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35: Single Column for the Phoenix, at 35

The State Poet of Rhode Island pens a tribute to us!
By RICK BENJAMIN  |  November 20, 2013

As if out of ashes each

week it rises again,

Thursdays, from dust-

heaps of print-

journalism, proving

rumors of its being

dead, are, as Twain

said, about himself,

premature, still free,

untethered to usual

commerce, like one

dollar & change for

read all about it!

So what if slim mid-

sections of erotic ads

rather than seductions

of, say, Philippe & Jorge

pay for paper, writers,

that year’s best of, the

when & where of each

week’s gigs. Even if it

wasn’t free I’d still

buy it, listening

for the DJ’s (read: Deep

Journalist’s) bass-line

dropping into some

subject I wanted to

know more about than

just the daily’s enough.

There was a daily I

delivered in L.A., west

coast version of all news

fit-to-print, moonlighting

seven nights a week, ink

under nails, skin, flipping

papers like Frisbees out

windows of my beat-up

Capri, no seats except one

I was sitting in, hitting

driveways both sides while

careening down cul-de-sacs

at fifty miles an hour. One

night a wrong-way driver

hit me head on, & close to

1,000 newspapers cushioned

blows to my body, & though

I was broken I was also

alive. How many people can

say they nearly died for their

daily & also rose up to tell

the tale in their now home-

town weekly? Old-time

journalists putting “-30-“

at the close of their columns

to signal “the end,” & one

weekly blowing five years

past that number, still

wild, bold, throwback as

manual typewriters, still

getting the good work

done.
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