The Foxy Newshound

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Alethea Porter had APA style,
seeing everything from every angle
& always keeping herself above the fold.
A columnist who kept her books in neat rows,
she fought astroturfing,
fake news,
& yellow journalism.
She lived in an inverted pyramid
with a snazzy layout wallpapered in newsprint
in the Fixer-Upper Northwest Side of Chicago.
One headline,
one deadline,
& sometimes,
one punchline at a time,
she climbed the ladder of the urban jungle gym,
respecting those well-seasoned story scoopers on the back bench
& mentoring the eager cubs who followed her lede.
She didn’t do puff pieces or hit pieces,
but covered first-day hard news & seventh-day soft news;
she was an informant of the best kind.
Whether in Athens, Georgia,
Paris, Texas,
or Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,
she was a not-so-private investigative reporter,
her nondescript cover a trench coat & hat,
a la Carmen Sandiego.
She broke with the breaking news,
sometimes breaking down,
never forgetting that her subjects were real people
whose unfortunate series of life events provided the material
she mined to make her career—
that they weren’t just characters in a story,
but they were the story.

Conquer by Confusion

Grammarcity Park had two regions—
the rotten North Egg,
and the equally rotten South Egg—
hatched by two gangs known as
“The Pros” and “The Seven Cons”
(the latter also known as “The Fanboys”).

Though such activity was criminal
in this dark city—
overpopulated with commas,
nightly knifings with em dashes,
and unclean colons—
little was done to muck out
this den of corruption.

One night of Celtic Thunder,
the Fanboys decided the only way
to defeat the South Pros
was by appealing to the Chicago-style
gubbermint,
and, in the name of equality,
forcing them to become
gender-neutral,
thus stripping them of their
individuality—
the core of their identities.

And so, while the Pros were trying
to figure who was who
and what end was up,
“The Fanboys” band played on,
still making connections.