Sunday, May 25, 2014

The TV World and the Word TV

Teju Cole has been tweeting a series of photographs and film stills involving TV, plus some lines of poems about television. I just yesterday reread this poem that Kathleen Rooney and I wrote several years ago. There's a pleasant, uncanny effect I get when reading old poems we wrote together; I don't know them as well as I know my own work; it's so easy to imagine they were written by someone else. Anyway, here it is, plus another one using a similar repetitive technique but with the word "recognition" rather than "TV."


Words may not refer to anything, but if they do
they TV the objective world, white noising
over what might've been a nice view. On TV
membership has its privileges. In the library
I try to "get lost" in a "slender volume" but
the volume's too low. Sarcastic & bleak,
TV gets me. Even though TV doesn't know
how to love me. How I want it to watch me.
No one can keep track of my saccades,
but "Vide" can be used to direct a reader's
attention to what's on TV: basically
a forced obliteration of the landscape
w/ TV music. Allowing yourself to be used
is the best way to be used. Shibboleths
issue forth from the muted TV.


I have a fear of getting stuck inside the recognition,
by myself, in the dark, after all the recognitions
are erased from cultural memory. No enclosed space
could contain more coldness or more strange noises.
Someone recognition in the back of the stacks---
and the sound is melancholy. Heartmelting.
I was seeking recognition on information but I found
isolation distills my recognition to its purest form,
a shapeless white. I was scanning the pages
when all the letters dropped off & hit the dusty
recognition, recognitioning down. It's not normal
for the slightest miscue to set me off, but there
in the air, a mote, a recognition. A light shines through,
illuminating my unreadiness. Astounding recognition,
that I could see my own breath.

*Both these poems are from our chapbook Don't ever stay the same; keep changing


  1. These reminded me, as your work always does, of a Kevin Davies line (or maybe I just read his stuff constantly):

    "What I'm looking for, late at night, watching TV, is the opposite of identification- the negation of catharsis
    Plus lots of landscape."

    That one always makes me laugh.

  2. I like these a lot btw. They also remind me of this website that spits out nouned verbs, adjectives, whatever you put in the text boxes:

    I tried to write some poems with it that didn't turn out so good. It's definitely fun to mess with though.

    1. "A dragging stem bucks behind an unknown. The journalist worries a former illiterate under the greed. An intended club stays the unconvincing cash. A rich category bankrupts a fool."

    2. unconvincing cash! this site makes me want to write poems from phrases like that but it never works out. please post something if you ever use this site- would be awesome to see what an actual writer could do.

    3. Who told you I was an actual writer!

    4. i figure if you can articulate all the thoughts that run through your head that get triggered by small bits of ideas you encounter, you're an actual writer. also if you've published sweet-sweet books then that's a good indication.

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