Posts Tagged ‘newsrooms’

NEwsroom

Newsrooms, Petersburg (Va.)Progress-Index, 1978.

ON DEADLINE
By David Allen

The one thing I miss the most
about those busy newspaper days
is the energy rush responding
to calls on the police radio;
racing to beat the ambulances
and squad cars to the scene
of accidents and crimes.
Yeah, I was a disaster junky.
“Hey, Allen, we got two hours!”
an editor once shouted
as I left the noisy newsroom
to chase down a missing child report.
“You want a two or three hanky story?”
I yelled back, stuffing a notebook into
my back pocket as I scurried away.
I usually got to view the bodies
before the police tape went up
and interviewed families
before the news horde arrived.
My newsmates dubbed me “Dr. Death”
and my cubicle was roped off
by yellow police tape.
A sign above my desk read:
“Deadlines Amuse Me.”
The police radio always played
in the background – at work,
at play, and beside my bed at night.

Late in my career, in the Far East
as a Bureau Chief for Stars and Stripes,
the police radio was replaced
by emergency broadcasts
warning of typhoons, tsunamis,
earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

I never examined why I was drawn
to the darker side of life
until I retired and pondered
about the emptiness I felt
when sirens wailed in the distance
and I didn’t have to go.
I loved chasing the news
because that’s when I felt alive.
And I told the stories better
than anybody else.

The Reporter 1979 (2)

Cop reporter at the Petersburg (Va.) Progress Index 1978.

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Bone scanner 2

THROUGH A SCANNER DARKLY
By David Allen

My aching bones
brought me to this
nuclear medicine lab
where a smiling nurse
filled me with a radioactive
soup that made my bones glow
for the scanner.

Lying flat on my back,
hands over my head,
the lab light darkened
as the huge metal machine
rolled over my body,
two inches above my nose,
and took pictures of my bones
as I quickly fell asleep
(it’s a talent I have).

Soon, I was in a Midwest newsroom
where I spent some eight years
as the ace crime reporter,
listening to some management geek
explain that the news staff
was to be reduced by four reporters.
A RIF, he called it, as if reduction in force
was more polite than just saying,
“Get the fuck outta here.”

I enviously eyed the computer
that sat on a small rolling table
I shared with the reporter
at the next cubicle.
I was hoping the firings would
free up some space, so I could have
the computer all to myself,
and maybe moved my pile of clips
and news releases and other paperwork
to his desk.

I was beginning to enjoy that thought
when I heard my name called.
“Allen,” the pretentious prick
of an executive editor said. “You’re lucky
we don’t kick your sorry ass outta here!
Maybe next time,” he laughed.
and the sycophants laughed along with him.

But I knew I was safe.
I knew where all the bodies were buried
and no no one else had the sources I had.

I looked around the newsroom,
smiled and wondered which one
of the faces I was gawking at
wouldn’t be there tomorrow.
I was about to start making my guesses
when I heard a faint beep
and a voice over my shoulder said,
“All right, Mr. Allen, we’re done.”
“Well, I’m not,” I thought.
But I had already opened my eyes

Man, that old newsroom was
twenty-four years in the past,
and that scene never happened.
Why’d I dream that up?

You know, you never know
why something pops up in a dream,
no matter what the dream studies say.
A car turns into a train with no
effect on the plot; sex with a beautiful woman
suddenly becomes a fight with a bear;
you lose your car in the parking lot
only to find it parked on the roof, ready to
fly you off to a new adventure.

Dreamscapes just happen.
Just like how my bones
All of a sudden, I seems,
Have just started aching with age.

 

 

My second book of poetry, “(more)’ is now available in Kindle and paperback editions.  Order your copy today!

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