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Monday, March 05, 2007


by Debora Lidov

I empowered myself today
by turning Oprah off
after the first five minutes.
I watched the fifty thousand dollar Use Your Life Award
go to help fifty thousand
dollars worth of women
get cancer treatment this week,
and then I turned it off. I walked away
from the rest of the hour,
from Dr. Phil’s win-win conflict
resolution training. I confronted
my talk-show codependence, the corporate sponsors, and all
the helpyourself helpyourself first philosophy
I’d swallowed to date. Oprah, I said, No more.
I can no longer abide by your contradictions.
It is no longer okay to talk about the history of slavery
and planters that block your parking space
with the exact same urgency anymore.
It isn’t okay to celebrate charity and say nothing
of the Clintons killing welfare. I
refuse to be moved
by the woman selling used bridal gowns
to pay the mortgages of strangers.
She’s an example to us all.
But bridal gowns, Oprah?
You might be much smarter than I am
and have done more with your pain
than I’ll ever do with mine.
But think of it this way:
If I give up the show
I’ll have more time to cook healthy
and to write in my Gratitude Journal,
which I will always be grateful for
and where I am writing this now
with its soft cloth binding and purple leaves.
Just like the Use Your Life Award recipients
and the people they help will always be grateful,
as will all the Penguin Putnam authors you’ve pushed
to date. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful
for the Book Club, Oprah. It’s good
to get America reading, but why tell me
every book is made to make me think
more about me? Maybe it’s just me
but I’ve noticed the more I think of me
the more depressed I get. And that’s why it’s time
to pull the plug, to cut the cord, to take back the hour
between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m.
and to try to inspire others to do the same.
Thank you bringing Tina Turner’s Dream Tour
into every American home
and for reminding us to change our clothes
first thing after work. America needs
transition, you said. So now when I come home
and run my essential salts bath
or slide into my best silk boxers,
I will face and embrace my aloneness alone.
How I will miss your laughter
and seeing what guests you pick
and the audience’s
rainstorm of claps and cheers
their tears of surrender
their tears of surrender
their tears.

Debora Lidov is a hospital social worker, living and practicing in Brooklyn . She has taught poetry and fiction workshops at Hunter College, City University of New York, and her poems and reviews have appeared in Descant, Entertainment Weekly, Threepenny Review, and Sojourner. She holds writing degrees from Hunter College and Sarah Lawrence College , as well an MSW from NYU.