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Jett Superior laid this on you on || July 21, 2009 || 9:52 am

They Told Me That Walter Cronkite Had Died

They told me that Walter Cronkite had died

And my heart faded a little, near-imperceptibly

To those untrained in my personal emotional dealings

(they who know me best know

my statements are bold, while my pronouncements

insist on being very decidedly vague

and I grieve in third person).

The nightly news was one of the first sources

Of a great and longstanding love: Information!

With enough of it I cobbled together knowledge;

The seventies were good on my thirsty brain…

In the absence of love, child,

You go back to what you know:

Decaying bowling alleys, kodachrome-rich and

Sparsely populated with the tired,

Roadside stands whose peaches bear the promise

Of lopsided, dripping grins,

Abandoned roads where katydids have -thankfully-

Muted their screams in the face of a mild afternoon.

By some magic the gravel petered out to a

Middle-of-nowhere payphone, lonely and hungry,

Gulping quarters in great clinking draughts.

Of course it was that mysticism held in reserve

For only me, both startling and expected….

Between the end of every ring and the start of

The next lie a thousand differing sorts of hellos;

So the prisoner would soon remember his heart

And the sacred poetry of yesterday

(about blind trust and broken glass and a secret home).

‘We will rot,’ he said,

A deep voice of porcelain;

Yet I smiled,

Having really lived life.

3 worked it out »

  1. Chris Robinson 7.28.2009

    This is a strong poem, I think, and it resonates with me. How am I to explain that music I did not like when I was a teen now produces an ambiguious response when i hear it on a radio? There is the visceral distaste, but a sense of nostalgia as well. A song can send me back to where I was and who I was when i first heard it. Cronkite has a similar effect. He narrated the large events of my youth. I hope is death was peaceful: a good end to a life well lived.

  2. Jettomatika 7.31.2009

    In all your years of commenting, I don’t think you’ve ever tagged one as ’strong’, so I’m really bowled over.

    I loved Walter Cronkite so much. I just perceived him as very, very smart and yet still so accessible. I think that I consciously made a decision when I was small, based on him, that I wanted to be a plainspoken smart guy, just like Uncle Walt.

  3. Chris Robinson 8.2.2009

    “Strong” is the correct term, I think. I read it again for the fourth time, and enjoyed it all the more.


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