The Telling

Before I get to poetry, I want to pose another question particularly for two groups: Actors and real people.

The other day, I saw an add on TV for Chevrolet and the awards they’ve won. As the add opened, The following appeared on screen laid over a group entering the set:

Real people not actors.

I know a few actors. Several, in fact, who are not only good at acting but are very good friends. It never occurred to me to ask them if they were real people. I just took it for granted. Now I wonder what they would have said to me.

Have any of you out there who have actors for friends or who just know some actors well enough to talk to them ever asked if they were real people? (We’ll assume they are real something — but it’s the people thing we need to know.) What did they say?

Now for the poem. “The Telling” was originally published in Aberration Labyrinth February 1, 2014.

The Telling

Stooped at the kitchen table, he seems too small.
His face hangs heavy on his neck, and he holds
his hands as if in prayer, so when he asks,
I sit. One more story he needs to tell, although
he knows damn well I’ve heard them all before.

When your brother was ten, one night the police
came to the door and asked if I’d killed a man
or nearly killed a man or perhaps my son
had nearly killed a man. Someone, they said,
had seen our car, saw me and the boy drive off.

Each time I’ve heard him tell it, he’s laughed at that.
But not this time. He looks at me and says,
Ten? They thought he might have killed someone?
We’d stopped for milk, just stopped for milk, and saw
the man with a gun running from the store. He looked

right at us. I had the boy so I knew what I had
to do. We came home and called the police from here.
Before I hung up, the cops were at our door
asking to see your brother. I told them what
we’d seen, and then like that they turned and left.

They didn’t tell us anything, just turned
and left. Sometimes I think life laughs at us.
It doesn’t matter how many times we repeat
what we’ve seen or where we’ve gone or what
we’ve done, it’s all just one big mystery.

In twenty years, he’s never gone this far.
They didn’t say who died. I didn’t ask.
It wasn’t on the news, and I still don’t know.
A customer? A clerk? He shrugs. Why does
it matter now? It didn’t matter then.

© copyright 2014, 2017 Joseph Saling and The New Word Mechanic Blog.
All rights reserved.

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