Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Battle Decry

in Opinion by

This poem was first performed at The Poetics of Propaganda, an event hosted by Poets Reading the News as part of the Believe the Hype exhibition in Oakland.


if a news flash from me was enough
trump supporters would know

confidence does not equal competence.
diversity actually heals division.
and those two letters together — the “US” —
should represent what they spell.

but i may be deemed fake
right to my face.
twisted like the usage of our taxes,
my words heard as more wares
for more wars.

if they can mold covfefe
into a battle cry,
what won’t they sculpt
out of our speeches?

the daily feed now sounds like
those health studies that bicker back and forth,
crying “yes! it does give you cancer!” and
“no! it extends your life!”
if you listened to it all, you would never
go near a microwave again.
give up coffee forever.
ban anything not green, yet drink
a gallon of red wine every night.  

so too do they want us
not talking to our neighbors.
if all we read is conflict,
if all we see are clashes,
how can we spark conversations
with passengers beside us
on the bus? why would we wave
anything but our middle fingers
at people stranded on the side
of the road?

we need to study the news crews
we want to trust, through practice —
like your fingertips blistering
above the strings of a new instrument.
through real-world tests —
like encountering native speakers
of a language you’ve been learning
at your desk.

to most politicians it doesn’t matter
if we’re poets. or what statues
we’ve carved. the paintings depicting
pain they themselves have caused.

but it will hit them — some of them — one day
so long as we keep creating
pure drinks from unsullied sources.
in comparison, those tainted wells,
like breitbart, will continue to crumble,
taste buds finally rejecting the poison.

it will hit them — some of them — one day
as all they can see when they look around
is a nation as filled
with honest expressions
and connected creations
as this room.



AJ Dent is a freelance journalist, photographer, and poet based in Oakland, California. Her work has been featured by numerous publications, including The Nature Conservancy, The Museum of Pop Culture, STACKEDD Magazine, and The Capitol Hill Times.

Art by Joseph M. Gerace. Visit Wikipoem to see more.

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