The Synergy of Conglomerates, #146

I can almost hear
the dull buzz
rising like the mammoth
engines of an aerodynamic
behemoth lifting up
from the strip of a nearby
airport, just before
the cable turns itself on,
the low mutter of voices, taut
lovely bodies slinking
along wires faster than light,
at least faster than a vacuum tube
can warm itself and throw itself
against the fairy pixels
of a glass screen.

I can almost hear it,
and I’ve yet to leave work,
exit the mall, start the car
or sit in traffic. The TV
waits in the middle of the room
like a great dark portal,
a black hole,
a quantum singularity
that calls to me,
that promises its lineup
of storytelling, its endless lineup
of products, which, for a price
can calm or enhance
every aspect of my being.

And I listen. Slink down
onto the edge of the sofa,
mouth hung agape
and head cocked
over to the right side.
I’m trying to look
without looking, ajar
and at an odd angle. Trying
to make sense of the lies,
of the lives being retold.
Any thought in this
great vast head,
this vacuum tube brain
that’s been flipped off
at the breakers. I can hear it
before I see it.

I haven’t left the mall yet
and someone’s telling me
to spend my dollars,
to pay with the hours
I’ve just put in, stop
and purchase something
that will tell my wife,
in ways that words simply
can’t convey, in ways
only products can surely
convey, in way only
spending the money
she begs for you save,
wasting it on trinkets
to tell her I love her.

And I would have made it
home, on time to watch
my favorite shows,
were it not for getting trapped
in Hallmark, were it not
that my car had to stop
at McDonald’s. The Focus,
fun to drive, turns right
of its own accord, rolls itself
through the drive-thru,
sat and orders a large
fry, obeys its thirst
with a sprite, two
all beef patties, special sauce,
lettuce, cheese
and zips off again.

The TV sits, centerpiece
of our dark apartment,
while I’m still meandering
round the beltway,
listening in my mind’s eye
to myself reading
the shows synopses,
laying down tonight’s line up,
four dumb sitcoms
and one over-the-top
drama, topped off
by local news about a fire
in a downtown apartment,
about a cold blooded murder
on a downtown sidewalk,
about how we should
be scared to death
by identity theft.

By the end of the night
I have no identity left,
the singularity of thought,
unanimity of message.
I can see it in my mind’s eye,
like the one patched eye
of a pirate, scarred
under its black awning
and warning me of rocks
ahead, reminding me tonight
we will watch, en-masse
the same poorly written sitcom
harkening back to Lucy,
the oldest known fossil.
So instead I’ll pop in
a movie, play a game,
hope to escape the grip
of this story. But due
to the synergy of conglomerates
no matter what I choose
I’ll pay the same booty
to the same crew.

My mind is a sponge
in the ocean, fat and full
and unmoving. I can see it
already, as I walk
up the sidewalk, sitting there
like a dark mother,
the vast jaws of a great
white shark, an endless teat,
storyteller, shaman
of our proceeding tribe.
The band plays on,
as the night rolls on,
as the lineup
winds its way along
the thin narrative thread.

We start out funny,
move through our adult
drama, and leave huddled
and scared for the terror
those amongst us can cause
to those amongst us.
I will die in my old age
like I was born, at the maw
of this great cave,
willing to surrender,
supplant whatever being
I could have aspired
to achieve, watching
the shadows, listening
for the dull hum of the light.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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