Listening Post: A new genre

The generosity of public radio listeners is an awesome thing. It could move one to poetry. Well–to be honest–most things have moved me to poetry at one time or another. But among the countless poems written of young love, or the grandeur of nature, or the majesty of God, the public radio fund drive has been sadly neglected. I offer the following in remedy of that lyrical lapse.

Drive Night

The phone begins to ring before sunrise
and will maintain its clamor all day long.
“Keep saying the number; they will dial.”

In the commandeered studio, volunteers
nod at the callers and fill in the forms.
“Would you like a thank-you gift?”

Hour by hour the tally rises: twenty,
one-hundred-twenty, three-hundred-
sixty-five. “Yay!–dollar-a-day donor.”

In the pitch room iron-jawed announcers
repeat the mantra—”Now–right now–
this is the toll-free number…”

Shift after shift, Monday, Tuesday
Humpday, Thursday, down to the wire.
“Everyone is entered into the drawing.”

The map fills in and the merchandise
melts away. The refrigerator empties.
“Keep us on track to reach our goal.”

But long after hours, it’s just the machines.
The hard drive chatters to the transmitter
all night long, cueing up the classics.

Thanks to everyone for your inspiring vote of confidence in the work of North Country Public Radio.


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