Saddle Up Saloon; Open Mic Poetry Time of the Sign

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

May 18, 2020

Saddle Up Saloon

“What’s happening on stage this week, Kid?”

“Poetry. Open mic.”

“Shut the front door!”

“Yep, but it ain’t quite a slam. Fer one it ain’t competitive, an’ fer two—”

“No, Kid, shut the front door, or the back door. Somethin’s gotten inta the saloon, cain’t quite figger whut it is runnin’ about the place. Do ya see ‘em? Jeez, Kid, looks like little … cowboys… in chaps…”

“Pal, have you been samplin’ the wares? Yer eyes is playin’ tricks on ya, is all. Focus, we gotta git tready fer this poetry open mic. Like I was sayin’, with our set up it’s kinda hard ta see an’ hear the spoken word so— ”

“Spoke an’ words? Like spokes of a wheel?”

“Uh, sure Pal, an’ this here saloon’s the hub. So it’s spoken word at the saloon this week. ‘Cept folks gotta write it fer us. So a slim slam, poems of 99, 59, or 9 words, short an’ sweet. Or savory. Or raw. Folks kin jist leave their slim slams as a comment.”

“Kid, shouldn’t ya a done this in April, when it was Poetry Month an’ folks was doin’ thet NaPoWriMo thang? We’re inta the third week a May now.”

“Hey, now, May be, Pal, but April was kinda rough, fact I ain’t so sure there was an April, sure seemed like one long March. Anyway’s this is jist a fun thing ta do any time an’ it’s also ta hep celebrate the tremendous growth a the off shoot poet tree that’s out back a the saloon. Yep, through the miracle a fiction, an’ plen’y a fertilizer, thet little whip grew in a flash an’ is darn near as big as the original back at the ranch!”

“Well, thet’s real good, Kid, folks’ll find inspiration at thet tree. Heck, even I writ some buckaroo-ku at the ‘riginal poet tree. But do you ‘member our first time poemin’? It was fer the 2017 Rodeo, when the Ranch’s Poet Lariat, Jules, gave thet gem of a contest, Septolet In Motion.”

“Oh, yeah, that was a fun form. Fourteen words in seven lines with a break somewheres. Then it was you Pal, come up with the first buckaroo-ku.”

“Yep an’ soon after’s when the ‘riginal poet tree showed up in front a the bunkhouse. An’ now we got this saloon an’ a second tree out back. I jist hope you don’t go gittin’ stuck an’ fallin’ outta this tree like ya done afore.”

“Pal! I seen ‘em, yer teeny tiny cowboys. Quick little fellas, ain’t they? An’ lissen. Is that piano music?”

“Sounds like, Kid.”

“Hello? Kid? Hello?”

“Come right in, the Saloon door’s always open. What kin we do ya for?”

“I think I’m looking for A. Kidd…”

“Well, sure ‘nough, I’m Kid, an’ this here’s Pal. My gosh you’re a jumpy one. Ya got fleas or somethin’?”

“Uh, no. Not fleas. Something else. Faeries.”

“What’s yer name, stranger?”

“They call me Twitch. Yow! What?”

“I’ll bet they do. So what brings ya here ta the Saddle Up, Twitch?”

“Someone by the name of S.H. Ortiz hired me to make a sign. I lost the address where I was supposed to deliver it but recall that the name A. Kidd was mentioned. I gaggled the name and was directed here.”

“D’ya mean ta say googled?”

“Ugh, my words and letters have been all mixed up because of the chapfaeries. Anyway, Kid, here’s your sign.”

“Not sure it’s meant for me Twitch, but let’s have a look. Oh, that is beautiful! But ‘otter pee’? Ya sure yer sign’s meant ta say ‘otter pee’?”

“Ya oughta if ya gotta, Twitch. Restroom’s down thet way.”

“No! Those darn chap fairies moved my letters around. And now I can’t remember what exactly the sign was supposed to say.”

“Relax, Twitch, we’ll hep ya out, won’t we Kid?”

“Sure thing. Pal, ya reckon what Shorty thought was errorists all this time was really chapfaeries?”

“Could be. Twitch, what kin ya tell us ‘bout these here chapfaeries?”

“You know, dang western faeries who wear chaps and just want to be at the center of everything. I could not keep them off the sign. I didn’t know they were attached to the piano wood I harvested from the woods. Every time I turned around, they were dancing on the sign and two of them stuck.”

IMG_5815“Whoa, stop. Back up there Twitch. What is piano wood?”

“The chapfaeries led me to a spot far out in the woods. And there on top of a hill was an upright piano. So I salvaged it. Used some of the wood from it for your sign.”

“Is thet why we’ve been hearin’ piano music?”

“Yes, Pal, when the faeries are around, the piano wood makes music.”

“Huh. Well let’s git back ta figgerin’ thet sign out. If yer sure it ain’t s’posed ta say otter pee, then what? Rope! Thet makes sense… extra letters… rope teet, naw. Trope. Trope Tee? Naw.”

“Twitch, look it that. One a them fairies is tyin’ yer boot lace fer ya.”

“Shhh… ‘Nuther un is workin’ at the letters on the sign… p-o-e-t-t-r-e-e… Poet Tree! Kid, it’s a sign fer the poet tree!”

“Which poet tree? The one back at the ranch by the bunkhouse? Or the one out back a this here saloon? Or is it fer the poet tree at World Headquarters? Dang, I sure wish that Charli Mills kept better track a things.”

“Charli Mills? World Headquarters? In Hancock, Michigan?”

“Yep, that’s right Twitch.”

“Oof. I got turned around. This sign is supposed to be at Headquarters— it’s for the Roberts Street Writery!”


“Well, why don’tcha rest up here at the saloon afore heading back ta the real world, Twitch, least long ‘nough ta round up them feisty little chapfaeries.”

“Yeah, Twitch, hang out a while. Mebbe that sign will inspire folks ta leave some poetry in the comments fer folks ta injoy.”

“Do you have cherry mead behind that bar?”

“Yep. The Saddle Up has anything and everything imaginable. Though I never imagined we’d have chapfaeries.”

“Ok, folks, it’s a poetry slim. It’s open mic all week long at the Saloon. Slip yer poems inta the comments. Try an’ git ‘em ta be jist 9, 59, or 99 words.”


A Poem,  by A. Kidd

No particular reason

Doesn’t have ta rhyme

That’s nine!

Doesn’t have ta be Ranch related

Or ’bout characters at a saloon

Could be, as poems often are

About the sun or other stars

Or the constant moon

Serious or funny, entirely up to you

Limerick or couplets or some buckaroo-ku

In whatever form, leave some nifty lines

That’s fifty-nine!

Going ta the back forty

Jist ta show it kin be done

Inspired by them chapfaeries

So mischievous and fun.

And what a talented artist, that Toj who made the sign

Perfect for Charli’s Writery

An’ guess what? That’s ninty-nine!


The poet tree sign was made by Tammy Toj Gajewski at Red Rabbit Studio, her base in Rabbit Bay, MI. Toj is a ‘teacher of joy’ and happily retired. She earned her BFA at UW- River Falls and her MPA from Northern Michigan University. You can find her walking her dogs in Rabbit Bay and playing with her Chaphaeries in her studio.


If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up for a wild ride as a saloon guest, contact D. Avery at .

Next week- blog blustering!

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  1. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Opening, D. Avery (59)

    You’re the door
    that opened me
    the room revealed
    by the open door
    the room revealed in me

    You’re the lamp that shines
    the beam of light
    illuminating treasures
    that were locked within this room

    You’re the room within the room
    So am I
    I am so many rooms
    because my door is open.
    Because you said, Step in.

    • Charli Mills

      The two-step of door-opening. Love the back and forth of this poem.

  2. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:

    It’s Open Mike Night all week at the Saddle Up Saloon. Come by to share a poem.

  3. Chelsea Owens

    Cancer, a 9-ish word poem

    Pain inside
    Saw insides-out
    Love outside
    Brought outsides in.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      9-ish counts! Well done to present so many sides to this situation in so few words. (Did I hear a mic drop?)

  4. Norah

    Tammy’s sign — at the Writery, it’ll be just fine. That’s 9.
    The sign really is fine. The chapfaeries are especially cute.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Aren’t they? Between Charli’s plantings and here own signed poet tree, complete with chap faeries, that Roberts Street Writery is sure coming along. Thanks for your rhyme in nine, friend of mine.

      • Norah

        Can’t wait to see it all, if only in photos. A video would be nice. Carrot Ranchers Zooming ‘neath the poet tree.

      • Charli Mills

        I think we need to host a Zoom reading, Kid. Don’t let your writer talk you out of it!

    • Charli Mills

      Fine rhyme! I would never have thought of fairies in chaps and now I can’t stop thinking of them. 🙂

      • Norah

        I know. It’s definitely creative thinking. 🙂

  5. Jules

    Gotter done earlier than later….(thanks for the linky thing and as you mentioned Septolet… I sorta included that form within…)

    Whethered Sighing
    (59 words; Septolet, haiku, haibun hybrid)

    sigh a four
    letter word
    part of sight
    and insight

    for life

    present kindness sought
    a modern day Pandora
    to release good hope

    for life

    to gently open
    every available
    door that
    presents itself… now

    we sigh for insight
    struggling for patience – we seek
    to keep our air fresh

    to dispel our grey shadowed sighs


    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Whoa. Wow. The Poet Lariat is in fine form with this hybrid form she done roped. This is a gem, Jules. Thank you for taking the mic.

      • Jules

        Yep I liked the Poet Tree sign too. 😀
        Been a bit busy in the garden so I posted this at my place too
        Whethered Sighing

  6. susansleggs

    Lusty Month of AUGUST

    We know the words
    Lusty month of May
    I beg to differ
    Tis August that is lusty
    Proven by many birthdays in May
    My bonus son and his two boys
    Charli’s girl and Charli too
    That’s true
    On Thursday this
    Tis our leader’s birthday
    I wish her happiness
    And suggest a big loud party
    When once again we gather

    • susansleggs

      By the way, I love the poet tree sign. It’s a fine addition to the Roberts Street Writery and fancy growing grounds.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      You did some math there! Thank you for the poetic reminder, birthdays never stick with me, yet I sure wish Charli the best of birthdays possible. Yeah, let’s hoot and holler on Thursday!

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! I hadn’t thought about August in that way. Thanks, Sue!

  7. Ann Edall-Robson

    We have long winters. About the time you think it’s spring, summer’s over and fall is ushered out in a snow storm.

    Spring follows Winter
    Seasons in flux
    Was that fall?

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      “We have long winters”… at first I thought you were commenting on Susan’s math.
      Yeah, your lovely nine words (thank you!) remind me of the old joke around here: “What week is summer this year?”

    • Jules

      When I lived in Indiana it seemed like there were only two seasons; summer and winter. Spring and autumn were barely there.

  8. Charli Mills

    Great installment for the newly installed sign. Here’s my 9-word slim:

    Fly me to the canopy
    Where chapfairies rhapsody

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Slam! That’s a fine and dandy slim. You must be smiling, for

      Roberts Street Writery
      in rhapsodical finery
      words dance whimsically

      • Charli Mills

        I’m smiling!

  9. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

    Full disclosure – these aren’t my original 9 words.

    I love EVERYTHING on this page: the ranch hands, the gorgeous Poet Tree sign, D Avery’s clever poem modelling 9, 59, 99 words and all the contributions in the comments. Keep up the bonkosity!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Those 9 words were originally, by design, meant to be lifted. So, thank you for lifting them and sharing them here. (I’m blushing at the all caps compliment; as well as one of the definitions of bonk. Wonder if chap faeries got at your word machine)
      But yep, a super cool sign, and wonderful contributions here in the comments. Thank you for yours.

    • Charli Mills

      Bonkosity! I think that might be a new arrangement of the original words, Anne. 😉

  10. wallietheimp

    “Hey, now, May be, Pal, but April was kinda rough, fact I ain’t so sure there was an April, sure seemed like one long March.”

    This is witty writing. Wallie and I are gobsmacked!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yeah, those two can be witty sometimes. I love that word, ‘gobsmacked’. Thank you for it!

  11. Liz H

    Not sure what kinda form we got here, but it’s 59 words. Here’s mud in yer eye…Cheers, or Skol, as we say in my neck o’ the woods! 😉

    Slim’s Search for Inspiration

    Sunlight flashed, a line ‘cross the floor
    Rusty squeak of batwing doors
    A buckaroo walks into a bar

    Thumping boot heels, bright spurs
    Barkeep looks up unsure
    Feels her Peacemaker snug on her hip

    Buckaroo rolls, hoists her butt on the stool
    Lays her arms on the counter
    Hopes she ain’t been a fool

    “Got a Poet Tree here?”

    © Liz Husebye Hartmann (2020)

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      You’re in fine form!I can see and hear every move in this poem. Yep, the Poet Tree is just out back, but set a spell, have a sarsaparilla.

    • Jules

      …bat wing doors… hadn’t heard em descripted thata way before.
      I like it!

      • Liz H

        (Nananananana nanah…Batwings!)

      • Jules

        I really liked Adam West! Guess I’m showing my age. 😉
        I’ve actually got a 45 of that there theme song!

      • Liz H

        (I had a crush on Robin…I thought Batman was too stodgy)

      • Jules

        I think I just liked all the gadgets …I was a tomboy…

  12. H.R.R. Gorman

    The poet tree pun was beautiful

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thanks! It’s still open mic…. leave a poem, if you like.

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        One day I will! But for now, still so busy!

  13. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Thank you Liz, for sharing the fun. As far as the quote, I believe that was Kid. (It is kind of confusing)


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