As Seen on TV

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As Seen on TV

As Seen On TV is a collection of poems that meditate on the television as a spiritual medium wherein human needs and desires are played out in a continuous loop. The poems borrow conceptual metaphors and visual gestures from television programs in order to investigate the values that produced them and norms that are produced by them. These poems are about televised representations of romantic love and sexual violence. 

 

 

Excerpts

 

 

The Young & The Restless

 

The camera zooms in to skim

our skinny knees. Look.

We're only bones. Hear how we scream.

 

It deadens the blow that you too

shall die from daily discomforts

and years of detective work.

 

We are girls who sing with feeling.

We whinny and brood in the car park.

The devil cannot come between us.

 

 

One Life to Live

 

She wasn’t a shop girl

or schoolgirl or rich-girl

born in a collar of pearls.

She was raised by a loving father

and mother. She wasn’t catty

or horse-toothed or bug-eyed,

but she didn’t have azure eyes

and blue-black raven curls.

 

She’d never make it

as a showgirl and didn’t go

to church Sundays, but

she had always wanted to sing

with a choir of voices.

She wasn’t dim-witted or weak

but she wasn’t gifted

with industry. 

                       The girl

was a bird without wings.

She was yesterday’s girl.

Not a girl for tomorrow.

Poor wounded thing.

 

She made a mistake.

She let him come in.

Now she’s just a cadaver

bloated with bathwater.

But what does it matter?

 

Girlhood lasts only a season.

Next year a new girl will

crop up in her place.   

 

 

General Hospital

 

Let’s begin in the middle of things:

I never had a boyfriend in high school.

Every morning the sun rose, and

I waited patiently for life

to be over. Every year

I got older on my birthday, but

it was alright, until one day I fell

in thick-mud-love with

the smart-mouthed, red-blooded

register boy from the corner

store. He helped me up

out of the rain. I wanted him

to part my lips with

and a hardening kiss

but I wasn’t raised

that way, so I turned

my face and walked away.

 

After that I started walking

in and out the shop door, flashing

my legs like knife blades,

hoping he would follow me

into the alley. Time passed.

I languished desperately

in this manner, until eventually

he moved to the city. I heard

that he recently married.

 

Everyone says I have to forget him

if I want to live in this world

like my clairvoyant cousin Ilene,

who put out her third eye

in order to study

the business of science

and raise beautiful babies

in a walled suburban community,

but I don’t understand.

How can anyone live

with the knowledge?

 

Despite rapid advances in

information technology and

experimental medical treatments,

love does not come easy,

but death comes for us all.