Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Time Machine and Poem

     Much to my surprise I discovered I have a time machine in my living room. It only goes backwards, not forward.   It is a TV with no cable connection, just the regular broadcast channels of which there are dozens.  Most of them show old series, movies, and sitcoms.  They must cost nothing or there wouldn’t be such a glut of them.  Surprisingly they have brought me pleasure.

    When I was living in Europe watching TV was a taboo.  I remember calling a friend and saying, I hear a TV in the background. “Oh no,” he replied, “I only watch documentaries”. In the States I resisted having a TV for years since I could no longer use Spanish or Catalan soaps as an excuse for learning language.  Finally I got a TV as a birthday present, but in my larger flat in Buffalo, I kept it hidden in an unused bedroom.  After all, whatever I wanted to see, I could view on my computer.

   Now in my smaller space in Atlanta it has prominence though I still viewed it with a touch of disdain.  Then after sifting through the endless religious stations and Latin dramas, I found France 24 which gives me a chance to see news from places like Africa or Latvia which the US newscasters typically ignore.  And then I found the channel with old game shows that go back to “Tell the Truth” or “What’s my Line” and stop around 1975.  My Spanish friend on seeing it said, “those people all must be dead by now”.  And it’s true.  I looked up Bert Convey, a popular host, and found the sad news that he died just three months after his second marriage.  Patty Duke, who was a regular on many of the game shows, recently passed. 

Why have I become interested in these shows and people?  They represent a time that was far less restricted than the world we live in with its fundamentalist values and anti-women rhetoric.  There is a progressive consciousness and innocence that we’ve lost along the way.  An added plus is that I started watching Star Trek. I never could stay up late enough to see it when I was a kid.  Those old episodes reflect on parallel universes and worm holes- subjects that are not out of place today. 



After I am Dead                                     a poem after Christina Rossetti



After I am dead my dearest”

fill my grave with companionate figures,

ceramic men and women

toiling the soil,

and standing guard,

the tasks of life

I no longer share.


Close my eyelids

with a kiss,

my lips too cold,

Purify the corpse

with fire,

Collect remains

In a bright ceramic vase

painted with birds and bears.

Lay it deep in the earth

with my terra cotta

statue friends.