This is a poem I started writing a few months ago, but set aside because something wasn’t working in the poem. I finished working on the poem today, called “On Deadline.” Feel free to comment on it!
Nine thousand nine hundred ninety three readers,
Tent towns that the newspaper covers,
Six beat reporters,
And five hours to put the latest issue
Fresh from last night’s BO-RING council and
School board meetings,
The reporters set to work
Clacking on their keyboards,
Rustling through their notebooks,
Listening to their recordings of meetings,
Rewinding and fast forwarding for
The hot quotes –
“The mayor said what now?”
The head editor snaps into reporters’ ears,
“Pictures? Pictures? Got any pictures –”
So that he can splash images
Seas of black text
On the pages.
Red and green squiggly lines
Run underneath words on computer screens.
Muddles of words and puddles of sweat
Are on the computers;
The deadline rush
Befuddles and exhilarates
Reporters and editors alike.
And just as the editors sign off the front (and final) page,
Sirens cut through the early afternoon air.
These sirens belong to an ambulance answering the call
About a man who has collapsed on the sidewalk
Across the street from the newsroom.
This new cry for a front page story
Beckons a journalist to head out the
Out scoop the newspaper’s competition.