“How to Know If Your .89 is Real”: Channel 5


Today’s poem is actually a “found piece” that comes from page 283-284 (or 89% of A. S. King’s book, I Crawl Through It).


It’s all very plausible,

the idea that a little girl

could get pulled

into a television

and communicate

from the other side.


Because we’ve seen them

on larger screens,

blond hair and blue eyes,

J. C. Penny nightgowns turning,

telling us, “They’re here.”


From the other side of the screen,

we appear, to the television-trapped,

to be living in thirty-minute windows

wrought with resolute ambiguities.


We are our own audiences.


We have questions: 


Was this experience only a pilot?


Who sponsored this?


Does this episode make my “but?” look big?


Where is the big, booming voice-over

promising “We will return. . .”?


We are far too busy to reclaim

little girls lost to TV Land.

There are marks to be hit.

There are lines to be learned.


We are expected to be “off-book.”


Today’s Novel


Yesterday’s News.


Managing any and all of this

means knowing what time zone

you are appearing in.


The essential question becomes:


Who is my market?


Who will come through

the closet to bring me home

if no one leaves their couch?


Channels change.


Today 89 is CSPAN.

There are talking heads here

saying something. The screen

spits and you see we can travel

in groups.


We are analog orphans

tuned in while at the same time

being turned away.


Times change.


We call them “time-slots”

manifest in the words, “You’re on.”


We grapple for an audience.


We offer teasers.

We are not yet happy

with our musical beds.


We have stories to tell

that get lost in the static.


We knock at the glass

and try to catch you

on your way to the kitchen.


We can only offer a

sketchy account of our day,

but we promise:


Details at. . .11.

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