TV Culture: What’s That Thing (poem)

Posted by ractrose on 30 Jun 2017 in Art, Poems

Pastiche of oil painting cameo woman's face and pastel drawing 1980s Mustang




What’s That Thing


The sidekick’s black Mustang swings a one-eighty

A name freezes action on the screen

We see him mouth a line and wave to somebody

The portly old-timer, too, swings in his desk chair

Phone to his left ear

Face always stuck here

Eyebrow arching, poised to scramble

Young hotshot bound to get into

His weekly fight or scrape

It takes a portion of the time, the choreography and the chase

The two-part story’s first half ends

The hero’s treacherous new girlfriend

Is the dealer’s, really. They have a complicated wish, his gang,

to steal a file, that a junkie from the street

could have got for him long since

by burglary, not seduction

And done the work for nothing

Nothing much

But this is TV, not life, so the hero flips the light

He says, “Julie”; she whirls, with a photo, 8 x 10

(a whim of the developer)

She says, “Rick, it’s not what you think.”

He says, “You lied to me, Julie.”

She drops the file, a gun is in her hand

She shoots, and the screen goes dim.


Now the doctor says he just can’t say

He shakes his head

The veteran private eye slips to the bedside

The actor lies there slack with parted lips

In the waning years of the golden age, his co-star often played

A hustler, or a pal, once or twice a second lead

He has to do the tears and prayer

It’s stirring

He might get an Emmy, but of course, it’s just a show

Not a movie of the week




What’s That Thing
Oil painting of mushroom-shaped spaceships

















(2017, Stephanie Foster)




1 Comment

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