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Saturday, January 30, 2010


by Catherine McGuire

A prolapsed couch, some blankets,
a punched-down pillow, makes a nest
to watch tv from; the tinker-toy tower of gadgets
piled black and silver in one crowded corner —
topped by the Nielsen box. Here are your prime
viewers: unemployed, living on foodstamps
and an equal mite from their willing exposure
to Nielsen's counters. The furniture's hocked
except for that big-screen altar they sacrifice
their lives to. After a year, unemployment
ran out — the queues for jobs still impossibly long.
The day is full of bacon sandwiches,
cup o' soup and prayer. They light
their HD candle, let the glow flood the room
flood their hours with Judge Judy,
with their peephole into rooms of other lives
more fraught than theirs; praying, rapt,
for rich teens marooned on islands
who are surviving on their wits.

Catherine McGuire is a writer and artist with more than 120 poems published in venues such as The New Verse News, The Cape Rock, Green Fuse, The Quizzical Chair Anthology, The Smoking Poet, Portland Lights Anthology, Folio, Tapjoe and Adagio. She is currently assistant director at CALYX Press in Corvallis and will be co-leading a community college workshop, “Ready, Set, Submit!" in April.