Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Stacks of newspapers thrown from the truck. The man with a change-belt around his waist is waiting with a blade. He cuts the rope. Dozens of people on their way to work surround him for the morning edition. They will disappear down into the subway with their three-cent Daily News, easy-to-fold, short paragraphs, page three scandals. Some splurge for the ten-cent Times with few photos and hard-to-fold, holding on to the strap below the overhead fan.

A thousand years earlier, a wandering minstrel, in shred and patches, might bring the news in songs and snatches. Maybe he added a bit of color, stretched a tall tale taller or left out a portion to serve his patron, sort of like Fox News.

Now it comes at us 24/7, relentless in all directions, NEWS, North, East, West, South unless you go into hiding. But news junkies, like me, have to keep up, have to know what’s coming. I want to be among the first to stop the tsunami or run like hell and shout the word. Maybe it goes back to the time I missed a few days in school and wasn’t there when the key to everything was revealed or at least some clue given for the great sleuthing of life.

Facts can be a hindrance to truth. When the police came to tell me of my brother’s death they recited the time, the name of the mountain road and where the car was towed. All that told me less than nothing.

There may be more news in Miles Davis or Mahler or just listening to the garbage truck backing up. If poets are the true legislators of the world, I should stick with the Norton Anthology of English Poetry.

There are people, said to be of my species, who really don’t know or care about the latest shooting, kerfuffle in Congress or even who gets elected. A small part of me envies them. Oh, to be blissfully ignorant of who denied saying what to whom, which country growled and which bowed, what Dow did to Jones. Maybe it is folly to be wise with bulletins, bites, gotchas and spin. It's clear that the buzz among the chattering class has little, if any, effect on moving the poll numbers.

As it is, I’m feeling a need to retreat. I’m looking for a mid-distance perch. Up too close, politics can be hazardous to one’s health. The air is noxious particularly in an election year. My bile rises as the vitriol flows. I could rage against the dying of the light or put on some chamber music and gaze out the patio with its keyboard of verdant leaves, the pluck of hummingbirds darting as variations of light and shadow orchestrate the canvas. A slight wind stirs the fern with a message from that famous butterfly in Brazil. News has a way of finding us in the end.

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