Bill Pruitt celebrates Talker’s sixth birthday with “Human News”

Bill Pruitt celebrates Talker’s sixth birthday with “Human News”

[Lux Lounge at 666 South Avenue, Photo: David Kramer, 9/20/21, see Impromptu poetry slam at Lux Lounge]

Today, Bill Pruitt offers his sixth magazine birthday poem. To mark the sixth anniversary, I visited Lux Lounge at 666 South Avenue. 

Lux Lounge at 666 South Avenue [Photo: David Kramer 9/20/21, see Impromptu poetry slam at Lux Lounge

Lux is an especially appropriate location because there 6 years ago, Talker held an impromptu poetry slam. Bill missed the slam, but has been slamming us with poems on baseball, elections, life and — like clockwork — Talker of the Town.

Human News

Happy birthday, Talker. By the way who are you?
There’s a secret here. Maybe more than one.
You may think it a given Talker is David Kramer.
Or is Talker the Person who David Kramer gets to talk?
Which would be just about anybody he finds in his path.
Because David Kramer is interested in everything.
Which brings us to the second secret. Peruse the masthead.

Sports Education Cultural Life Social Issues Politics History
Human Interest Human Interest Human Interest Human Interest ¹
What if all these are the same? What if all these bleed into each other?
Because it sure feels like that’s what Talker makes them do
Because Michael J. Nighan’s piece on Hawthorne’s travels
During the cholera pandemic of 1832 is about life and death,
In addition to history and literature, and pandemic dirty tricks, or what about

Hawthorne portrait by Henry Inman (1835); Peabody Essex Museum from Hawthorne and the Pandemic Visit the Instantaneous City

Pittsburgh’s Team of All Brothers, a story which seems to have
No local relevance except for David Kramer’s baseball card collection
And the ineluctable circumstance that Blacks live among us in Rochester and
There is still— fifty years after an all-Black lineup took the field
For the Pirates— a racial distinction whites make and force the Blacks
To make as well— which affects Black people’s quality of life— sometimes
Even whether or not they’re allowed to keep their lives—so it matters here.

1971 Pittsburgh Pirates from David Kramer’s collection. See 50 years ago when the Pittsburgh Pirates fielded a team of “All brothers out there”

There’s wise advice from Miss T ² about complex relationships and how
To finesse them, what does that guy who keeps changing his act really mean?
And what are those people doing clearing brush on the Highland Crossing trail,
This first day of spring? The leader will tell you, and it’s not just for the brush.
There’s always more than what you see, there’s always an angle,
Never more prescient than Nighan’s warning from May of last year
(Remember May of last year, when the former guy was President?)

Dr. Mathilde Weems from Miss and Ms. T go Tête-à-têt

That the former guy would not concede, no matter what the results were,

Because we were listening to one who made believe he always got what he wanted,
And we let him jabber and give him a platform so he can keep the body politic
Split, keep enough of the population in doubt and unvaccinated and unasked,
Determined to make sure the pandemic that undid the Republicans will bring
The rest of the country to its knees. and Nighan tells it straight, unlike others
Who thought that after the election we wouldn’t have donald to blame anymore,

But he’s still with us. I’m glad Talker is too, who is among us,
who is the writer, the traveler, the good friend of Melville,
Who is the woman clearing brush to heal herself, who are
The people who keep paying with their lives for centuries,
But insist on getting payback when they take the field.
Talker warns, explains, counsels, comforts, Talker reveals.
Talker is among us. Who is Talker. Maybe it’s you.

Bill Pruitt, Rochester, NY 9/27/21


¹ Bill rightly delineates the major Talker categories. Another category, Talker of the Town, does not appear on the masthead, but is found at the bottom of the home page. This meta category is for stories about Talker and Talkers and the one in which I placed “Human News.” But, of course, as Bill’s poetics prove, I am not Talker. It may be Bill; it may be you.

² As seen in Miss and Ms. T go Tête-à-têt, Miss T has changed her appellation to Ms. T.

Previous birthday poems by Bill

Bill Pruitt offers “TALKER’S BIRTHDAY:” Five years and counting

Our 4th birthday and Bill Pruitt’s “Happy Birthday Talker!”

Bill Pruitt’s Third Birthday gift: “What You Know If You Read Talker”

Happy 2nd Birthday Talker and “Talker Birthday Jeremiad” from Bill Pruitt

Happy First Birthday! Distinguished poet Bill Pruitt offers “Ode to the Talker”

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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