January 7, 2006
Light Verse: Poems About The Media:
Here are light-verse poems about the media and the phenomenon of
More At Eleven
Each day the newspaper persuades us the world is as real as
it is precarious,
Just as laugh-tracks assure us inanity is hilarious.
If you stop reading the papers, the world doesn't go away,
But appears near at hand right out of the gray
As appears, when you look up all sweaty from digging a hole,
Two feet from your face, a wet black coarse-barked bole.
All Things Considerate
Gimme AM, grungy, rude!
Public Radio be screwed,
Whence endlessly doth emanate
A world bland and FMinate.
Indicators Suggest the Sky May Fall Tonight
In A High Wind in Jamaica,
The teen-aged heroine can take a
Tiny tremor, barely enough to wake a
Child from sleep, and of it make a
Monstrous thing, just by saying "Earthquake!" -- a
Talent that would make her a stellar TV Weather Person,
Able to make moderately bad weather worsen
By mentioning possible hurricanes and tornados
That MAY reach us from the Barbados
And MAY "lose some of their strength along the way,"
But nonetheless, we are left with "hurricane" and "may"
Of which more at eleven and in a zillion news flashes
(Interrupting normal programming), each of which rehashes
(In urgent tones, along with brief chats with worried
People who have hurried
To the store to stock up on water and rolls of Charmin) --
"HURRICANE" and "MAY" and "THREATENS"
and other alarmin'
Attention getters. And at eleven
(Outside, a gusty, starless Heaven),
The weather lady talks to a reporter named Chet,
Standing on a street corner, who says he's getting wet,
Then to a reportress at a beach -- her name is Kim --
Her hair blowing at us while we learn there's a slim
Chance that the worst of it will pass us by,
but we should be prepared for the worst. (Why
Don't we just curl up and die?)
Then we hear from Dan,
Who, for some reason, is also standing outside, getting wet, just
to tell us that we CAN
Take a few simple measures to increase
The chances that, upon the midnight, we won't cease
To be ("Tell our listeners about that, Dan." "Well,
So he talks about floods, candles, full bath tubs -- on and on he
Prepares us for the worst that may, though probably reduced
In strength, be, within an hour or two or three, unloosed
Upon us, here on our sofa, watching the television,
Smug about our decision
To stay home tonight -- and now let's hear from Marty,
Who seems to be standing in someone's back yard. He
Says it's getting cold,
With, here and there, snow flurries.
This is getting old.
Marty shivers. Marty worries.
Can't they cut this shorter?
I wonder if there's a cameraman and a microphoned reporter
Standing in my back yard right now?
Well, we get a storm. No flying cow
Falls through our roof. For days after, the TV shows
Nothing but fallen tress, as if they'd been flattened in rows,
Yet all the trees we see are standing tall.
(Some assistant director forgot to tell them to fall.)
The storm was no hurricane, but "almost a tropical storm,"
"THE WORST WE'VE HAD IN YEARS," says Norm
To Connie, but somehow hearing how bad it almost was
Is less impressive, after the hours of word-blasts, because,
Though we (like the hurricane) lost power
And couldn't watch TV for an hour,
A high wind (here or in Jamaica)
Doth not a hurricane make; nor one snowflake a
O word-smitten Weather Wizardess!
Who's that slinky, tall, blonde strumpet?
All the gossip columns trumpet:
Ah, that's Donald's latest Trump pet.
Back to UFOs and Three-Headed Babies
Now Charles ties another Windsor knot.
Prince Andrew must be resting on his Yacht;
None gawk at Fergie's breasts, and we forgot
Dear Di a year ago. Camille's not hot,
So once again calm reigns at Windsor Palace.
Shall we re-watch old episodes of "Dallas"?
Note: The following poem celebrates the absurd trial of sportscaster,
Marv Albert, years ago, accused by a girlfriend of biting her in
the back while forcing her to give him oral sex. (To retaliate,
she stole his wig.) (Note: "bitte" in stanza 2 is German
How Does a Hair Lipped Dog Bite? MARV MARV!
Poor lucky Marv Albert - she yanked his swell toupé -
Had she been Ms. Bobbitt, Oi wehs mir! Hell to pay!
Much better disgrace, prison cell - e'en a mob hit
Than be bobbed while one bit bitter Lorena Bobbitt.
Of course, it is fitting - I'm being derisive -
To be fanged on the fanny by one so incisive.
A tooth to the toothsome - O tender's the night!
But broads respond better to "bitte" than bite.
And why, amidst plenty, must marvelous Marv
Take a bite? O the pity! Would you have him starve?
Even more to the point, it was she took first whack,
For the newspapers say he was biting her BACK.
Can one bite a babe's back while enforcing fellatio?
Hard to buy, but as Hamlet informed good Horatio -
"There're more things in this world..." - but you know
Besides, BACK's a broad term. What DID Marv molest?
Ah, Horatio, I wonder if Marv's little gambit
Didn't start where the back becomes hamlet and hamlet.
How low can one go? I think (pardon the crack)
To be bit on the butt could well take one aback.
Even so, this affair presents many a puzzle:
Did he have her teeth cushioned by some sort of muzzle?
Else how would he dare be so hammily cruel
As to bite one whose teeth held his family jewel.
I wish I could give him a post-coital interview:
"Tell us, Marv, looking back, that is, taking a hinter-view
Was it fun? Did you think you'd be tried for a crime?"
He'd say, "You've got to take it one broad at a time.
I gave it my best, but that wasn't enough,
So we're down, but we're hopeful," and all of that stuff.
Alas, now I imagine, hearing any sportscaster,
That crisp friendly voice crying "Eat my shorts - FASTER!"
Many thanks to the media for sleaze with a moral:
Say please and be genital if you'd be oral
Or else you'll go down in the anals of scandal,
For mouth and crotch hungers can make you a vandal,
A figure as tragic and dumb as Lord Randall,
As you burn at both ends like that sonneteer's candle.
And also, beware, you who live by the media -
Don't get cut or your fellow sharks quickly will bleed ya.
And also, for healthier living, dear Marve,
Eschew (and don't chew) the red meat - stick with parve.
We're sorry your sorrow has been so much fun.
So tell us, Marv Albert, what else have you done?
[Notes: The title refers to an old joke in which the bark of
a hair lipped dog is said to sound like "Marv Marv". Is
there anyone out there who doesn't remember who the Bobbitts are?
If so, the next poem explains all. Lord Randall is the hero/victim
in an old ballad ("Lord Randall, my son..."). In Jewish
tradition, parve (variously spelled) means food that contains neither
milk nor meat and may be eaten with either. Observant Jews won't
mix milk and meat in the same meal.]
My Name Is Dean. I'm A Bobbiholic (Written in the year of the
It is time the world knew
About one of the most harrowing ordeals anyone has ever lived through:
Over the past year there's been a huge to-do
Over an action for which some feel Ms. Bobbitt deserves, if not
kudos, at least one kudoo,
But for which others aver with equal vehemence she should be tied
to a stake and burned to an ember -
That is, for disabusing Mr. Bobbitt of his masculine member.
Every columnist, songwriter, barbershop tragedian and standup comedian
Has waxed eloquent on the subject of Mr. Bobbitt's bleedian,
Whether or not he had it (as, alas, he never will again) coming
So sharp an abridgement of his plumbing --
And whether or not the jury gave him or her a raw deal --
But that's not the aforementioned epic awdeal,
No, the TRULY epic ordeal whereof I speak, all the more epic in
that it's gone utterly unnoticed in the media
(Glutted as the media have been with Bobbitts, Tonya Hardings and
other assorted tedia),
Is my own ongoing, thus-far-successful effort (though I don't know
can hang on much longer without help) to resist the almost
overwhelming urge -
O God! It's coming! I'm on the verge! -
No, thank God! I will NOT do it! I'll show 'em!
I will NOT clutter the world with another would-be witty Bobbitt
[Note: For those who have forgotten, around the same time a
jury acquitted Ms. Bobbitt for cutting her husbands prick off, Tonya
Harding, a skater, got in trouble for having a male pal clobber
Tonya's main competitor on the ankle with an iron bar.]
It'll be groovy
When it's a movie:
Cop-ettes without tops -
Hot salty cop porn
Goes best with popcorn.
Clear the Street!
That gunslinger's catlike stride'll
Be a homicidal sidle.
Why soar Icarusly?
Do it Vicariously.
The weird get headlines, T-shirts, talk shows,
Become fads despite derision;
Ample space for all these mock shows,
But nary an aerie for vision.
With evocation of druid and faery
And channeling the glamorous dead,
How can you tell the visionary
From the vision-air head?
The news and history all blur
As spin tells us the way we whirrr.
Recline and Fall
We watch TV. Our leaders plan
New drugs, new backward steps for man.
We roam our WEBs. The same returns:
Rome fiddles while Nero burns.
There is no ass, no titty on
The front page, just "Doted he on
Lewinski? Jones?" Quotidian
Editions now quote idiot
Polled pap or dry committee rot.
Bored reader moans -- O pity not
This addict whom quotidian
Gray gossip gluts. Voted he not
On photo-op'ed bloated neon
Op-ed image? Rote idiot!
Quotidian bloated diet
Of TV's devoted helot!
We Are Also What Eats Us
Tell us who we are, O media!
Feed us back the lies we feed ya;
We, your faithful flock will heed ya
Just as long as you're obedient
To our needs and whims, expedient
Western Wind Revisited
O Eastwood Western, won't you close;
The bad guys down fall'n dead?
Who came alone, alone now goes
Into the sun's vast red.
The Boys of Bummer
In our BVDs,
In our Jockey shorts
Football, hockey sports!
Ads! Off to our privies
In our frayed gray skivvies.
In our boxer briefs,
We are heap big chiefs,
One-time spiffy grooms
In our Fruit O' Th' Looms,
Turning off our brains
In our beer-stained Haynes.
Hairy, sprawling brutes
In our birthday suits.
Good Morning, America
"Well, Connie, the darkness is fading to gauzy gray.
There's no way at this time to be certain, but it does appear that
night is giving way to day."
"That's right, Peter, but as you say, there's no way to be
sure, and even if daylight wins this round, I don't think we've
seen the last of night."
"No, Jane, our day-and-night specialists tell us that, as in
the past, day and night will probably continue to alternate. But
let's visit the scene. We have Doug Innes on site...Doug?...Doug,
can you hear me?"
"Yes, Dan, loud and clear."
"How is it out there, Derrick?"
"Well, Tom, the grass and leaves are dripping wet, both bird
and traffic noises are clearly on the increase as you can hear...and
the eastern horizon has begun to redden..."
"Much like what we observed yesterday and the day before and,
actually, on each of the past several days just before the advent
of a full and apparently endless day."
"Exactly, Debra, but of course we have no way of knowing if
this is just another dawn or some quirk of lighting -- God, as it
were, striking a match to see where he is now."
"Very Poetic, Howard. Thank you. We'll call on you from time
to time so you can keep us abreast of further apparent day- breaking
events as they unfold."
Well, Pamela, it does seem that we're about to have another morning
and most likely a full day."
"Yes, Walter, it does indeed. I think it helps to look at past
developments, which, though they've varied from time to time, do
seem to repeat in essential ways."
"They do indeed, Kim, but experts say that many questions remain
unanswered, and meanwhile all we can say for certain is that it's
wisest to treat each moment of gray or reddish or blinding white
light or none at all as just one in an unrolling sequence of events."
"Well put, Mike. One simply never knows. Thank goodness for
this artificial lighting and the steady hum of our air- conditioning."
"Amen, Trish! On another news front, all along the Eastern
"...At least, Hugh, the average line where waves tumble and
recede has changed remarkably little during recent successions of
light and dark..."
"Exactly, Liz. Well, along that front, latest reports indicate
that millions of people whose bodies have for hours been stretched
out horizontally on beds are now beginning to rise up, first a few,
then in large numbers, and, in most cases, to move into their bathrooms.
How will this impact...but here's Donna Longway LIVE on the scene
to tell us more about it. Donna...?"
The Blinding Leading the Blind
Television is the wonder of our age
of course it is! Haven't you heard of
[Note: Referring to Stevie Wonder, who is blind.]
Details at Eleven
After years of TV watching,
we learn that no one dies:
People chatter, move away, fade out,
dissolve and return after
the message from our sponsors.
We grow accustomed to having
people peacefully sitting in chairs
move towards us and away smoothly,
as if on well-oiled casters
(no doubt news casters).
These immortals are too smooth
to admit to being surprised
even by death. When a newscaster dies,
the last words are:
If you can believe an ad,
People must be mad:
They don't want to wipe their tushes on anything as coarse as
But on dimpled baby cheeks and fluffy white globs of water vapor,
That is, clouds, the former of which must be rough on babies
And for the ecology, the latter as wholesome as rabies.
Also, they want rolls of paper they can fondle and flex--
It looks awfully like sex,
Which reminds me how people in TV ads are getting almost-nakeder
I suppose because almost-nakedness sells anything from soda to
soap, jeans to deodorant, shampoo to fake head-hair--
Almost anything, but not, oddly enough, the aforementioned soft
and squooshy toilet papers:
People are shown almost naked on beaches, in bedrooms, in showers
and before mirrors, alone or with spouses, friends and
And even when about to insert implements of feminine hygiene
mysteriously derived from meadows strewn with roses and voilets,
But never never never on toilets--
This despite the fact that commercial folks stuff themselves with
pizza, beer and breakfast cereal
And never excrete a drop of it, yet the men remain trim and the
women downright ethereal!
Perhaps they progress from the ads you see the munching, boozing
and almost-naked fannies in
To ads where, to handle awful constipation headaches, they're
taking Excedrin and Anniesin;
Next they appear as blue-skinned trembling people who didn't say
no to drugs;
And finally as Doughboy, "I can't believe I ate the whole
thing!" and as the before people in before/after diet ads
where to embrace a before person would require several
Meanwhile in shower and before bedroom mirror,
Lower, ever lower, creeping nirror and nirror
dips the camera (could it be intentional?)
To parts unmentional,
Lingering ever longer on intimate curvature
As bodies turn and the camera darts away just before what is
full and frontal can swerve at yer,
Flashing ambiguously on sleek shadowed inner knee and elbow,
Coyly caressing a baby's chubby behind that looks as delicious
as a peach melbow.
One day soon the hand with the foamy soap will stroke beyond the
To reveal...a bare loin;
Then product after product will race to show more, and having
shown what can be shown, will regale ya
With porno-flick close-ups of jouncing juicy genitalia,
Even as the night the day, bum shots
Being followed by cum shots:
"Join The Pepsi Generation!" will voice-over a montage
And engorged members shooting their wads into sunset skies
As Ray Charles moans "Uh-HUH!"
(And we will no more have to strain our brains figuring out the
deep inner meaning of a popped bottle fizzing over, Duh-HUH!)
People will get cleaner than clean in the shower, fondling
flesh slick with suds,
And sundry studs will service sirens between Millers and Buds.
Double your pleasure! Relieve your Jordache! Fill the Gap!
(All this will be very hard on my cat, who, whenever I watch TV,
tries to curl up to sleep in my lap.)
"ALMOST nothing tastes better than..."--switch to shot
There will be more things on TV than are dreamt of in your
And when everything tastes like, gives a smooth ride like, fits
like, looks like, smells like, tingles like, gives quick
relief like, slips and slides and glides and glows like sex,
Thanks to the weatherman with his map,
His numbers, moving arrows and rapid rap,
At last I understand the weather!
Today's rain, for example, is because that big thing from down
below and that big thing from way up there are rubbing
Tomorrow it may rain some more, depending on whether
Those two big things keep rubbing together.
Now that swirly mess is a satellite view of Heaven,
And that's all there is to the weather, but there'll be more at
A Matched Set
The smart set and the jet set
Won't have him on a bet,
So he hangs around all day
With the television set.