Indeed I cling to the morning newspaper,
its relatively ancient news administered in ink
upon the crinolines of many dead trees,
like the postmortem of a marriage
those in the know already know has ended in divorce.
But radio, oh radio: just one button each,
AM and FM, are programmed in my car to NPR.
I confess some nights I will exhume from the closet
the ancient portable and telescope its sleek antenna up
to troll the airwaves not for now but for the past.
And alas, much of its music is swallowed
by rant, skips of cant from Kalispell and Reno,
one especially hectoring blowhard broadcasting
at thirty-six billion megawatts from Hell,
California, his theme song stolen from the Eagles.
Then, just last week, on the long drive south
to north over Idaho, I pushed the seek button
in the pickup and let the radio roam.
Five seconds at every AM stop, the usual blather
collaged as a Dada sermon, interleaved
every trip across the dial by the churchly cantata
of Hank Williams, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”
Just as the moon went behind a cloud,
the same clown from Hell spoke a line about secession,
followed by preacher preaching the sweetness of wealth,
and a huckster peddling the diet of the stars.
Then the silence of a falling star lit up
a purple passage on the evils of government
health care. The next time Hank came back
I hit the button again, and it was Tommy Jackson’s fiddle,
right before the last verse started up once more:
the same falling star lit up the same sky, purple this time,
though by then I was nearly all the way down
into the hell-and-gone Salmon River canyon,
and Hank disappeared into static I listened to still.