News rush

The teapot’s whistling, it’s time to pour
frustrations into a cup of coffee.
How’s the beat? the chief asks the reporter, is the mayor still angry,
or has he made a categorical denial?
We don’t want libel on our desks, you know that.

Where are your stories? the news ed shouts.
Correspondents quiver, reporters shrug.
A weary night this will be, sighs the copy ed,
it’ll be midnight when the paper closes.
The president will have us for breakfast again.

Phone call from the mayor! the assistant reports.
Heads turn, eyes roll, lips smirk, bloods rush.
Yes, yes mayor, the reporter nods, I understand,
but I can’t give you his name
this isn’t a matter of national security…

Well, I’ll tell the editors about it, the reporter puts down the phone.
He’s suing us, she tells the chief.
Not again, the chief sighs and rubs her neck,
better get your sources to stand by their statements
we don’t want to invoke confidentiality of sources again.

It’s just another night in the newsroom.
All rushing to beat the clock.
All careful not to go too far.
All, for love of the news.

9.26.2002

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