page contents

POETRY / CHAT-TV / Jeff Pearson



The kid spoke to the TV display,
“Look at me! Eye-contact
could be our only words.”

Sometimes TVs fall on heads
like hangover bricks when eyes close

The TV said, “Please contact your
Caribou Highlands Association Television
CHAT-TV.” “They paid you to say that,”
he said to the TV.

Sometimes TVs pile up in a king of
the hill effort to reach the dust at the top
the reason for TVs being so heavy
heavier than books and
the buildings of TVs rise up in the special
collections, Whiskey Tango.

When the switch
to digital waves from the (old) analog
style, he lost his best friend. Channel log-
throwing which happened during the
lumberjack competition which was found
on the sports channel, now gone
in a magnified well of signal

A TV cannot escape
the card catalog or schedule a time to be read out
loud. The talk shows go on all day. Channel changer
bang-a-rang. Cathode smile to set
picture frames on. Please go to the source.

The debate could rage on for the rest
of the day: The newly aged, young man
watched himself develop an overbite
no longer sitting Indian-style sweared
at the salt and pepper wars, noisy black and

Occasionally the philotfarnsworth
picks up the day and directs watchers to
participate, but mostly it’s all just accidental listening.

The soon to be balding older man shoots the TV with
a blow-dart.

Oscillators in wide brimmed waves now no longer
continuous. An abstract template
for the original sound or moving image.

The elderly man reaches for the digital decoder ring placed on top
of the plateau of the TV sets.


After adjusting the digital decoder ring
at night the signal clears its throat.
A few new channels appear like new
cities on a map, and he watches the
Caribou mud bogs, wishing it was
the summer he watched the squealing
cars race through mud in front
of beer filled bleachers.

The law of superposition
ranks the uppermost TV’s
as newer by the magnetic field reversal
in the layers of television sediment.
No room for antenna’s; drape the coaxial
cords out the window.

The neighbor smokes,
blocks the signal, blocks the public access
mud challenge, remainders of summer.
Public access later, city council meeting is interrupted by
doomsday predictor handing out
pamphlets to the members, and it is day-
time so this isn’t live.

Stopping is something we don’t do. Lest you forget
about great and spacious buildings
climbing towards heaven the way
TV’s do, a Babel of televisions
dead end he said.

He cries for repentance, the steps
so clearly placed on the old man’s TV
mouthing the bedside plea, a
riparian pool of regrets.
Later the emergency broadcast
interrupts “Girls Gone Wild” commercials
with a school tardy bell and
a lined multi-colored
pattern that wakes him up
in his sleepy sack, furnace blaring
with pops from the Lodgepole pines
being turned into ash behind
the brown sectional.

How come the coagulation of remotes
can’t change the situation, although
the less shape of a flat, curve skate of screen,
the rapier sides almost lonesome.

He slaps the kitten calendar while searching
the room for signal. The poodle, Button, wets
on the floor. Nuh-night to the Zenith
wood panel burnt personages in the
walls of eyes, pop monsters that lip sync
the news. The vicious rip of cathode
tubes once upon a time tree forts.

Jeff Pearson is a neurodivergent poet who has been in psychiatric treatment for nearly eight years after being in state custody at the Idaho State Hospital South. He is a graduate of the University of Idaho’s MFA Program and has been published by Noble / Gas Quarterly, Monkeybicycle, Otis Nebula, Heavy Feather Review, Fourth River, Salt Front, Open Minds Quarterly, Barrelhouse, Entropy, and Moon City Review. In 2017, he won Permafrost's New Alchemy Award for his series, "User Reviews of Medication." He is The Managing Editor for Blood Orange Review and Poetry Editor for 5x5 Lit Mag and an instructor at Washington State University. Tweets at @legoverleg.