It's Better to turn on the TV than to Curse the Darkness
Better to gallop across the dry creek beds of Nevada with Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe, to watch the burning borders of The Pondersa from the contours of the couch, better to unwrap an ice cream sandwich at 2 am and follow those boys through silver brush, camp out under the pinwheel stars, their re-run horses snorting mesquite woodsmoke.
Better to flip to the Discovery Channel with its nano-resolution electron microscopes, its parasites who never change their minds, where whales laugh and plankton cry and atoms make quick decisions.
Best to turn to the crime channel, someone's wise and cellulite-ridden mother admonishing her daughter in somber tones to never wear a dress to jail.
You must hurry past the late-night stations of the cross, the red velvet hell-fire preachers, spotlit Jesus hanging from the rafters in his drooping diaper and spiky crown of thorns.
Better Miracle Grow and Pizza Hut commercials, interviews with survivors of hurricanes and earthquakes, the up close and personal surgical separation of conjoined twins, nail guns and sawhorses on This Old House.
Better Cartman and his cardboard brothers, better black and white stock footage of the bomb, better TV than the nightmare that woke you-- learning to swim, trying not to drown--a technicolor angel rising through the waves, your body in her arms, limp as a gauzy pieta.
Get a bottle of good vodka, maybe some Grey Goose or Russian Standard, a carton of orange juice without the pulp. Do not despair. Turn the channel. Lean back and wait for dawn to break and enter.
58 The Paris-American
Dorianne Laux’s most recent collections are The Book of Men and Facts About the Moon,both available from W.W. Norton. She and her husband, poet Joseph Millar, moved to Raleigh in 2008 where she teaches in and directs the MFA program at North Carolina State University. A National Book Critics' Circle Award and Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize Finalist, Laux's other honors include a Pushcart Prize, two Best American Poetry selections, two NEA Fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Recent poems appear in APR, Cimarron Review, Tin House, and The Valparaiso Review.