Breaking: A Poem

This guest post is by Jill Crainshaw.

breaking
Photo copyright © 2016, Jill Crainshaw.

This poem emerged as I thought about news stories and headlines I encountered last week (April 3-9, 2016). Many other headlines also appeared during the week, but those referenced in the poem capture my ambivalence and worry about how we imagine and talk about life today. The poem also celebrates the ways people “walk on” in spite and in the face of life-denying headlines. Note: Doris Day’s dog is named “Squirrely.”

 

Breaking

They gave up the ghost this week.
No more walking dead

for now

except the comatose American economy or is it “finally waking up”?
My neighbor with the zombie car battery
who can’t get her to her minimum wage, 25 hours a week job
four miles away
doesn’t think so.

And Apple? showing its age “maturing”

while Doris Day
“turns 92, shows adorable pic with her puppy”
Squirrely

Meanwhile
Alabama governor’s future “looks bleaker”
Cruz and Sanders celebrate in Wisconsin
Mississippi protects “sincerely held religious beliefs”
PayPal decides not to login to North Carolina
Tennessee designates the “Holy Bible
as the official state book.”

Newsfeeds are push-back-from-the table full
while “Conflict in Eastern Ukraine leaves 1.5 million people hungry.”
Perhaps Tennessee will feed them now?
“If you offer your food to the hungry …”

Breaking news
Breaking into homes
Breaking onto shores
Breaking out
Just breaking
hearts
spirits
dreams
lives

But mere clicks away from Flipboard and the front page
a mama puts a Hello Kitty band aid on a skinned knee
a large hand holds a small hand as first steps are taken
a young man breaks bread with a grieving grandma
Bailey learns to ride a bike
and Chris says no to the bathroom bully.

Season finale: walking dead
It’s time, don’t you think?
to walk
away from the headlines
for a little while anyway
one foot in front of the other
alive. Finally.

 


Jill CrainshawAbout Jill Crainshaw
Jill Crainshaw is a PCUSA minister and Blackburn Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. She is the author of several books on worship and ministry.

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