But what is TV if not a screen
where light divides down,
where particles charge and involve us
and we are kissed awake
from one native sorrow to another's
just because we are watching? We're alive.
that fox-faced, want-faced man
makes a sudden deep
O with his mouth in our living room because
he has not fallen down yet.
It is the astonishing first kiss
of a bullet in the gut.
That look of mortal surprise
married to a singular understanding, too late,
that (a) he was never alone enough, but now
might be forever; (b)
was never given enough attention, but now
might be forever--no matter how hard he tries--
or (c) all of the above,
and like Wile E. Coyote walking on air
a thousand feet above the loco canyon,
Oswald has only to look at the camera, look down,
and he will accomplish
what falls to us all to do, sooner or later.
Commit himself to circumstance
in a thin yelp! and puff of smoke.
"Live Remote," from which this is an excerpt, appears in Dorothy Barresi's collection "All of the Above" (Beacon Press: $22.50, cloth; $9.95, paper), a title in the Barnard New Women Poets series. Barresi teaches creative writing at California State University at Northridge. (copyright) 1991 Dorothy Barresi. Reprinted with permission.