“Deadline” by Marvin Bell

Marvin Bell


“Bodies left to rot in the bush char in the sun.”
I have to pause the taped replay of the news
to catch my breath. It’s taxing to keep abreast
of brush fires, abuse, disease and war,
and the late-night talk show funnymen mocking
villainy and genius equally to top the ratings.
How deep can our feelings go when the airwaves
rain bodies and the camera pans in focus
the urban homeless in a shower of fast film?
The newscasts are dust in vapors, and a map
where stickpins mark the travels of anchormen.
Art won’t medicate the causes, the witty ennui,
or the downward spiral of dunces who cover
the brown air, the bombers aloft, and sometimes
hit a target before moving on. An army of forklifts
stands primed to carry out the morning headlines.
Today’s evening news expires at midnight.

from Rattle #25, Spring 2006

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