Stop Press

What do you say
about everything you know
when your journalist friends
are social media whores
who can’t sniff out
a simple keyword trail
on a search engine
if their careers depended
on it?

Help! Find me a number.
Help! Find me an angle
Help! Find me a hi-res picture
To make the misery
go down.

Help! Are your people tasty?
Help! Is your sangharsh sexy?
Help! Can you throw me a hook
and a quote so I can turn this spin around
from where I’m sitting?

I’m done with empathy
for your deadlines
for the passion-swilling sacrifice
at the desk of  a
bloodless hack editor-
for shared bylines
with the business papers
for the ‘I’m sorry, but my hands are tied, maybe next week?”
until the first bullets are fired.

Man, where is your pride?

Keep giving them the unprintable
Keep doing the unthinkable-
Until they give in.
Dig trenches but quit
shovelling shit for a rag
that doesn’t value you
and the stories you were born to tell.

Do your homework
Meet real people
and never shy away from taking a stand;
publish under a pseudonym if you can’t
let your beliefs get in the way of your day job-
what matters is most is that
they know that somebody’s watching.

Let us know
that you have a heart
that will not be beaten into
for what you do is an art,
a sleight more subtle
than the reality they twist
through these crooked looms
of history
and pass off as truth.

Only the strongest of
sutras will bind us all,
mend the gaps,
make governments fall,
bring us one stitch
closer to what
we’ve known all along-
that creating empathy
for each of us
fighting to survive
despite overwhelming oppression
is the only real moral of the story.

Make the words count.