In Happy First Birthday! Distinguished poet Bill Pruitt offers “Ode to the Talker” Bill Pruitt kindly offered “Ode to the Talker.” Another year has passed and Bill — whose poetry, prose and storytelling have appeared several times in the magazine — offers:
Talker Birthday Jeremiad
Note: the writer always uses “Biff” in place of Trump, ever since he learned that the screenwriter for “Back to the Future” used him as a model for the character Biff— in 1985.
Talker’s second birthday
couldn’t come at a time
You want journalism?
You want to be part of it?
Talker goes places
takes the reader along
Talker wants feedback
Talker has content
Talker has the goods and what better time than now
to make something of them? Talker weaves things together
George Cassidy Payne with City Newspaper,
umpiring ten year-olds playing softball with old box scores.
Learn of the first time a black man played a game in the NBA
Earl Lloyd for Washington Capitols, in Rochester! at Edgerton Park!
Against the Royals! (while today, Steph Curry gets uninvited
to the White House which Lebron James points out he had already
declined, so could not be “uninvited,” like getting fired after you quit)
You want history, read about when Taft came to Rochester,
find out the point on the river Frederick Douglass had to reach
to get a boat to Canada (and thence, to England), having to flee
the antebellum Virginia governor’s charge of treason, find
Cab Calloway born in Swillburg, you want Biff’s lies called out
and specified, you want the local mural painters, you want what’s
happening under the bridges, what’s happening in City Hall, on
the streets of our town? Why more than ever now?
Have you noticed we’re in a state of crisis?
Have you noticed, not simply that we have a loathsome incompetent
for president whose attempt to withdraw from climate accords
endangers our children and their children and so on?
Not simply that, but he’s got a cadre of suits without character
Sessions, Tillerson, Mnuchin, Zinke; Carson, Perry, DeVos, Pruitt,
imagine & understand that their single distinguishing
characteristic is loyalty to the Chief, they have no other virtue
except to back him up, all the way off the cliff, giving the lie
to the integrity of the Republican party, giving the lie
to its reputed concern for freedom, giving the lie to its gloss
as fiscally conservative, for what in God’s name is free
about getting fired if you speak up, about quashing the use
of the phrase climate change if you work for a government agency,
where you can’t even speak to the press before clearing it with
a government spook, what in God’s name is conservative about
acting against the best interests of the generations to come,
maybe even of this one, victims of Harvey and Irma?
But you’ve got Talker to keep you informed of all this,
and why don’t you subscribe or tell others to, right now!
Think the D&C will keep you up to date? Think there’s
something there of human presence, human meaning?
(I speak of human not as opposed to animals– for that is
what we are– but as distinct from profits- for that
is what we’re being turned into,
Which is what God knows Talker is not about, Talker of human beings,
Talker of artists, teachers, writers, leaders, children, women, office- seekers,
Talker of the young athlete and the old community maven,
Human beings in other words, like the ones Gannett used to have
Remember Dick Daugherty, remember Marshall Fine, remember Jack Garner,
remember Scott Pitoniak,
remember Bob Mathews, and oh yeah,
Let’s not forget the heart and soul of the paper, who was not only
an astute performance critic, but one who got into the heart of the story,
who asked the questions no one else asked, who always saw the fresh angle,
Just given his walking papers last week, for no good reason except that institution called our hometown newspaper is not remotely interested in our hometown, except as it relates to the profit margin. Nothing against money but wasn’t it at one time supposed to be a by-product
of something else? And who knew quality better than Spevak? But just as Biff tells his flunkies to toe the line or they’re gone, the D&C told Spevak in weeks prior that he could not even attend rallies anonymously, could not make political comments on Facebook, so it’s not just about money, the D&C is suppressing its employees just like Biff, why not read more of the Talker, less of the Duck & Cover, there’s more substance, it’s free, all it takes is love of your city, of your people, of your life, all it takes is a willingness to connect the events of our planet with
the events of our home (could they be one thing?),all it takes
is a recognition that the big world out there
is the same one that comes right up to you, let the
Talker introduce you if you haven’t met.
Reader, World. World, reader.
Talker, Happy second birthday.