“On Deadline”

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!

“On Deadline”

Nine thousand nine hundred ninety three readers,

Tent towns that the newspaper covers,

Six beat reporters,

Five editors,

And five hours to put the latest issue

To rest.

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

Newsroom and

Out scoop the newspaper’s competition.

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