John Deming on "Headline News"

from Headline News

WITH SADNESS COMES ACCURACY;
WITH HAPPINESS FALSE MEMORY

so all my digital passwords
are based on personal tragedy

I remember your saddest expressions
I love how little rebels rebel

you put red streaks in your hair
after trying to kill yourself

all over America they're sadder
than their circumstances would suggest

*

the editors are read more than the reporters
because most people just read the headlines

NO CHARGES FOR WILSON
ARSON, RIOTING ERUPT IN FERGUSON
teenage atheists of the world unite

what it means to care seriously about nothing
America in love with its snipers

now everything is image
so everything's plausible
even likely

*

why must I be a teenager
I have ISIS on my face
it's time for a teenage rebellion
time for the iPhone X

J.D. SALINGER'S HOLDEN CAULFIELD AGING GRACELESSLY I tried to perform in one style at one clip
started taking pills and now I'm counting every breath

in the five-way Dyckman intersection
her face is everywhere
it's happening again

*

CLAIRE DANES DEBUTS RED HAIR
TALKS MEETING OBAMA ON 'LATE SHOW'

I'm never not going to be
Angela Chase sitting on her bed

listening to the Cranberries'
"Dreams" then her mom comes in

and turns it down
Angela says just turn it off

Patty replies no
I like it         

*

shit-talking mushrooms
scene on a plane

UK SHOWS INTEREST IN BUYING ANOTHER
C-17

the assembly line is closing
the royal air force is blessed

the moon just lightens
the specked noses of sika deer

each eating
sedges and grass

*

blissful and beat
the whole car ride
ADDICTION TREATMENT

WITH A DARK SIDE
it's all dark side
that's what the song said

it'll prove to itself
it can still have you
and walk off again

I'm out of ideas and I hate conflict

*

WEBSITE TRACKS
BLACK FRIDAY DEATHS

these look like solid deals to me
silk flatscreen

how it feels to me
the determined unfolding

of all my intentions
into blossom

and practically
healing me

*

that terrible person
just screamed
I hate my kids

PROSECUTOR: POPE FACES MAFIA 'RISK'

drunken nothing worth
looking at is better than
the sky

how could my brass
crooked ashtray
I'll find it

*

BEAUTY'S BRIDGE PLUNGE 
Ashley's jewelry line was called Missfits
she made them by hand

the way you feel is not an illusion
there is always underlying form
I sit at a keyboard night after night committing fraud
thin string white stone orchid jewel black ball

and don't you all feel guilty

yes they do
your bracelets are beautiful

*

don't know anyone very well
it's impossible to think
then a surge of hope from where the neck
angles into the spine
COMING BACK FROM THE BRINK

we're fostering hysteria
for the pablum
down the hall
there's a proxy war in Syria
a sound in every wall

*

strict karma is a ridiculous idea
generalized karma is not
discipline comes from suffering
suffering comes from god
god's beyond the world of forms
forms are all we've got
I'm awfully thankful
for my form right now NASA:
WATER WORLDS OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM
AND BEYOND

*

I forget what we're talking about
in the middle of the conversation

forget why I left one chamber
and entered another chamber

few things are as inevitable
as mental deterioration

HOT ON THE TRAIL
OF UNIVERSE'S DARKEST SECRET

I don't know anyone very well
I like being alone on the weekend

*

what would Frasier Crane do
he'd put this shit away

KELSEY GRAMMER OPENS UP
ABOUT HIS LOVE AFFAIR WITH COCAINE
he wanted to live a new life
new lives are not that great

I'm in the mood for love
I'm in the mood for things
what would Sideshow Bob do
I love it when he sings

*

4 ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH HOFFMAN DRUGS
get me more
or let real
loose I get to
guarding my
own floors

every time I am
alone I get to
pardon my
old form



On "Headline News"


I'm interested in the relationship that anxiety and depression and have with addiction, media consumption, and substance abuse. It seems central to so much that is going on in national politics and in the ways that so many individuals are suffering. My book Headline News has a purposefully basic title. (I teach full time at a fashion college, where for students, the word "basic" doesn't have the kindest connotation, and that's sort of how I mean it here.) It is made up of 72 10-line vignettes, each sampling a headline from somewhere in print or digital media. Headlines in and of themselves can seem deeply absurd, whether in or out of context, and our attention to them varies based on what is happening on a given day in our own lives. I've talked to a lot of people who say that these days, whenever you are doing something, you feel like you are supposed to be doing something else (a cycle encouraged by smartphone addiction and by the general sense of shame that media, religions, etc., like to encourage), and this is definitely true in our media consumption—the headlines just keep compounding. These individual pieces reflect this anxiety in a way. The headlines relate to the poems in varying ways, sometimes with respect to content, sometimes association, sometimes distraction, sometimes as a platform for rhythm and rhyme. So I was trying to write poems that can try on a number of voices while miming the confused headspace of the current media moment, as drug dependence and teenage depression spike mercilessly and so many people move forward every day feeling further and further behind. Side note, the section titled "BEAUTY'S BRIDGE PLUNGE" is for a former student at the college who committed suicide in 2013. (Thanks to the editors of Map Literary, Omniverse, and A Dozen Nothing, who first published some of these specific selections.)

 

 

 

 
 

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