Now, this may sound like a boilerplate human interest story about beret-wearing vigilantes who remind you to use the crosswalk, but Dan Zak is not a boilerplate reporter. He let the words spill from the soul, penning a "rat-a-tat free verse" poem, which the Post published today:
Cheshire moon, rising.
Britney blasts over the boulevard.
We ain't stopping
Keep on dancing till the world ends . . .
Columbia Road doglegs to Champlain Street.
Which slopes down to Kalorama.
Which doglegs to Columbia.
All bisected by 18th Street.
A Trapezoid of Iniquity.
The social contract strains amid the cops, cars and coeds.
This is where the Angels ride.
After the Woodward and Bernstein era, the Post rebranded as America's foremost source of vaguely erotic crime-fighting fan fiction.
Flushing loiterers out of the Marie Reed Recreation Center grounds.
Scratch that. Blatantly erotic.
I'm not sure what the editorial process is like at the Post, though I imagine it was something along the lines of a lone editor in the newsroom in the middle of the night, giggling uncontrollably. Wait. Let me do this in verse:
No one here but me.
Very quiet, they won't even notice.
Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee.
Wonder if he's paid more than me.
We emailed Zak to ask about the genesis of this sincerely entertaining work of journalism (think Beat Poetry: Director's Cut) and he responded thusly:
My idea. Just seemed to fit with the subject/atmosphere, and this story is part of a summer-long series in which I'm loosening up my own writing style/habits and trying to get normal people in the paper (washingtonpost.com/night-lives). And I wouldn't call it poetry as much as I'd call it a pilot script for a bad TV show.