Kyle G. Dargan


After Visiting the New Newseum

When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often.
But if a man bites a dog, that is news.

~John Bogart, inscribed on the new Newseum welcome theatre

Some of you are men. The remainder,
mutts—who do not speak, who fetch
the morning sun with limber tongues
and barks like muted horns.
Unless struck in traffic, a dog dies
in private holds—transitioned
from alive to unseen, barely
a tally. When hunger bites
the expected, when blind rockets
dismember the expected, call them
by their names. When a virus
takes shelter in the expected body,
when the written word remains
foreign to expected eyes, remember
their faces—chronically passé—
as this is all news of the dog.
No ink will be shed for them. Their press
conferences will be small circles
inscribed with howls, limp tails
and clawed clay. In a blue rage,
in fear, a dog may bite
a dog—which is less than news,
less than assumption. “Reality,” it is.
“Sad” even. Neither pause the printers
nor pique our heart’s Nielsen ratings.
Men are news. When man
bites dog—his teeth, blackened
with headlines, breaking skin—
only then will the dog become news,
become man—worthy, dying, and worthy.

Kyle G. Dargan is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at American University and the author of two poetry collections, The Listening (UGA 2004) and Bouquet of Hungers (UGA 2007). He is the founder and editor of POST NO ILLS magazine and was most recently the Managing Editor for Callaloo.


Published in Volume 10, Number 1, Winter 2009.


Read more by this author:
Kyle Dargan: Wartime Issue
Kyle Dargan

Kyle Dargan: Langston Hughes Tribute Issue