The human interest stories a newspaper decides to print are stories that allow their readers a respite from the difficult news of today with its terrorist attacks and current health scares. They keep the reader from putting down the paper. Readership is becoming increasingly important.
Every week they scour the local area for some odd character to highlight, some “human interest story” whether it be about the sisters who rescue three dogs deserted in the middle of a highway, or some tough or gentle citizen who does what is honorable and necessary to get by: the good, tough cop, the working nurse with cancer; people we all hope to be in our best hour.
I've decided to make note of some of the headlines. It may or may not be of interest so I’ll see as the weeks progress. Yesterday is was: “Pet Partnerships: Working with Animals provide Positive Learning Experience.” Sweet.
Below is a poem based loosely on a human interest story I read awhile back, fictionalized as most of my poems are.
The Daily Filler
Ninety year-old twins
living out on a farm,
two old soldiers full of stories,
Carl’s bombed-out days still alive
in the wet spring air.
He recalls how the buddies fell in France
and how lightly it rained every day.
Ray, thinner than Carl stayed back
with his sick mother. He details her nasty
cancer and how he caught it, too, years after,
his gravelly voice sharing his old life
at the edge of the narrow, river town:
hunting deer, turkey, possum, duck,
his best dogs long gone.
Brothers who take turns answering
how they manage with only a wood stove,
what they eat off the small plot out back,
why there’s no TV, just a radio.
Same-age boys, side by side, beardless,
somber, alike in their mother’s smile,
alike in their truth-telling, dutifully staring
into the camera, a shaky humor
in the drooped eyes, questioning the questioner.
Their mother would know why
their last days are filled with the curious.
People want to know about tough birds,
what runs in their blood. “No big deal,” Carl says.
“You live what you know, war or no war,
then you move your aches around like the crops.”
They nod and fold their hands, heroes of a sort
in this day of misplaced celebrity, soon to be
another ironic footnote in the thinning news paper.