James Babbs

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John Wayne’s Real Name

John Wayne’s real name
was Marion MorrisonMerle, Willie and Waylon by Gene McCormick
he was born in 1907
in Winterset Iowa
but later
he moved to California
and ended up appearing
in nearly 250 movies
two of my favorites
are The Shootist
and The Cowboys
he dies in both movies
I mean his character does
in The Shootist he plays J.B. Books
an aging gunfighter dying of cancer
and in The Cowboys he’s Wil Anderson
the hard-nosed rancher
trying to get his cattle to market
before the winter sets in
I also really like
The Sons Of Katie Elder
with Dean Martin
and Earl Holliman
and a young Dennis Hopper
while The Searchers
is considered by many to be
one of the greatest movies ever made
I still haven’t seen it
John Wayne died in 1979
he was an American icon
and probably still is to this very day
I guess it just depends on who you’re asking

I Used to Write Poems About Horses

I guess it was a phase
or something I went through
from seeing so many of them
every day on my route
I don’t know
there was just something about them
that always fascinated me
so many things really
the way they stood in the corral
when I drove by
or out in the pasture
grazing on the grass
sometimes they lifted their heads
and looked at me
and I swear it was
as if they knew something
some secret
I could never understand
and sometimes I saw them
with riders on their backs
their heads held high
moving through the ditches
along the edge of the road
and I was surprised
the first time I got close to them
how large they were
the quiet strength
they held inside
and I never knew
until that moment
they had such beautiful eyes


James Babbs continues to live and write from the same small Illinois town where he grew up.  He has published hundreds of poems over the past thirty years and, recently, a few short stories.  James is the author of Disturbing The Light (2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things (2013).