“Signal 23,” a very old cops beat, print-out poem

Illustration from newsroom computer printout, March 27, 1985, at 1:43 p.m.

I wish I might resent you, or Fate or
my itinerant Guardian Angel. Yet who
indeed might I blame?

Your world has failed, I say.
But it goes on, rotating beneath
the feet of that gesticulating man

who tumbles and falls, face first,
into the soil. And another one
takes his place.

Give me ignorance or give me
breath. Don't give me both.
"All units, all units we have a

Signal 23, at 2520 McComas Road,
a structure fire." The police radio
crackles to life as another dream

goes up in smoke. Much as I adopt
the alien, alienated pose, spirit blossoms
alongside the blossoming rose.

Treasures scattered everywhere,
on the surface like rough diamonds
in the dirt, or the fruit hidden

underneath the shirt. Who knows
what awaits the mind and senses
as time unreels and star to star

we bop. Will we catch up with God,
does he hop a step ahead, leading us
onward like the tortoise and the carrot.

Meanwhile, we parrot the music
and the clamor of this sphere.
There are other places that

I'd sometimes like to be.
All other times, I'm
glad to be here.

NOTE: Printout found in a bin in the garage from the old Huntington Herald-Dispatch newsroom, March 27, 1985, while working the cops beat one winter’s day. Lightly re-edited and formatted.

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