Poems by Rebecca Payne

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at Television
  (apologies to Wallace Stevens)

by Rebecca Payne

From Canary Spring 2011

Rebecca lives where the Red Cedar River watershed meets that of the Grand River in lower central Michigan.

Among twenty snowy mountains
the only moving thing
the flicker of television.

I am of three minds
like a store window
with three televisions.

The laugh track mixes in the autumn winds
a small part of the symphony.

A man and a woman
are one.
A man and a woman and a television
are one.

I do not know which to prefer:
the pleasure of sound
or the pleasure of solitude,
the television sounding
or just after.

Icicles fill the long window
with barbaric glass
flicker of television
casting its blue-green glow.
The mood
traced in the shadow
an indecipherable cause.

O thin women of Hollywood
why do you imagine golden awards?
Do you not see how the television
stills the feet
of the children about you?

I know noble accents
and lurid inescapable rhythms;
but I know, too,
that the television is involved
in what I know.

When the sound of the television fades
it marks the edge
of one of many circles.

At the sight of televisions
flickering their green light
even the bawds of euphony
cry out.

He rides over Los Angeles
in a glass box.
Once a fear pierced him
that he mistook
his face
for a television.

The river is moving.
The television must be unplugged.

It is evening all afternoon.
It is snowing
and it is going to snow.
The television drones
past the cedar limbs.

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