National Poetry Month April 27, 2020
On the Day Cokie Roberts Died
I had to remember she wasn’t Nina Totenberg
And that Dan Rather wasn’t dead, only banished
But Tucker Carlson was still alive and well
Alive anyway if not well
I had to remember the news
isn’t just something you read
off a teleprompter
Sometimes it happens to you
while you’re sitting in your chair smiling
for the camera
or looking earnest thinking
you have a good story
about the current president
and then suddenly you become the news
because your truth was true but not
and then you’re gone
Or you just die when your cancer comes back
the cancer you killed half a century ago
returned like a snake with its head chopped off, that boyfriend
you had arrested for putting his hands where
they don’t belong one too many times,
a news story that was never true,
Like Obama’s birth certificate
or that hurricane in Alabama
Sometimes good people who tell the truth
just die and the world goes on
I pray for good health
for Nina Totenberg
just as I pray each night for
Ruth Bader Ginsberg
and for the meteor
the nuclear winter
to told hold off just a little
This poem was published at Poets Reading the News November 26, 2019
1. What inspired you to write this poem?
This poem was inspired by the death of NPR icon Cokie Roberts. It got me thinking of the idea of news generally, of personality of reporters and what has happened to real investigative reporting. It led to this poem
2. What do you like about this poem?
I like that it was current and discussed issues beyond the death of a single reporter
3. What would you change about this poem?
I would probably add something about both the past, former investigative reportage and muckraking and present, make it even more current. But then it would never end.
4. Where, when, and how often do you write?
I write almost every day at my desk in my office. Working from home allows you to do that.
5. What poetry books are you reading right now?
I am reading Tony Hoagland’s Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God; Joe Brainard’s I Remember, Eileen Myles’ memoir about her dog (not really a poetry book, but yeah, it is); and Black Mountain Poems, an Anthology.
My website is https://www.dottylemieuxpoemsandmore.com/2019/