Breaking News

[v 1.0]

this mourning
77 North is dark
until

a pageant of
emergency lights
and

19 Action vultures reporting
the oldest
News there is.

[v 2.0]

this morning
77 North is dark
until

a pageant of
emergency lights
and

vultures reporting
the oldest
     [19 Action]
News
there is.

[v 3.0]

this morning
77 North is dark
until

a pageant of
emergency lights
and

vultures reporting
the oldest
News      [19 Action!]
there is.

[v 4.0]

this morning
77 North is dark
until

a pageant of
emergency lights
and

a pretty woman
         [camera-right]
picking her teeth.

[v 5.0]

this morning
77 North is dark
until

a pageant of
emergency lights
and

vultures reporting
the oldest news
there is.

[v 6.0]

this morning
77 North is dark
until

a feast of
emergency lights
and

vultures reporting
the oldest news
there is.

[v 7.0]

this morning
77 North is dark
until

a feast of
emergency lights
and

a pretty woman
         [camera-right]
picking her teeth.


Comments and conversations on this post

  1. Thank you.

    I think I like v 2.0 best.

  2. Perfect. All three.

  3. Ginsberg was fond of quoting Chogyen Trungpa Rimpoche, “First Thought, Best Thought.”

  4. I think the imagery in the 2nd and 3rd stanzas are effective. I like how it portrays the emergency lights and the vultures as modern versions of circling buzzards. Maybe I would change “reporting” to “report” because essentially both of these things broadcast a message.

    I mostly take issue with the 1st stanza–it seems like the highway would be “dark” after the voluntures show up, not “until.” Or perhaps my reading of darkness and light in the good vs. evil sense is too pedestrian?

    Is the point of this poem to comment on the inanity of newsworthiness?

    I think the reader should know for certain what is the oldest news there is–I would use the 1st stanza to establish that.

    P.S. Would you agree that death is the oldest news there is?

  5. Hey Maggie, thanks for commenting and workshopping my poem. New folks are always welcome. I do agree that death is the oldest news there is, and I’m glad to see you picked up on it.

    I think version 7 of this poem is the one I’m going to stick with. The vulture metaphor was a bit too blunt, I think, and I think the same feeling comes across with the teeth picking and by changing “pageant” to “feast.”

    I’m not really commenting on the inanity of newsworthiness so much as trying to understand my feelings about how television news uses their “first on the scene” spectacle mentality to profit from the misfortune of others.

  6. i like “pageant” better than “feast.” pageant is sharper, sarcastic, and also grooves with the idea of flashing lights. “feast” is obvious in the same way vultures are obvious.

    i like v1 and v7. i agree that the “picking her teeth” line is richer…

    what if you connect the stanzas more, something like “this morning/77 north is dark/until/a pageant of/emergency lights/illuminate/a pretty woman/camera-right/picking her teeth.

  7. I can’t decide between feast or pageant myself, so any input I get in regard to those two words is helpful. Other than that, I think I’m going to leave everything else as it is.