john bennett | the thing about kell


Kell Robertson
had no
cell phone
no credit card
no computer
no bank account.
Just a
typewriter a
saddle a
pistol &
a guitar.

Ten million
more like
him &
Moloch would
be dropped
to its

0 Replies to “john bennett | the thing about kell”

  1. Absolutely spot on, John!
    Kell was something else.
    (the part about the saddle should be taken
    metaphorically, simply because I’m not
    sure Kell ever rode a horse) I wish I would
    have taken photographs of the inside of
    his tiny cabin……….
    Tell us more, John, you were there at the beginning
    of Kell’s literary life…….
    (the pistol he threw into Springer Lake about ten
    years ago, if I have the story right) ……
    Kendall would know the rest of that……

  2. Here’s some links for Kell

    Obituary in the Santa Fe New Mexican:–1930-2011-Cowboy-poet-celebrated–guns–guitars

    A photo inside Kell’s house the day of his funeral:

    A 2004 profile in No Depression magazine:

    The first time I had Kell on my radio show, (The Santa Fe Opry, KSFR), he was setting up in the studio with his guitar and a bottle of tequila. The young man who was engineering for me started freaking out — “Alcohol isn’t allowed on the Santa Fe Community College campus!”

    Now I didn’t have the guts to come between Kell Robertson and a bottle of tequila, but his longtime pal Argos MacCallum did . He snatched the bottle and hid it somewhere and about five seconds before I was going to start his live segment, Kell bolted from the studio. I was dumfounded. Stammered for a few seconds then put on a song from his CD. Somewhere in the halls of Santa Fe Community College after 10 p.m. was a drunken, pissed off and lost Kell Robertson.

    It took a few minutes — about three songs on the CD if I remember correctly — but Argos found him. He cooled down and played on the air.

    I’m doing a tribute show for Kell on The Santa Fe Opry tonight.

  3. Yeh, Steve!
    That’s the Kell we all know and love.
    It was my experience that he was a very difficult
    person and I was never entirely comfortable around
    him. Oil and water. I hung around him from 1991
    till 93 or 94 when he tried to blow my head off with
    that 8-shot .22 revolver he had (long story)(we were
    both drunk late at night in Raton NM). ANd then
    I saw him off & on for a few years after that but
    mostly kept my distance. He was a supremely
    magnificent guest on my radio show several times
    but on his last visit to KUNM he was propositioning
    secretaries and that was the end of that. Playing
    grab ass. It’s actually a funny story I’ll tell some other time. Steve, I just reread your great story
    “Talking to the poet about bologna.” Perfect.
    I says to myself, hmmmm, talking to Kell about
    boloney, now there’s a conundrum. Kell and
    legerdemain were never far apart.
    OH, I have six dozen stories about that cat, and
    gawd love him, he was an example of why we adore
    New Mexico.

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