Three thought-provoking poems by Jim Stone on Montana, Love, Cowboys, Tequila, and the Tango


Jim Stone is a poet and professor. He has been a cowboy, marine, carpenter and rodeo bronc-rider. Graduating summa cum laude in Social Justice from the University of Washington, he accepted a professorship in sociology at Jamestown University in Jamestown, North Dakota.

He’s overcome the misery of an emotionally barren and abusive childhood to become a warm and generous husband, father, and teacher who has been much admired and beloved by all who were touched by his compelling honesty, as well as his wisdom, wit and kindness.

He is a true Westerner from the backbone of the Rocky Mountains to the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Born in Ogden, Utah, he’s lived, ranch-handed, worked, studied and/or taught in Colorado, Montana, California, Washington and North Dakota. He worked as a carpenter during his tenure in Venice Beach designing and building stunning backyards with gazebos, raised-bed gardens and fanciful fences… a talent he later transplanted to the home he shared with his wife Lonnie in Jamestown. During that time, he also used his technical skills to help bring art performances to life around Los Angeles, including Barnsdall Theater in the famed Art Park in Hollywood.

At Jamestown University, he created and headed the Department of Criminal Justice eventually serving as Dean of the University. But teaching was his passion and he was several times voted “Professor of the Year.”  As one of his students said of him, “The most admirable part of his teaching style is his willingness to share the experience of his life with all his raw veracity; he does not hold back his shortcomings or his triumphs.  And in accepting his own faults, he allows students to do the same. So, while he is a professor of the rarest kind, he is also a human being of the rarest kind.”

Currently, he’s retired and living on Goldfinch Lane in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

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Old Donald McD. tromps through gumbo mud
until his shoes weigh twenty pounds apiece
to bring the woolies in from pastureland.
Quick words—“Get-away-by-far-off-Jock”—send

Scotsman’s dog around the way of Pecker’s
Knob, beyond two stubborn waywards at least
a dozen yards. He watches Jock hunker
on the run, one eye for sheep, another

for the signal wave, a wave the old
one knows will bring them straight to the weathered fleece
nailed to the pasture gate. “I could’ve sold
him once,” says he, “but she’s a long cold

without Mother.” Not so often lately
does he mutter, “What’s for breakfast, Katie”?

–Jim Stone ©


Along the Colorado dead straight south,
an aging desperado, cigarillo in his mouth,
flamenco senorita, fancy skirts and castanets,
disturbs the dirty floor while he regrets
the promises he made and later broke,
the disrespectful way he often spoke
to crippled cowboys broken by the trail,
the daily deprivations, nights in jail.

His back again the wall, the open door:
“C’mon old man, let’s even up the score!”
He sighs to rise reluctantly to meet
a face without a name out in the street.
No bullets in his gun, his face toward the sun,
tequila and the tango untangle his tongue:
“Adios muchachas, no mas cucarachas!
Goodbye girls, my dancing is done.”

–Jim Stone ©

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