This Gray Lady

Who is this gray lady sitting on our lap,
so broad and thick, her head and bottom
lines combined to find the truth of us?
Who has time and passion to engage her,
to day by day embrace her deeply,
to know her proffered charms?

The sinews of her columns, slanting
though they may, uphold
the language and stories that sustain us,
give us reason, and tell us who we are.
At times she is a sedative, sometimes
a stimulant, or a salty barker,
sometimes she is a knife between the ribs
of power, giving focus to the mass
hallucination of our public lives.

Above the fold, swollen proclamations,
sometimes the pain and grit of lives revealed,
sometimes that first rough draft of history.

Below and within her seductive folds,
the sweet opioids of crosswords,
style, travel, gossip, and sport,
her daily insistence drawing us on,
sickened on Sunday either by how much
or by how little we have taken in,
on the nod beneath her daunting weight.

We jilt her Monday morning like a chippy,
inky tatters strewn about the room,
gathering up the proudly wrinkled dame,
a mere day old, but spent,
and ready for the bin.