a cowboy church performance. It was a homerun!
The Lord loves a Sinner
The old cowboy had a few sips,
vulgar words left his lips,
and no, he wasn't always kind.
But, his best friend, his horse
well treated of course!
He knows just what's on his mind.
The stock's made him insane,
and put him in pain,
hence, the bad words and drink.
At the end of the day
there's not much to say
So, he likes to lay there and think
His eyes look to the sky,
a few clouds float on by,
and crickets serenade.
A thought crosses his mind,
he starts to unwind,
realizing the choices he's made.
He crawls to his gear,
his eyes filled with fear,
fumbling through the pile.
His saddle bags get tossed,
he seems almost lost,
and tears well up for a while.
An hour had passed,
his hands become clasped,
and he kneels upon the sage.
"Please help end my search?"
(The wind blows through the birch)
"I think I'm on the wrong page."
As he bows his head low
his eyes catch a glow;
the moon lit up it's face.
There on the ground
lay safe and sound
was his Bible that lost it's place.
How the letters glow!
The moonbeams helped show--
he took it as a sign.
The breeze died down,
his mouth started to frown;
the pages were less than fine.
Though aged and battered,
it's condition not flattered,
his questions began sorting.
The cowboy opened the book
and upon just one look
his fingers found Psalm 104:14
"Thanks for the reminder Lord."
The tears then poured,
and the answers finally came out.
He forgot what he's doing out there
his soul came to bare,
and the Lord cleared away all his doubt.
Well, folks, that's all for today, but if you'd like to see more I encourage you to check out Trigger's page on Facebook and give him a "like"! Tell him I said hi :)
Wondering who will be featured next? Check out our #WesternArtWednesday index page!