Thursday, April 29, 2010

NaPoWriMo #24: news

RWP has reliably fun prompts and today was no exception: write a poem inspired by headlines or some other news-related source. So I went to the website for the Daily Record, our local paper. As small-town papers go, it's pretty typical: lots of typos, writing on par with my high school paper (no offense to the Mess staff), and the things that constitute local news are just downright... well, you be the judge. Here's a sampling of today's headlines:
  • Kittitas County's fly fishers hooked for life
  • Ellensburg food drive set for this weekend
  • Mushroom hunting has roots in Kittitas Valley
  • Ellensburg church teens fast to help the world's hungry
So, for a little more inspiration I turned to my personal favorite section of the paper, the police blotter. It didn't disappoint me. Just a few lines down and I struck gold: "An unruly man with tattoos, a dirty T-shirt and a cane was reported on Ruby Street."

The Ballad of Ruby Street Walt

A torn tank tee that once was red
hangs loose on his lean frame
he stumbles down the sidewalk
having no apparent aim
inky thorns wind up both arms
roses bloom across his back
his bearded face is ageless
though his ancient eyes are black
he shouts and curses at the air
—maybe drunk or high on meth—
no one wants to get close enough
to smell what’s on his breath.
He wanders past the library
as story time lets out
but doesn’t seem to see the
moms and kids running about.
He heads north, crosses, then turns
left at Ruby Street and Third
passes by the doughnut shop
flips an old lady the bird
shakes his cane at passing cars
turns right, heading north on Pine
passes two gift stores, one spa
stops at the Ace Hardware sign
suddenly the door slides open
a man walks out and smiles
“Why, hello, Walt! So, how are
you? It sure has been a while.”
He takes Walt’s arm, holds the cane
leads him to his truck
“C’mon—I’ll get you home in
time for lunch, with any luck.”

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