They dig like dinosaurs, chomping into the earth
These fearsome metal-jawed excavators
Hauling up mouthfuls of rocky dirt, cement block, rusty rebar
Kicking up the grimy, dusty detritus
Of the old word factory.
They tear and rend like T-Rexes
These mighty yellow machines
Chewing off bits of building
Spitting out hunks of wallboard and insulation
Bastions of brick and mortar
Leaving a skeletal shell
From which tendrils of light fixtures and electrical lines
Hang down like guts
From where we once worked day after day
Telling the stories
Of a busy, beautiful city.
How many people worked there?
How many stories did they tell? How many photos did they shoot?|
How many deadlines did they meet to tell what needed to be told
On the street that day?
We worked in a fortress
But we fanned out into the community
Going into homes with crumbling ceilings
Or magnificent lumber-baron mansions
All filled with daily dramas
Schools packed with breathless children
Sterile government offices busy with civil servants
Hospitals harboring the dying and the healing
Buildings being built
Buildings burning down
Cars racing cars crashing
Touchdowns being scored
Bringing it all back to the green-topped fortress
Furiously typing the stories
Souping the photos
Pasting up the pages
Rolling the presses
Rumbling the fortress
As huge rolls of news print
Spin off the titanic tumbling cylinders
Like fresh bread from an oven
Then seeing that day’s paper
Full of faces and things that happened
Smiling or crying or shouting or singing from the page
A daily miracle of work
Caringly chronicled, carefully edited
Slight volume of one day’s history
Easily blown away by a strong wind.
We take a breather, share a laugh
Maybe have a drink
Then pick up our pen and pads
To tell stories of another day.
The stories survive
The images live on
But the fortress is no more
Just a pile of dust and rubble
Torn apart by dinosaurs
Half a century of words and pictures
Now the object of cell phones
And gaping gasps
And stories to be told for years.
Very well written, Charley. See you on the 30th at the farewell. Anna Moore
Thanks much Anna Moore. It’ll be great to see you again!
Wow. Was this the GR Press building? What has become of it all? A sad, sad story?
Sent from my iPhone
Yep that was it all right bro. Symbolic of the newspaper industry as a whole don’t you think?
Beautifully penned, my friend. – Tom Rademacher
I pass this building daily on my way to work and have shed a few tears at the sight of its demise and the effects of this loss on so many. But your words that “The stories survive…The images live on…”place this loss in its proper perspective. Thank you, Charlie.
Many thanks, Judith. I very much appreciate your heartfelt thoughts.
Reading this poetic masterpiece triggers memories of the implosion of our beloved Hudson’s in downtown Detroit. I recall the ache I experienced watching the harsh machines eliminate what once meant so much. I can offer genuine empathy for all of you who created news and views, pictures and paragraphs that enriched our day by day lives. Sigh and so be it. My heart is heavy but gratitude great for all of you who invested so much in that rubbled-now-building. Amen to an Era.
Sue Tracy OP
Thank you for those gracious thoughts, Sister Sue. I felt the blasting of Hudon’s from afar, Mom having grown up getting special outfits there. Buildings don’t last, but people’s memories go on forever, passed from one generation to the next.