“How to Digest the News” By Ronnie Sirmans

In fact, I’m so certain Trump won’t win the nomination
that I’ll eat my words if he does. Literally: The day
Trump clinches the nomination I will eat the page on
which this column is printed in Sunday’s Post.

— Dana Milbank, Washington Post, Oct. 2, 2015

Donald Trump, the celebrity mogul whose brash and
unorthodox presidential bid was counted out time and
again, became the de facto Republican nominee
Tuesday night…

— Washington Post, May 5, 2016

Being a journalist, Dana, you are likely
aware there is less newsprint nowadays.
More news is delivered in digital doses,
so treat your printed political column
as frugally as you would ingredients
not so easily procured by the masses.
Printed news certainly isn’t truffles,
but newspapers aren’t quite yet trifles.
While nearly all of today’s news is edible,
it can also turn out to be difficult to digest.
Therefore, recipes should be kept simple
when making any dish of journalism.
So, here are some directions, Dana:
For bite-sized morsels, shred the paper
(as if such confetti could hide headlines)
and then perhaps toss with a vinaigrette
to disguise the flavor of soluble ink.
Please don’t ball it up like a dumpling,
like from some immigrant’s tradition,
or it may dissolve in your mouth to pulp
like a piece of over-chewed sugarless gum.
Do not put hot sauce on the typography
or else you may start gasping for breath
as if anxiety crossed your personal borders.
Perhaps take some aged Parmesan and grate
and let the homophone linger on your tongue,
savor when your taste in America was great.
It can be hard to sweeten your own words,
no matter what their kerning encompasses,
maybe a touch of vanilla or dollop of honey.
Perhaps accompanying crudités and aperitif
and small talk to ease your words’ disbelief.


Ronnie Sirmans is an Atlanta newspaper journalist whose poems have appeared in The South Carolina Review, Tar River Poetry, Gargoyle, Jewish Currents, BlazeVOX, The Museum of Americana, Barrelhouse’s e-book Dig If You Will the Picture, Britain-based Blackbox Manifold, and elsewhere.

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