Posts Tagged ‘news’

newspapers

EXILE
by David Allen

It’s tough to live this life
With no deadlines,
No assignments from the desk,
No editors screaming in my ears,
No restaurants to review,
No typhoon, tornado or terrible
Earthquake to document.

No ambulances to chase,
No next of kin to interview,
No one’s story to tell;
Left with my own,
Worried it’s not interesting enough
To keep the reader’s attention.

The tomorrow’s tally up
And the to-do lists become tomes
Of unfinished business,
Unreachable goals.
This is uncharted territory
And I am lost.

Retirement? 
Hell, this is

Exile.

Parachute

PARACHUTING
By David Allen

“It was the thrill of a lifetime
A once in a lifetime experience.”

That was the lede of the story
I wrote about the local sky diving club.
The back story was the advice an editor gave
When I pitched the story to him.
“Sounds great,” he said
“Especially if you jump.”
Sure, I thought. Why not?

All during my interview of the instructor
At the local airport I kept thinking to myself,
“I can always back out.”
So, I learned how to strap the parachute on
And practiced jumping off a four-foot stage
Rolling on my side as I hit the ground.

“I can always stay on the plane,” I thought
As we took off with another student.
“I can just sit here,” I reasoned to myself
When the jumper froze after stepping out,
His left foot on a locked wheel,
The other hanging over open space,
His hands tightly clutching the wing strut.
After a few swats on his backside by the instructor,
He pushed himself away, thinking, perhaps,
That falling to the ground was less embarrassing
Than chickening out at the last minute.

Then it was my turn.
The way I always face a challenge
Is to stop overthinking about the danger;
Just do it, get it over with.
I didn’t hesitate to push away from the plane;
I didn’t panic as I started to tumble over
And almost caught my feet in the parachute lines,
A mistake that could cause the chute not to open fully.
I managed to right myself and enjoyed that fall,
Pleased at the view of the Virginia countryside
Climbing towards me.

I landed on the airport tarmac,
Rolling as I had been taught,
And gathered up the parachute.
I walked toward my photographer,
A huge grin stretched across my face.
“Well, that was fun,” I told him.
“You going to join the club?” he asked.
“Hell ,no,” I answered,
“I’d have to pack my own chute
And I’m not that dexterous.”

 
 

reporter_-_bw_vintage

HAIKU CHALLENGE

Working as a news bureau chief for Stars and Stripes on Guam and Okinawa were the best 19 years of my newspaper career. There usually was plenty to do, but sometimes the news was slow and the staff, scattered across the Far East, shared haikus to while away the time. Here’s one started by The South Korea Bureau Chief one day:

The subject: Base PAOs. (Don’t forget, 5,7,5.) I’ll start:

“E-mail the question
Expect an answer by 5
No comment, thank you”

So, I answered with:

I NEED AN ANSWER NOW
“Dammit,” he replied.
“How do you spell that?” I asked.
“D-A-V-I-D.”

And another reporter came up with:

Ask me no questions,
I’ll tell you no lies, unless
you prefer bullshit.

So, an editor wrote:

Jack Daniels, my friend.
Please prevent me from killing
The guy on the phone.

My next submission was:

the questions are old
I await the brasshole’s call
and his blank reply

Which was promptly answered with:

Warzinski speaks fast:
“Mmmm srnn fennn bumn mmm Japan”
What the fuck was that?

Followed by a reporter:

Thank you for calling.
Leave a message…we’ll call when
Sherman leaves Georgia.

And another by me:

deadline is looming
the telephone remains mute
Sid says, “killing me.”

Followed by an editor’s:

We pulled the curfew.
Not because of your story;
Ummm, we planned it. Yeah.

To which another editor responded:

The razor is dull
and my wrists are deeply scarred
when the phone call ends

And I answered:

“why not write good news?”
the Marine officer asked.
when you are we will.

Another editor then wrote:

Interview request?
Just e-mail us your questions.
We like that better.

To which the founder of the challenge answered:
Since this one is almost a perfect quote – and Joe will back it up (remember the conversation with Nowell?) – I think I win!

Why would I give you
information when I can’t
control what you write?

Followed by this protest:

In twenty-four years,
Flack is most unfair and mean.
Take ball and go home.

-30-

images (17)

WHERE ARE THE POEMS
by David Allen

Where are the poems?
I looked in all the familiar
Places and failed to find
A line that I could use.
I wanted to ask my muse,
For a shot of inspiration,
But she slept the sleep
Of the jet lagged
And I feared waking her
Would result in words too tart.
I looked in the bathroom
And behind the bar
But found no Bukowski hidden there.
The fridge offered no Ferlinghetti.
So I went out back, but Jack
Must’ve been somewhere on the road
No words, no poems.
No Ginsberg in my ginseng tea
No Billy Collins cropped
Up in my cup
And Cummings apparently
Must’ve come and went
Before my feet hit the
Bedroom floor
An unpoetic day, I thought
That’s what this is
And so, I left for work
Where the news is my muse.
The words always come easy there,
Like the snippets I write when a trial drags
And I readily reach
Into the recess of my
Addled mind and find
The thoughts to kick start
The poetic engine of my being.

writers-block

 

Cop Reporter 1977

DAMMIT DAVID
By David Allen

“Got a comment?”
I asked the Public Affairs Officer.
“When’s your deadline?” he asked.
“Three hours,” I said.
“Dammit,” he replied.
“How do you spell that?” I asked.
“D-A-V-I-D.”