Poem - Bradley - Texas Country Reporter

  The Texas Country Reporter Interviews the Famous Poet

“Come in, come in,” you said when the van
pulled to the curb. “Iced tea?”
Just a cameraman and lone reporter
a long way from Dallas.

Inside it’s soft leather, a/c, pictures –
family, friends, you in uniform
with your foot upon the hub of a jet
gazing off toward the wild blue.

“Is this the street,” one asks,
“where you were caught in the tar,
where your brother rescued you?
How far to the ranch? Your herd?”
he wonders, putting down his sweating glass.

So it’s stories and not poems they have come for:
to see where the squirrel squeezed through the soffit
and rampaged the attic all winter.
They want to see for themselves where heat lightning
struck the old bull, all the made up things:
the windmill with damaged blades, sucker rods
complaining loudly in the wind, a pond where wild ducks
might float by, barbed wire stretching to the horizon,
the trough where you baptized the dog.

There are no horses or cows,
no mules – no ranch to confess to.
The camera stays unpacked, disappointed.
It wants . . . not lies exactly but not truth either.
Imagine them you want to say,
but these are men who cannot imagine
something they’ve already seen.
And because the sky is overcast and irregular,
they can’t even trace the clouds with a finger.
They are pointless, the sky seems to say –
so you don’t have to – as you envisage
the door of an unreal barn closing. 

by Jerry Bradley

As heard on Texas Poets Podcast, December, 2016