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Kevin Ridgeway

October 29, 2012


high noon and time for syndication to materialize
from the hissing snow of the television screen,
sitting here in sweat-drenched pajamas thumbing
the volume to hear the wail of Mary Tyler Moore’s screams,
adjust the color to give Bob Newhart a crisp tan
and muting the barrage of Chia Pets and rotating scooters
for the elderly and disabled,

men in suits throwing money
in the air like useless confetti extolling the virtues
of second mortgages and cash advances,
their eyes pinned by delusion and frenzy,

the studio audiences mere recordings of the laughter
of long dead crowds, wailing at stale jokes that
took ten people to write and only one take for the
silver-haired hucksters of sitcoms past to recite
their nicotine yellow fingers shining in the
candy color of ancient film processing,

dogs saving black and white boys from drowning
and sullen character clowns moving from show to show,
faces as anonymous as your own alone here in the
darkness of this dungeon of unemployment checks
and ramen noodles hanging from three-week beards,

these wretched fantasies flickering at swollen
daydream eyes that are still searching for meaning
in the empty explosion of media that has taken over the
world like evil atomic supermen burying voices with
their rippling muscles,

your own voice destined to be one of those many dead
ones in the audience, laughing when you’re told to
laugh as your spine is stolen and used to build
a billionaire’s mansion with all of the other spines
of people like you:  frightened and alone
in the dark, the glow painting your face
a ghoulish blue

Kevin Ridgeway is from Southern California, where he resides in a shady bungalow with his girlfriend and their one-eyed cat.  Recent work has appeared in Underground Voices, Gutter Eloquence Magazine and Red Fez.  His chapbook of poetry, Burn through Today, is now available from Flutter Press.

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