Rhymes & Rhythms

Lona’s Prayer, The World in the Eyes of a Country Child and other poems

Lona and BobLona didn’t always go to the arena to watch her sons, Jim and Bob, ride in the rodeo. She was too afraid to see them get hurt. Instead, she listened to the announcer from her kitchen window.

The poems Archer City, To an Unknown Feller who Asked me a Question, The World in the Eyes of a Country Child and Cowboys Near and Far were written by her son, Bob, before he died in 2001. They were published in 1996 in his book of poems he called Cattle Trails and Cowboy Tales. He dedicated the book to his mother “for all the Thursday nights that you sewed past midnight so my brother and I would have new western shirts to wear to the rodeo on Friday night.”

Walkin’ the Streets by Keith Harleson

Keith HarlesonKeith Harleson is a fixture on the streets of Archer City and in the hearts of the writers who flock to his tiny West Texas town each year. A connoisseur of songwriters, Keith is a songwriter himself.  If he likes you, he might even hand you one of his homespun CD recordings.  Like Larry McMurtry’s disabled character Billy in The Last Picture Show, Keith suffered traumatic injuries when, as a small child, he was in a terrible car accident. He spent nearly a month in a coma. His doctors didn’t think he’d walk again. But he did, though ever since he’s had to drag his crippled left leg behind him wherever he goes. Despite his physical disability, Keith possesses an inner strength and optimism about the future of his town that’s contagious. Over the years, Keith has become a loyal sidekick of the writers, sitting in on workshops, reading and critiquing their stories and sharing his own. His lyrics are as complex as the songwriter himself, dripping with pain and despair, yet clinging to the hope of one day realizing his quest: “getting someplace.”

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