Sorting the News in America

He jokes.
He asks, “Have we made any lately?”
He means “news.”

She reminds him that news is made by people
in position to make news,
whether they want to or not.
And a few minutes later, she adds

“and if they don’t want, someone else might,
in spite of themselves or their desire for privacy.
Like our desire for privacy, your desire and mine.

Like people from those cold and barren places—
OK, even places that are warm and crowded—
where in their yearly winter starvation

they sent word out to lure each other
as the prime entrees in the wet red ink
on the carnal menu.

Well, other animals, of course.
Not people, I mean. No, not people.

We may want to make news or not, you and I,
but we’re the sort who like to keep it to ourselves.”

They are modest by nature and desire.

They are growing old.
So maybe it doesn’t matter what private news
they may make before they forget it anyway.

Tweetless, real news stays news somewhere maybe,
but as driven motes in a gale,
and as mutely shared as dreamt and undreamt myth,
ours to share or not to share to no ear in hearing.

After all, it may be a poem
and it may be written as a poem, unless
it is whispered, as some things can only be whispered.

The poem,
uttered as stammers of breath or coded chthonic echoes,
lies somewhere in what we can’t hear
from the people outside
when we choose to escape from who can’t hear or won’t.

And then they speak loud, those people,
whether they utter real words or not.

“And you look at what my fingers say
when they touch, caress your lips.”

“The police?”
is what the silent fingers ask
in soul-remembered fragments
of ancient, righteous primate fear,
through which we become the other animals

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.