Thursday, October 25, 2012

October Challenge - A Twist on the News

Judges for the October Challenge were Judith Tullis and John Quinn, whose poems provided inspiration for this contest. You can find their bios at

One of the winning poems is “What’s Happenin’.” It reminded me of the hours I’ve spent reading old Kansas newspapers, looking for hints into the lives of my great-grandparents, who were among the early European-American settlers of Lincoln, Kansas. The Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Washington Post, and other major newspapers, don’t report it when someone goes out to hunt buffalo, attends a bridal shower, or catches a very large beaver in his trap! When I was a child, the Iowa City Press Citizen still did report visitors from out of town and other social events; I’m not sure if they still do or not. I do know that, like most other papers, they charge by the inch for obituaries. Peggy Trojan’s poem made me nostalgic for the days when a local paper—or someone in the neighborhood—put to paper the small news that is big news for family and friends.

What’s Happenin’

Selma Makkela
printed all the news fit to print.
The Hemmilas had a boy,
Erickson’s cow was hit by lightening,
the Polks motored to Chicago
for their grandson’s graduation.
Nothing to cause you anger
or “take to bed worry.”
When you saw Willard
at the feed store, you could ask how
Mildred’s broken leg was coming along,
send an anniversary card
to the Mattsens,
keep an eye out for
Johnson’s lost calico cat.
The news connected you
to community,
safe in the knowledge
you were informed enough
to know just what
was going on.

~ Peggy Trojan

I got more laughs, though, from John Gordon’s poem, ‘We’ll Be Right Back. . . .” I hope you will enjoy it, too!

We’ll Be Right Back…

I switch the TV on each night,
Those grinning anchors are a sight.
They laugh and joke, never seem sad,
Chatter brightly when times are bad.
What they report we’re told is news.
While they’re on screen, I sometimes snooze.
The ads are what I want to see,
Because they speak the truth to me.

If I opt for this famous beer,
Attractive girls will gather near.
They’ll ogle me, admire my brawn,
We’ll party hard until the dawn.
The credit card that I select,
Will gain for me utmost respect.
I’ll get cash back each time I spend,
A most ingenious dividend.
A tiny pill makes me a man,
A harmless boost to nature’s plan.
No longer fear of growing old,
My prowess will increase tenfold.
An auto plays a crucial role,
Ensures I’ll reach my lofty goal.
It’s pre-ordained that I’ll be seen,
As prosperous in this machine.

It’s often said, there’s no free lunch,
So I endure that anchor bunch.
Resign myself to suffer through
More cat rescues, bad interviews.
But when, We’ll be right back, they plead,
What follows them is what I need.
I don’t learn much from nightly news,
Those cool commercials shape my views.

~ John Gordon

I’ve seen those commercials, too! Maybe if I get a different car, or use a different shampoo, I could win the Pulitzer Prize? ? ? ?

If you would like to read some of my poems, check the links on the right side of this page.

Check in on November 1 to see the next poetry challenge. You might be the winner next time!

© 2012 Wilda Morris