“The Why of Bull Riding” by Guinotte Wise

Guinotte Wise


They asked a cowboy why he rode, 
said he was too nervous to steal and
too lazy to work. There is no answer,
maybe a test of one’s inner gumption
though there are better ways to figure
that. It’s sure as hell not money, as in
why are you a poet? The same man
said, when asked, how much he made
that year. Twenty-two thousand was
the reply. How much were your 
expenses? Twenty-three thousand.
Not many answers in the game,
sometimes just a look away, a 
clearing of the throat, a grimace of
discomfort, a sidle toward the rodeo
office to sign up, draw his bull. He
hopes it is a good one, and hopes
he makes it to the buzzer in one
piece, decent score, hopes the old
Dodge starts, gets him to the next 
one, the big one at Cheyenne, see
what luck will bring. His ribs are
taped but beer and pain pills mess
up his edge, adrenaline is what he
needs, that’s his eight second cure.

from Rattle #60, Summer 2018
Tribute to Athlete Poets


Guinotte Wise: “Rodeoing made me feel alive, alive-oh, as the Irish ballad goes. Then writing fiction and poetry became my arena. Same feeling. The more you put into it, the better you get, like anything else. Rejections are just flies on the windshield on the way to an acceptance, a ride to the buzzer.” (web)

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