Editors Blog

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 267

For this week’s prompt, write a TV-inspired poem. It can be a poem about a game show, talk show, news show, or an entertaining series. The poem can be about commercials, remote controls, or having the biggest/best entertainment system in town. The poem can be about contemporary TV, or it can go old school. There’s so many possibilities that I’m sure a poet could easily write a whole collection of poems based off this prompt.


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Here’s my attempt at a TV Poem:


He carries a gun in his holster
and a bullet in his shirt pocket.

An expert on firearms (and everything
else), he’s quick to discharge his weapon

and lock himself up in his own cell.
He’s a worldly man who knows a lot

about nothing, but he can write up
a ticket, cite a citation, and

get lost in technicalities with
the best of ‘em. Lucky for Barney,

he’s always got a girl, whether it’s
Thelma Lou or waitress Juanita.

As long as he’s around, Mayberry
is, if nothing else, interesting.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is the author of Solving the World’s Problems and Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He spent last week volunteering 10+ hours a day with the local Cub Scout day camp and looked forward to relaxing with reruns of The Andy Griffith Show each night. Robert is married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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303 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 267

  1. BDP

    “Bleached Film”

    Has to—unless The End is really near—
    rain. Corn’s just ankle high by July Fourth.
    The farmers growl off Jake the Barber’s ear,
    beside themselves with misery: a dearth’s

    come down upon the fields. The Dining Nook’s
    red-faced regretful with its sign: NO CASH,
    NO FOOD. Those researched facts of agri-books
    are useless for cracked topsoil bleached to ash

    as city folk watch news, the awkward teen
    who hugs her repo’d calf. The camera
    zooms in behind her to the auction scene,
    her parents and their melancholia,

    the homestead farm that’s on the chopping block—
    oh, yes, we care! We’re spies on their bad luck.

    –Barb Peters

    1. TomNeal

      You have highlighted a real problem, and indicted a serious national character flaw (voyeurism).

      NO CASH,/NO FOOD. Those researched facts of agri-books/are useless for cracked topsoil bleached to ash


  2. JRSimmang


    With your eyes of solid blue,
    I am a marionette, bound to you,
    to make you smile,
    to make you cry,
    a twisted pas de duex.

    I long to sleep, a grand respite,
    if only I could turn you off.

    -JR Simmang

    1. PressOn

      The use of “marionette,” with its connotation of strings attached, which often get “twisted,” stood out for me. Very thoughtful piece.

  3. Marie Therese Knepper

    Paid In Time

    I’m the greatest magician.
    Right before your eyes,
    My slight of hand has tortured souls
    And shattered many lives.

    Tick. Tock.

    I have your children
    In the palm of my hand.

  4. jakkels

    take the lowly human form

    art and insight can transform.

    clay and plastic paint and glue

    cloth and dirt and chemicals too

    like some witches’ transforming brew

    can with mind craft something new

    take what everyday can provide

    mix with spirit and the everyday hide

    Take a creature from the wild

    cultivate with foam and glue

    bring forth something we never knew

    Skin you know and wear so well

    torture with paint and technique to tell

    your life in picture we can read as well

    Take the naked human form

    a picture from the wall and paint

    mix them in your mind, don’t wait

    create a cover not the norm

    Take a world where you can’t go

    different climate, flesh, and form

    with foam and plastic paint and glue

    transform a human into something new

    take a nice guy from this time

    mould and shape a tortured mime

    with weapon dread an unforgiving sign

    to perpetuate a gory crime

    take a man with clean shiny face

    his costume and face informs your mind

    with technique and skill put hair on his face

    take a he and make a she

    and take a she and make a he

    create a fantasy where this can be

    make some blood from kitchen goo

    blend in chemicals to make it true

    spread it so the crime shows through

    bring the undead from your mind

    costume sculpt and paint their kind

    zombie dance grotesquely mimed

    take yourself and craft disguise

    to hide you from a loved one’s eyes

    take a tale some clay and paint

    a theme and friends to get it straight

    two models and a backdrop quaint

    and twist it into what it ‘aint

    Add a judge, or maybe three

    masters of the crafting of what can be

    add music and reality

    and the winner is


  5. RuthieShev

    Murder I Wish I Wrote

    If I could write like Jessica Fletcher
    Then I’d be a famous author by now
    I’d write about every intriguing adventure
    That my time frame would allow.

    People would be begging to get their hands
    On my books before they were released
    Grabbing them from all their local book stands
    Just to read about the newest deceased.

    I’d be going from town to exciting new town
    Having book signings all the time
    With police asking me to help them crackdown
    And assist them in solving local crime

    In between writing my next mystery
    I’d ride my bike down the street
    Taking in Cabot Cove’s unique history
    As I waved at the friends I would meet.

    I always dreamed that would be me
    And every one would one day take note
    Of the author I turned out to be
    For the amazing Murder I wrote.
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      Murder She Wrote is another of my favorite shows; in fact, I’ve been watching the first season on Netflix. I relate to her character differently now that I’ve started writing. You did a great job capturing her essence.

      1. RuthieShev

        Thanks. I, too am watching it on Netflix. I often revert back to her reruns on Hallmark channel when there is nothing else I want to watch on tv.

    2. BDP

      A nice trip back in time. I like the biking part–makes me envision the opening credits and hear the music, which in turn makes me remember Jessica Fletcher’s voice and some Mainer accents.

  6. RuthieShev

    I must admit I don’t often post comments on many poems or stories because I don’t feel qualified but these poems are so good that I found myself posting good responses on each one. For the first time I got “you are posting too fast slow down.” That just shows how much I am enjoying everyone’s poems on this prompt.

  7. RuthieShev

    Dancing With The Stars

    I really love dancing under the stars
    Imagining moonbeams shooting down
    From as far away as Venus or Mars
    As I sway in a fairytale evening gown

    Well I got the evening gown part right
    But there are no lightening bugs aglow
    Nor me dancing in the mysterious night
    But the stars are famous people we know

    I enjoy watching professional dancers show
    Amateur celebrities how to move their feet
    To tunes each week as I see them grow
    In their ability to follow each different beat

    As I watch them perform to a delightful tune
    My mind wanders and sometimes I pretend
    It’s me dancing under a glowing romantic moon
    With my husband who is still my lover and friend.

    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

  8. Marie Therese Knepper

    Inside The Box

    Can you tell me how to get to
    777 Sunset Strip,
    The Jersey Shore,
    and Electric Avenue?

    You see, I’m Lost;
    stranded on a tropic isle,
    feeling Mannix, like I’m trapped
    in The Twilight Zone.

    Please don’t take me to the ER.
    I’d rather have my day in The People’s Court.

    Everyday I feel Big Brother watching me.
    Tommy, can you see me?
    Tommy, can you hear me?
    Oops, wrong genre.

    Back to the Truth Or Consequences
    of My So Called Life,
    where she can turn the world on with her smile.
    Where did the Good Times go?

    The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is
    Everybody Loves Raymond.

    1. RuthieShev

      I love this!! I smiled from beginning to end and enjoyed the way you mixed the shows. I purposely don’t read any poems before I post mine afraid that I will subconsiously take from someone else. So this is the first one I read and I am looking forward to reading the other poems here if they are even half as good as yours.

      1. Marie Therese Knepper

        Well, didn’t you just make my morning! Thank you!
        Have fun reading, because my poem pales in comparison to other gems you’ll find here.

    2. writinglife16

      This made me laugh. My mother never understood why I watched Gilligan’s Island, but I suppose you may be referring to Lost, which I never watched.

  9. Marie Therese Knepper

    Inside The Box

    Can you tell me how to get to
    777 Sunset Strip,
    The Jersey Shore,
    and Electric Avenue?

    You see, I’m Lost;
    stranded on a tropic isle,
    feeling Mannix, like I’m trapped
    in The Twilight Zone.

    Please don’t take me to the ER.
    I’d rather have my day in The People’s Court.

    Everyday I feel Big Brother watching me.
    Tommy, can you see me?
    Tommy, can you hear me?
    Oops, wrong genre.

    Back to the Truth Or Consequences
    of My So Called Life,
    where she can turn the world on with her smile.
    Where did the Good Times go?

    The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard is
    Everybody Loves Raymond.

  10. James Von Hendy

    Tell a Vision

    We’re sitting around the dining table
    Telling stories peopled with strangers and friends,
    And for the briefest moment something slips.

    The candles flicker. Wine, as red and dark
    As garnet glints above a woman’s pale,
    Translucent skin. It hugs her tender throat,

    That lovely spot between bones. She tilts
    Her glass and drinks. That’s all, but suddenly
    I’m lost, transported ages away. Lutes,

    A drum, a song, a drunken yammer fill
    The air, and then a steady voice that brings
    The wine-dark sea alive and ties me

    To the mast. It summons the sirens’ song.
    I yearn toward beauty, a hero torn
    Between desire and a call to arms.

    My wife sets down her glass and turns away.
    She listens to the story a friend weaves,
    His bard’s voice sonorous, rich with pleasure

    And simple life. We’re rapt. He’d shrug and say
    It’s just a tale were I to claim he spoke
    Like the bards of yore, just as my wife

    Denies her beauty when I point it out.
    Her hair, dark wheat, shimmers in the candlelight,
    And I reach for her hand. It’s palmas,

    Spanish guitar, and cahon behind us,
    The music soft and sharp. I’ll dance for this,
    The joy of friends, the real stories worth hearing.

    1. PressOn

      “Delicious” is a good word for this piece. The pun on TV led me to expect a funny story but instead I read a bit of magic, a real story worth reading. Just wonderful.

  11. break_of_day

    The Emmys

    it’s natural
    to care
    about the accolades,
    the recognition
    for a thing you love,
    or a person you like well enough
    who has made you happier
    or sadder
    or excited or thoughtful,
    for a few moments
    that matter
    in their own way,
    to you, anyway

    and it’s easy
    to feel too good
    to care
    about the spectacle,
    the worship
    of fleeting things
    and pretty people
    who surely make too much money
    for their
    day jobs and their
    shows that are merely

    it’s irrelevant,
    though —
    the argument against
    the superficiality
    of the thing —
    when doused by the emotion
    of the memory
    that Dexter was nominated
    like 500 times
    (for Outstanding Drama)
    and Friday Night Lights
    was nominated
    only once

    1. writinglife16

      This is great. You pointed out at the end why I don’t watch these shows. I hurt more for those who lose. Happy for the winners, but…

  12. TomNeal

    Neo TV

    As night begins to extinguish the day
    A screen in the corner illuminates
    Your room with a smiling false promise
    Of escape from the savage empty way
    Of life and ennui that own your day.
    Your stifled mind contemplating nothing
    But nothingness embraces posed despair,
    And hunts relief in electronic lairs
    That hide hallowed stories of something
    Hollow until dark night has fallen,
    And an undead chill inhibits the air,
    And breathless whispers inhabit your clay.

    1. PressOn

      “Electronic lairs” is a phrase that’s going to stick with me. The images conjured by just that one phrase are delicious and a bit frightening, accentuated by “undead chill.” I think this is a superior piece of work.

    2. grcran

      interesting and effective and different… like electronic zombies drinking vampire blood then roaming cyberspace and finally entering the victim, bringing relief and some nameless problem along with it… only your poem is much better

    3. BDP

      I read this several times to get the full effect. For some reason, I like the “screen in the corner” image. Simple, true, but I can feel it staring at me.

    4. drnurit

      Beautiful. There is so much I like about this poem that I don’t know where to begin. It takes me there – to the time when night begins to extinguish the day (love the metaphor), to the room with its false promise of escape… No escape… I agree with James – one cannot escape oneself… Insightful and soulfully written. It reminds me of Pablo Neruda.

  13. Reynard

    i want to be the star,,
    a talk show host
    where everyone cares to hear
    my every opinion
    no matter how
    conceited or
    misguided or

    i want to be the star,
    a reality show centerpiece,
    where everyone cares to see
    how i do everything
    from eat
    to shit
    to sleep.

    i want to be the star,
    a game show contestant,
    where everyone hangs on my
    every decision
    and i can win
    tons of money
    or lose it all
    while the world holds its breath.

    i want to be the star,
    a soap opera all about me,
    or maybe a legal thriller,
    or even a medical mystery,
    but i do not want to be
    the corpse
    on a detective show.

  14. taylor graham


    The sky, that last night turned deadly,
    this morning is just austere.
    A network helicopter hovers above
    what looks like blind multitudes of families
    and neighbors battling jackstraws
    of what had been their homes –
    an old man with bare hands
    trying to connect with his past buried
    under rubble, his wife
    confiding fate to faith; an off-duty fireman
    searching for strangers.
    Interview with a dazed survivor
    who swears she heard, just before
    the storm, the mating call of a katydid.
    Its song of scraping wings.

  15. Ber


    Switching on the box
    with nothing else to do
    no remote control to help us
    we hadn’t got a clue

    Waiting for the weekend
    for our favourites
    to come on
    hardly able to contain ourselves
    wanting to have some fun

    With a story to unfold
    right before our eyes
    musical entertainment
    dancing and surprise

    we would learn to copy and sing
    the songs of those days
    putting on our shows
    in a field of sun rays

    swimming in the rivers
    jaws came alive before our eyes
    with the mischievous boys
    with their playful enterprise

    Then came us singing
    as we swam up to them
    catch me i’m falling
    dirty dancing

    Your the one that I want
    some were really not
    scary hours we spent
    popcorn in the pot

    Movies of yesterday
    once came alive
    not only on our big screens
    but through our teenage lives

    Memories are etched
    in our minds of our young selves
    the characters we played out
    helped us express who we were
    stories of someone else

  16. Amaria

    Every day we stare at our screens
    barrage of visions floor our minds
    we see the world in vivid colors
    that slowly descend into madness
    but we cannot turn our eyes away

  17. De Jackson

    Rabbit Ears

    As a family, we sat and watched
    The Dukes of Hazzard and
    Grizzly Adams and the Hardy
    Boys. We kept our own ears
    pealed for commercial jingles
    we knew word-for-word, sang
    J-E-L-L-Oh! at the top of our
    lungs, and hung on every
    phrase flung by our favorite
    characters. We kept the Reynolds
    Wrap at the ready, and some
    -times just sat and enjoyed
    the mumbled silence of
    static din.

    As a parent, I vowed my
    children would never have
    TVs in their bedrooms, just
    as we don’t.

    Enter the iPhone.

                           Foiled again.


    1. PressOn

      This makes me think on how grandparents used to exclaim, “Do you mean they just sit there all day?” I love the ending; it connects old-time comic strips with the present.

    2. RuthieShev

      I watched the same shows but could have added Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk and Dick Clark and yes we had rabbit ears too. I actually laughed out loud at your ending. How true it is!! Wonderful piece of work.

  18. shellcook

    That Is The Truth of It

    Rabbit ears
    sideways oval ring
    brown, tan, brown again
    with silver ears that pop up
    like a peace sign
    that delivered anything but peace.

    The things I have seen from then to now
    on this plain brown boxy screen,
    which my grandma said would steal our minds
    if we watched too long.
    Go outside and play.
    There is nothing on today.

    In the early days that was so true
    three channels open from six a.m. to midnight.
    Things i saw that broke my world,
    Kennedy, King, and Kennedy,
    brothers and friends ‘over there’
    trudging through the fetid swamps of Nam
    in technicolor.

    The sound barrier broken,
    men in orbit, men on the moon,
    Nixon and watergate,
    an American pie in the eye
    to pie eyed Americans.
    Those two decades were televisions
    years of constant interuptions.

    Hostages taken in a world
    so very far away,
    both here and there,
    the same, I say.
    My opinions formed by whatever
    newscasters had to say.

    In my lifetime the wall in berlin
    up with the destruction of families,
    then ‘tear down that wall.’
    and they did.
    I have a piece of that wall
    in my sock drawer,
    which is where I think it belongs.

    The lives lost,
    and dreams shattered
    while we tried to escape that anxious world
    where war was waged, and we were spared no details,
    looking for a way to escape with the Lucy show, and Carol Burnett,
    and Jonny Carson, a man who could diffuse any bomb.

    Today I realize that I must turn the tv off
    to find my center,
    my sanity,
    my love for our stressed out humanity.

    Today we carry tvs in our breast pockets
    next to our hearts.
    Dont get too close.
    Youll ruin your eyes.

    Were there ever truer words spoken,
    other than this token,
    The news will break your heart
    and that is the truth of it.

    Copyright 2014@ Anne Michelle Cook

    1. PressOn

      For me, the notion that there is a director confounds the notion of “reality.” This little vignette is a strong one for that reason, as well as for the image created.

  19. PressOn


    When TV was new, on the screen
    were two giants who gave it its sheen:
    Uncle Miltie came first;
    I Love Lucy then burst
    on the scene. And their humor was clean.

    1. Julieann

      My husband I were just talking about Red Skelton’s “Clem Kadiddlepopper” and Soupy Sales, and then came Dean Martin acting the quintessential drunk. We laughed because we were laughing at ourselves; rather than tearing someone to shreds. Well done. The sentiment is well spoken.

  20. RJ Clarken


    A cumber-ground just takes up space
    (like, on Reality TV.)
    This person’s only famous for

    her silly antics, made-up face,
    and media exposure. She
    is someone whom we should ignore.

    But – gah! – we don’t. And in her case,
    we read the tabloids (guiltily?)
    which tells the world, ‘Please, give us more!’

    A sad discourse: the human race
    would rather follow her, to see
    her follied capers. What a snore.

    I’d rather watch a Cumberbatch,
    For me, Sherlock’s the better match.


    Cumber-ground – This is a person who is useless and just takes up space.

    1. RuthieShev

      Nicely done. And thanks for the definition because you saved me from taking the time to look it up (if it is a real word). Now I am going to take the time to look it up and see if it is a real word. Thanks for challenging me.

  21. RJ Clarken

    Okay…so you know how, during the airing of all those pharmacological commercials (as a side note) just happen to mention random deleterious effects? Well, a while back, a friend suggested I write a poem about it. I took up the challenge and penned something which was meant to sound (rhythmically speaking, anyway) like a patter song.

    So, without further ado (and please feel free to sing along)…here is…

    On the Market

    On the market, there are meds
    regulated by the Feds.
    There are supplements. These products have few rules.
    When it comes to running ads,
    ‘though some will work, the bulk are fads.
    Are drug makers simply ghouls with troubled stools?

    While a label thus reflects
    some alarming side effects,
    glossy ads just seem to gloss upon details.
    When a discharge that is oily
    is depicted kind of coyly…
    ah, methinks that it is just about the sales.

    But, hey wait! What about those side effect? Well…

    As your visual acuity
    becomes an ambiguity
    regarding the big ‘E’ on Snellen charts,
    you’ll get headaches by the score,
    and loose bowels? Your fancy floor
    is the place where they might find your body parts.

    And if you’re pregnant, don’t suppose
    that the pills your doctor chose
    won’t have vertigo as just one consequence.
    When your liver goes down-river
    there is cause for you to shiver
    since the stuff they did deliver? It lacks basic common sense.

    You will find that many patients
    find themselves with palpitations
    and along with this? Some nausea and amnesia.
    How ‘bout walking in one’s sleep?
    Weird-hued urine? Gads, you’ll weep
    if they mix up your Rx for anesthesia.

    There are lots of bad reactions
    which are famous for class actions
    not the least of which is vision that is blue.
    This is worse than Walt’s blue meth:
    it might bring on sudden death,
    so my dear friends, here is my advice to you:

    When you are handed a prescription
    do not have a fit conniption,
    but instead, just ask your doctor why he’ll give
    you a paper for some venom.
    It’s too easy just to pen ‘em
    but the point is that you might prefer to live.

    In conclusion, let me state,
    it’s not expiration date
    that is what the risks and issues are. Instead,
    I will tell you what is true:
    when your symptoms ‘act’ like flu
    it is not a fact that it’s all in your head…

    (Big finish!)

    …yes, it’s only a short time –
    you can bet your one last dime –
    that it’s but a short few seconds –
    ‘though not what the good Lord reckons –
    ‘til you’re addlepated,
    sadly over-medicated

    and on your way to winding up … (oh dread!) … dead.


    1. RuthieShev

      I really loved this. I actually ended up singing it the whole way through (good thing you couldn’t hear me with my terrible voice). One of the best things I have read.

  22. lidywilks

    My Viewing Pleasure

    TV is nice and all
    but I can do without
    the endless shows
    with the constant cast
    change, lines and arcs
    I’ve grown to abhor.

    That’s why getting
    lost in streaming fantasies
    from other parts
    of the globe
    is now the only life
    for me.

    © June 19, 2014

  23. Tracy Davidson

    (I wrote this a few years ago, it’s a bit out of date now, because the channels mentioned don’t show Friends any more, but I’m posting it anyway!)


    If I had a pound for every time ‘Friends’
    was repeated on 4 and E4,
    over and over, and over again,
    I’d retire to Barbados for sure.

    I still watch every night with dinner,
    I’m addicted I know but don’t care.
    I mouth along with the dialogue,
    count the different cuts of Rachel’s hair.

    Laugh at Chandler’s jokes, Ross’s leather pants,
    Monica’s old lady knobbly knees,
    Phoebe’s weirdness, the song ‘Smelly Cat’,
    Joey’s passion for fried stuff with cheese.

    Chicken breasts at the lesbian wedding,
    the ‘hers & hers’ towels for a gift,
    the ‘we were on a break’ bellow
    following Ross & Rachel’s great rift.

    George and Brad and Chrissie Hynde,
    among the many stars we’ve seen,
    best of all Kathleen Turner
    as Chandler’s dad, an old drag queen.

    Janice and her ‘Oh…My…GOD!’,
    the boyfriends – RIchard, David, Mike,
    I love ‘em all, so 4 and E4
    can repeat them as much as they like.

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      I love Friends, and like you, never tire of the episodes, especially Chandler and Monica starting to date. Poor Joey, keeping their secret for so long! Lol

  24. PressOn


    In its seven-inch screen, the TV
    held a wealth of amazement for me
    when I was a kid, for each day
    the whole world met our home, on display
    for our household to wonder and see.

    It was in a big box, and for free
    it would show a wee boy gobs of glee
    dressed in black and some white and much grey
    in its seven-inch screen.

    Now, today I can place on one knee
    a small tablet as thin as a bee
    that has colors from drab to bright gay
    and some apps and some games I can play.
    It’s all proffered, conspicuously,
    in its seven-inch screen.

    1. RuthieShev

      Very well written. I can completely relate – got our first TV when I was 13 and it was black and white. Now my husband has a huge wall hung flat screen tv with great color. Who would have thought? Thanks for taking me back to great memories.

    2. Julieann

      So much more beauty and culture on that little 7-inch screen than any 7-inch screen in all its color and glory can portray today. Wonderfully said! Truth be told.

    3. writinglife16

      You made something crystal clear for me. My first year in school, I had a 7in TV. When you mentioned the tablet, it’s like something made sense.

  25. Tracy Davidson

    (Guess this will only mean something to fellow Brits)

    Coronation Street

    life on the cobbles
    enough to make us all drink
    like Peter Barlow…
    if left to me I would chuck
    them all off that balcony

  26. cp13m4

    A thirty-three year old man
    Living in Dawson’s Creek delirium
    Silver spoons of etiquette
    Melrose Place till Lost in space
    Hell on wheels of fortune
    I Dream of the Bitch in Apt. 23
    That 70s Showcase showdown
    Beverly Hills 9021O-prah

    My Friends
    My Nanny
    My Doctor Who would never tell me lies
    I love you T.V land of the lost outside the Outer limits

    Yours forever……A Fan

  27. priyajane

    Wishful Thinking

    I wish that
    the cathode fairy
    who lives inside this simulated box
    would someday step outside
    and zap color in my real world too!

  28. Cyrelia J

    (I swear I finished this at 11:59…)

    Video Alchemy

    When I see you today
    you’re never gray.
    You never fade-
    just stayed-
    locked in a p38 static state.

    I wait.

    I hate for time to take its crime
    I watch black and white
    fade to final curtain night
    and I live every aim of your viper sniper sight.

    I breathe.

    crimson and clover
    over and over
    stooped and drooped
    dreams on a static screen
    while the world goes by
    and on paused playback you never die.

    1. PressOn

      For me, the salient lines are “dreams on a static screen / while the world goes by.” Very thoughtful piece, in my view. Thanks for posting.

  29. Cynthia Page

    God Bless You, Amen

    You won’t see this on television
    because reality excision
    is standard practice for edits
    before news and screenplay credits.

    But see this man walk away
    from a place he long has known
    as safe from hassles and vandals
    though it was only a transient’s home:

    Spikes in the doorway
    one less concrete bed;
    borders of hunger
    fences of dread.

    Keep on my way
    as the doorman said.
    Show me the way out.
    Not outside – in my head.

    Lend a hand; not a handout.
    Let the homeless be fed.
    Please, care about my fate.
    Could you spare daily bread?

    Could you spare a token, mister?
    He whispers:
    Thank you, brother.,
    Thank you, sister.,
    God bless you, Amen.

    Now this man will walk alone
    for hours seeking any place
    that’s safe to lay his tired bones
    while he ponders tomorrow’s face.

    But you won’t see this on television
    unless the homeless man is played
    by someone known for activism.
    For some, it’s just a role with pay.
    For this man, it’s every day.

    1. TomNeal

      But you won’t see this on television
      unless the homeless man is played
      by someone known for activism.
      For some, it’s just a role with pay.
      For this man, it’s every day.

      Your poem expresses truth with great economy. It has ‘the right words in the right order.’ You have discovered gold in what appeared to be a lukewarm prompt.

      Well done

  30. Sara McNulty

    Baseball Fan With Remote

    And the game is tied at . . .
    Here at City Field
    rain delay in New York
    —–Let’s look at that from another angle.
    Tried a bunt
    —–‘Oh say can you see.’
    Great catch by
    —–As we head to the bottom of the ninth
    Warming up in the bull pen
    —–‘Take me out to the ball game,’
    going to be a subway series!

  31. seingraham


    It wasn’t right, she had to chain up
    her children and they cried to be let go.
    Stretching toward her as she left them
    in the cave, straining, and making
    this ungodly noise.
    It was enough to break your heart.

    Sure they were unruly, they wouldn’t
    listen and one, had charred a child,
    a very young child, to death.
    But what did she expect from her
    winged wonders?
    They’re dragons after all…

    Much like the unruly children
    on that other show.
    The ones that live outside the law
    as a matter of course.
    But oh, they are so intriguing to
    watch as they do their dark deeds.
    What is it about bad boys in leather
    jackets on motor-cycles?
    Much like dragons, they seem mythical.

  32. shethra77

    I have watched waaaaaaaay too much TV.

    The Pilot Episode

    The wagon train comes to a halt at a reputable inn in a western town, run by comely young widow Mrs. Katie Brown, whose husband died under mysterious circumstances.

    The handsome young wagonmaster, Jeb Leeson, has to help her with a problem—constant harassment is driving her to distraction. She fears for the safety of her children (girl and boy, twelve and eight).

    In the course of his investigation, Leeson finds that the man who owns half the town (dashing rogue Anton Gillette, who had approached Mrs. Brown to sell her property to him upon the death of her beloved husband) very likely contracted with a gunslinger to finish off Mr. Brown in the first place.

    Leeson tells Mrs. Brown how her hubby was murdered, she is angry and tearful and scared for her kids. Leeson comforts her respectfully. They share the world’s most chaste kiss, but agree that they really can’t be together.

    Wagonmaster Leeson presents his evidence to the sheriff, who gathers a posse to bring in Gillette—who has other ideas. When the posse outshoots Gillette’s hired thugs, it turns out Gillette has disappeared, mysteriously, as untraceably as he came to town five years before.

    The sheriff, Leeson, and the rest of the posse find deeds in Gillette’s house, along with maps detailing the run of the proposed railroad (which even now is abuildin’ with the labor of hundreds of young Chinese men.)

    It is time for the wagon train’s members to split up and go to their different landholdings, not far from the Indian reservation. Wagonmaster Leeson bids the now-secure widow and her children goodbye—both adults know they’ll see each other in future.

    The series runs for nineteen years, leaving the fans with a sense of frustration when it does not make a full twenty-year run. They are contented with three different made-for-TV movies which wrap up the many loose plot threads.

  33. grcran

    Dancing til the commercial

    Watch TV
    Gotta pee
    Rather nautical

    Commercial break
    Hold the lake
    Shimmy shake
    Thirsty slake

    ‘nother beer
    Loathe in here
    Show back on
    Not so dawn

    Not sewed on
    Brain is gone
    Watch TV

    by gpr crane

  34. laurie kolp


    Ever since sex came up
    in an old Family Feud- –

    what chores husbands
    like seeing their wives
    do in the nude
    (which is so antiquated
    I nearly gagged as the boys
    and the emcee acted out
    vacuuming in vulgar moves,
    cleaning the toilet
    with slow motion hulas,
    thrusting his butt
    just because- –

    Game Show Network (GSN)
    is the go-to TV station.

  35. Jane Shlensky

    TV Death

    Mama cried when
    Ward Bond died.
    I know it’s silly,
    she said, but he’s
    like a dear friend,
    a good good man.

    He led his Wagon Train
    across prairies of fear
    and doubt and circled
    the wagons safely
    in her heart.

    1. PressOn

      This recalled for me that Bond was part of the John Ford stock company, so to speak, in lots of movies. He usually played a “good man” in those roles. I like this poem not just for reminding me about Bond but also because it touches on the power of imagery and good (I presume) acting to create bonds with us.

    2. Julieann

      I remember the show well, and it was a sad, sad day when he died. There is so much emotion in your few lines, and they bring out the emotion in the reader. You captured its sentiment so well with the second verse. Wonderful job.

  36. writinglife16

    Is this love?

    My boyfriend gave me six sets
    of scary shows for a birthday present.

    Monday, I watched Alfred Hitchcock Presents
    and I did not sleep.
    Tuesday, it was Rod Serling’s Night Gallery
    and I did not sleep.
    Wednesday, Tales from the Crypt made the night unending
    and I did not sleep.
    Thursday, the Twilight Zone beckoned
    and I did not sleep.
    Friday, I looked into the X-Files
    and I did not sleep.
    Saturday, I reached the Outer Limits
    and I did not sleep.
    Sunday, my boyfriend visited and asked
    about the movies.

    I told him I had not slept all week.
    I told him if he did not leave immediately,
    we would find out what was One Step Beyond.

  37. Jezzie


    I want to be frank and open,
    with you, oh my television.

    You can keep your position
    there in my bedroom,
    if you don’t ever try
    to interfere with my
    social life. But me,
    I want to be free.

    Faithful I will stay.
    I won’t replace you anyway
    with a younger model,
    just because you’re old
    or because you may
    have seen a better day.

    But I’ve better things to do
    than spend my time with you.
    I’ll not play fast and loose.
    Who is it that I choose
    to sleep with when I’m tired
    after working hard?

    Why you! It’s you
    I always want to
    curl up with, of course.
    I listen to your voice
    as you soothe away
    the cares of the day.

    But I just close my eyes
    I’m sure that’s no surprise.
    I’ve heard it all before,
    I don’t listen anymore.
    You’re really such a bore
    I’m lulled to sleep, I’m sure.

  38. Azma


    I stared at the inanimate blue screen
    and hoped for it to spring back to life.
    The apologetic message on the TV
    approved of the stagnation
    that the shower outside had caused.
    I desperately switched channels
    But has that ever worked?
    Our satellite dish is no match
    for the God sent downpour.
    Alas! I have to settle for
    a handheld screen now.

  39. candy


    It was a big brown
    boxy shape and my
    mother frowned as
    Dad hauled it into the
    Doors opened
    on the front to reveal
    a screen that would bring
    the world to our living
    room in shades of black
    and white.
    Don’t sit too close it will
    hurt your eyes was the
    mantra we kids heard
    but didn’t heed.
    Cowboys and clowns and
    puppets became our friends.
    Saturday mornings were
    reserved for roadrunners
    and bunnies and bedtime
    was signaled by a test pattern.
    Slowly , like a cat creeping
    up on its prey, it stole our imaginations.

    1. Julieann

      The TVs maybe did not ruin our eyes, but yes, they stole our imagination. Memories of our first television. Thank you for a trip down memory lane.

    2. PressOn

      There used to be a show called “Mr. I. Magination,” that featured, as I recall, a little train. It, and some local programming, tried to counter that trend. Didn’t make it, of course. Thanks for this gentle indictment.

    3. RuthieShev

      Nicely written. I got the “don’t sit too close speech” many times. I know they thought it stole my imagination too but sometimes I think it activated my imagination. One little quip I saw could inspire me to write a whole fairy tale.

  40. grcran

    The old man and his TV

    This TV ain’t no company these days
    These women come and go they come and die
    They leave me in a daze
    The actuary says the men die first
    The TV shows these healthy gals with appetites
    as they age, denied their hungry thirst
    by dying men, their hearts give out and more,
    ED sets in, commercial vendors trade upon the lust
    created by the TV trusty store
    Meanwhile i’m alone, the women i
    chose died and here i am hearty and strong
    even strong enough to cry
    but now there’s nothing on TV for me
    When they were here we’d watch together
    now i only see the special that was meant to be

    by gpr crane

  41. Tracy Davidson

    Bonkers for Bauer

    wrapped in a blanket
    with my ’24’ box set
    and a candy bar
    does life get better than this?
    ooh yes – Jack’s nude torture scene

  42. Marie Therese Knepper

    I Bet You Didn’t Know

    Put down your remotes!
    Unusual activity on the Telly
    by the local Public Broadcasting System
    like you’ve never seen before.
    Iconic stars hawk the service,
    Counting on YOU for generous donations.

    But, there’s a catch.
    Unlikely caught by those with cable;
    lo, the signal’s boost to reach antennae
    lost once normal programming resumes.

    Simply put, you give false hope to the
    hungry soul, longing for culture
    in otherwise bleak surroundings.
    This is not public service.

  43. Joseph Hesch

    Test Patterns

    Back when life was as black and white
    as the picture on the TV, but I had dreams
    like Dali and Van Gogh fevers,
    I would wake Saturdays before 7:00,
    click on that glass-fronted magical
    piece of furniture and stare at the whoooing
    salt-and-pepper of its teeny screen’s jumble.

    When the Indian Head test pattern appeared,
    I knew I was mere minutes from visiting the bears,
    dogs and sea serpent I’d waited all week for.
    The only colors in the room came from
    my dimly lit PJs, imagination, and handfuls
    of sugar held together by a baked mash of grain
    called breakfast I shoveled dry into my mouth.

    These days I wake from dreamless sleep
    at 5:00 AM and stare into the hi-def nightmare
    of dolorous newscasts that bathe my
    already too-gray life with their garish gore,
    pied bar charts, and happy-talking hairdos
    who paint it all into chiaroscuro philosophies
    of right and wrong (or Right and Left).

    They shovel all of this by the handfuls,
    dry, into a head that would much prefer
    the company of time-traveling canines,
    pic-a-nic basket-filching bears, and a long green
    Plesiosaur (an assumption proved true by color TV)
    who would come and save me from all this severe
    adulthood when I call, “Help, Cecil, help!”

    1. grcran

      this is wonderful! “severe adulthood” “happy-talking hairdos”: just 2 of my favorite phrases you created here! the way you brought the test pattern and the cereal forward in time… very well conceived and carried out! not sure the youngsters can enjoy this as much as an over-age-sixty guy like me (not sure any of them has ever seen a test pattern), but the last 2 stanzas have plenty of great lines for them… thanks for writing and posting this!

      1. Julieann

        How very true. We knew it was past our bed time when the TV went off the air for the night. The cartoons were animated and we knew “not to do this at home” because we knew it was not real. I love your progressions. Well thought out, well done.

    2. shethra77

      I prefer the test patterns to news too. And at 1 or 2 am there was film of the American flag waving in black and white glory and the instrumental version of “The Star Spangled Banner”.
      And you remember everything in color, though it broadcast without any.

  44. PoM

    Silly Wabbit we’re tired of your tricks
    You always ruin our show
    No matter how we adjust you
    You always make our TV snow
    Especially during my favorite
    Larry Curly and Moe

    I pull your ears
    And twist them so
    But the moment I walk away
    You return again to snow
    Ruining my hilarious TV show

    I’d like to dot your eye out
    As Curly had done by Moe
    But o I fear the rivers
    How they would gush and flow
    Out of the TV screen and into my mother’s home.

    1. PressOn

      I love this. Rabbit ears indeed were like that; maybe still are, here and there. I remember, though, when they were a source of pride, especially if you had big ones in the attic.

    1. TomNeal

      It’s not difficult to point out how insipid t.v. can be at its worst, but it is capable of something much better. Vile shows like the X-factor win a regular spots because we the people watch it. When I was a boy my father and mother restricted my access to the television. We watched the evening news with Walter Cronkite and on occasion Huntley/Brinkley. On Sundays our special treat was “The 20th Century” (narrated by Walter Cronkite). I do not want to praise t.v. as it is, but neither do I want to dismiss its potential. If television is a wasteland, it is such because we the people enjoy the wasteland (apologies to T.S. Eliot).

    2. PressOn

      As TomNeal notes, TV can be capable of good, and the BBC does seem to hit the “good” button more often than most U.S. channels. I like this cheeky little reminder of that.

    3. Julieann

      We still have a voice, a choice. We complain and do nothing about it. But our choice is simple, it costs no $, and only a second of time. When we exercise this option more we will make the point to clean up the shows! Utilize the “off” button.

  45. jasonlmartin

    TV Dinners

    Give me corn nibblets, choco-pudding –
    the kind that burns around the edges.
    Give me chicken rounds, Swedish meatballs,
    perfectly designed entrees for television viewing.

    I follow the instructions to the letter.
    Cut only the plastic over the main compartment.
    Bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes, open carefully
    at 15 minutes to stir, cover, continue baking, let cool.

    Still, the meat is equally icy and overcooked,
    a surprising temperature, texture, in every bite.
    I work through the main dish and vegetables
    washing down each bite, until, at last, the dessert.

    Cherry or peach cobblers, brownies with nuts,
    Lemon squares and tarts. Any food that sits
    in a cardboard tray, of varying qualities of taste,
    give it all to me, as long as I can eat in front of the TV.

  46. lionetravail

    “Where Are They All Today?”
    (for some reason, all my inspirations today seem light and trite- sorry to all those hoping for more)

    All In The Family just isn’t,
    since Mike and Glor got a divorce.
    Little House On The Prairie has satellite,
    which they got as a matter of course.

    Gilligan’s Island is listed on GoogleEarth,
    Happy Days never got to ‘elated’.
    Get Smart never did and went bust,
    While the Six Million Dollar Man was downgraded.

    Bewitched, beyond belief, begot Tabitha,
    while Laverne and Shirley shle-mieled and mazeled.
    Three’s Company was always a crowd,
    the Taxi cast ended up frazzled.

    Yesteryear’s shows were those I grew up to,
    and those which were liked and did well,
    went Broadway, or cable or network,
    in Rerun or Remaking hell.

  47. PressOn


    I wish that television
    would fade into remission
    and all its programs go
    back to the radio,
    where listeners could discover
    the book without its cover:
    a medium of sound
    broadcasting all around
    that loosed imagination
    atop the mind’s foundation.
    Instead, I have TV;
    it offers much to see,
    but pictures were much clearer,
    associations dearer
    when I tuned in a show
    that played on radio.

    1. Cynthia Page

      So true. Imagination creates fantastic scenes and characters. I found my emotions much more engaged when I saw the characters inside my own mind. Thank you for this reminder.

    2. TomNeal

      I remember sitting with my grandfather on hot humid summer evenings listening to baseball games being played in distant cities (St Louis, Chicago, New York) narrated by Harry Caray, Phil Rizzuto, and others on an old tube radio that mixed the broadcast with the static of far off thunderstorms. Baseball was never more beautiful, nor more American, than when played in the theatre of radio and imagination.

      Thanks for the reminder.

      1. Julieann

        Your comments are right on. Living in a rural small town with only an AM radio it was wonderful to pick up Austin or Chicago or Cleveland on a clear night. Those were the days of fun and imagination.

  48. lionetravail

    “Unreality TV”

    It’s said what kills is lethal stress,
    which comes from conflict-formed distress.
    And TV’s take, on shows today,
    does demonstrate its metier
    making its programs such a mess.

    The shows come on, like full-court press,
    with laughter canned without finesse.
    The offered choices cause dismay-
    Kardashians cause lethal stress!

    These days it feels like cheap duress,
    to flip through channels at express
    rates, finding aught not too passe.
    Reality’s not real, okay?
    Watching today makes me regress,
    ’cause bad TV is lethal stress.

    1. PressOn

      I think this is a superb use of just two rhymes to punch home the idea or argument of the poem. “Lethal” stress, too, acts like an accusatory finger. Wonderful work, in my view.

  49. Cynthia Page

    What Television?

    With three in this small apartment
    One would think they command attention.
    One would be wrong, because not long ago
    I gave up. Yes, I bought a forty inch
    behemoth for the living room.
    I have one in my bedroom,
    and my roommate has his own,
    but I forget to turn them on.
    I don’t watch Game of Thrones,
    or Downtown Abbey, or
    programs with long acronyms.
    Talent contests have turned lame,
    and reality is no longer interesting.
    Comedies are not funny,
    the news is depressing,
    and political pundits lie,
    or stretch incredulity to my limits.
    I find it strange that
    with unlimited channels
    I can’t find anything I like.
    So, I stopped watching television
    after West Wing was canceled.
    I’d rather read a book
    or play with the cat.

  50. Marie Therese Knepper

    Thanks For The Education

    Carol tugging on her ear,
    Archie quoting Norman Lear,
    Perry solving every case,
    Zombies Norman Reedus chase,
    Grissom haggling every detail,
    Barker, then Carey, ask for retail.
    George, Jerry, Kramer and Elaine:
    Who was master of their domain?
    For seasons ugly naked guy
    was the butt of jokes – I wonder why!
    Without Rob, Buddy, and Mel,
    I might never have heard of New Rochelle.
    Thanks to these and many more,
    (Though I cannot stomach The Jersey Shore)
    I’ve quite an education, see.
    All from watching my TV.

  51. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    At Three in the Morning

    You can rationalize
    your need to reach
    for your credit card
    so you, too
    can blow your eggs
    off a green diamond
    encrusted fry pan,
    and light up
    the night
    with an LED toad,
    wield your aerodynamic
    ceramic knives
    with precision speed,
    or buy a stuffed dog
    magically converting
    to the fluffy pillow
    that will finally
    allow you
    to sleep.

  52. Linda Goin

    In Jeopardy

    My mother knew most
    of the sly questions
    to cryptic answers
    on a televised
    game show that she watched
    with devout ardor
    every weekday night
    at seven thirty.
    In a cancerous
    coma near her end,
    she couldn’t call out
    the challenges, but
    she may have owned all
    the questions by then.

  53. dhaivid3

    Poem Title: I am seeing single but hearing double
    The men move across my vision in their Agbada and Babban Riga and staring wonderingly
    I sigh
    The women are dressed in Adire and Kente and watching them once again
    I sigh
    The latest Guinea Brocade and Senegalese flash right before me and smiling and watching
    I sigh
    The hottest George, Hollandais and Kampala are worn and I stare at these visions and
    The women in Iro and Buba are glittering, 24 carat gold jewellery on them complementing
    So I sigh
    I sigh when my machine spins out stories of suffering and ill-health in Africa; of poverty and delusion
    I sigh
    This is a great invention of man that allows him to deceive the world about Africa and so turning off my lie-box
    I sigh

  54. DanielR

    I see you but you can’t see me
    it’s voyeurism for a fee
    I still remember when TV was free
    but my days of youth are gone.

    Talk to me, I need a friend
    someone familiar who lets me in
    to their lives even if it’s pretend
    so that I can escape my own.

    Pick between laughter and the blues
    drama or sitcom, which will I choose
    in my recliner with premium views
    my remote is in control.

    BREAKING NEWS interrupts my show
    to tell me something I don’t want to know
    I’m furious and ready to blow
    I power off and our relationship ends.

    Daniel Roessler

  55. Nancy Posey

    Back Then

    One phone, one black and white TV,
    both in the family room: so we sat
    together, sometimes under mandate
    to watch history—the caisson rolling
    through the streets of Washington,
    John, Jr., saluting as if on cue, or one
    small step, one giant leap. We jumped
    to answer the phone, hoping for, not
    dreading, a call—no charity pleas,
    no surveys, no politicians badgering.

    Andy and Barney, Luci, Marshall Dillon—
    we knew them all like kinfolk, wincing
    at their harmless mistakes, cheering
    that first kiss from Miss Kitty, howling
    at the candy factory, the wallpapering.

    With one channel or at most three,
    we never missed our other options
    and didn’t need to channel surf to see
    how others would spin our news.

    Our world was smaller then—three
    bedrooms, one bath, a kitchenette
    in hearing distance of the TV set—
    which was always turned off—let
    it cool down, Pop said, as we ate.

  56. annell

    Do Not Trust What You See
    Life can be so complicated
    Relationships can be complicated
    Even TV can be complicated
    Reporters mislead
    Tell lies
    Make innuendoes
    Never correct misstatements
    TV is not to be trusted

    June 18, 2014

  57. Julieann

    77 Sunset Strip

    I was six
    It was Friday night
    77 Sunset Strip was on
    The old television

    The end approached
    Who did it
    Who solved the crime
    I didn’t really care

    Daddy’s turning in the drive
    It had been two long weeks
    He’d been away –
    Tonight he’s home to stay!

  58. Julieann

    Tight Pants

    The originator of
    “All those wonderful toys”
    Mounting his horse
    Seemingly at full gallop
    Fist fights, ladies’ man
    Communicates with the president
    Argues with Artie
    Loveless – not a night alone
    But the vilest of villains
    James West, secret service
    At your disposal

  59. Julieann

    Equalizers or Detectives

    The Rifleman
    Wanted Dead or Alive
    Yancy Derringer
    Have Gun Will Travel

    77 Sunset Strip
    Peter Gunn
    Mr. Lucky
    Mike Hammer

    The Fugitive
    Mod Squad

    Miami Vice
    Silk Stalkings
    The Equalizer


    Help is just a click away

    1. PressOn

      I was hearing an old sing, Side by Side, as I read this. It strikes me that, as TV sets have progressed from bug consoles to slim wall mountings, they have correspondingly become easier to ignore, There was a time when they were true objects of fascination.