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The War Correspondent, a poem by Joseph S. Pete

The War Correspondent
by Joseph S. Pete

Ernie Pyle filed dispatches about the sweaty grunt, the common man,
fed an anxious, news-starved homefront weak and jittery from paltry rations,
got his typewriter-clattered copy devoured by the president’s wife,
bit into the gleaming gold of a Pulitzer Prize.

As the roving Scripps-Howard battlefront correspondent
lugged his hefty Corona 3 into yet another fight,
a sniper's bullet splattered the back of his skull out on the hot beach sand.

The unyielding deadline of time
claimed the Ernie Pyle Museum in his hometown,
the journalism school building that long bore his name
and the faded remnants of his storied reputation.

They erected a bronze statue of him
hunched over his typewriter on campus,
but misspelled his job title, “war corespondent,”
a journalistic sin he may have himself
sometime committed in haste
while trying to make a shrapnel-riddled hell
feel real oceans away.

From the poet: Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning journalist, an Iraq War veteran, an Indiana University graduate, a book reviewer, and a frequent guest on Lakeshore Public Radio. He is a 2017 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee who was named the poet laureate of Chicago BaconFest, a feat that Geoffrey Chaucer chump never accomplished. His literary work and photography have appeared or are forthcoming in Flying Island, Dogzplot, Stoneboat, The High Window, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Steep Street Journal, Beautiful Losers, New Pop Lit, The Grief Diaries, Gravel, The Offbeat, Oddball Magazine, The Perch Magazine, Rising Phoenix Review, Chicago Literati, Bull Men's Fiction, shufPoetry, The Roaring Muse, Prairie Winds, Blue Collar Review, Lumpen, The Rat's Ass Review, The Tipton Poetry Journal, Euphemism, Jenny Magazine, Vending Machine Press and elsewhere. He once wrote the greatest, most compelling author bio of all time, but it was snatched up by a blue heron that swooped down and carried it off to the sea. C'est la vie.