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Two Poems: Sit-Com & Insomnia (TV Culture Satire/ Poetry by Susan Newark)

Two Poems: Sit-Com & Insomnia (TV Culture Satire/ Poetry by Susan Newark)

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The following poems are from Susan Newark's college years in the 1980s. Newark says, "I specifically remember taking flack about 'Sit-Com' because it was critical of the TV show of someone who was then considered Mr. Perfect--Bill Cosby. But with the New York Times publication of the deposition in which he reveals himself as a predatory sexual abuser, his 'serial' behavior extends to far worse excesses than unrealistic, goody-goody television." The second poem, "Insomnia" has been previously published in The College Journals.


Life in a box isn’t funny
Soundtrack laughs at us
Who make no noise
Newest crop of mini-geniuses
Triumph over Mom and Dad
Who still love each other
Proud of junior smart-mouths
That run the show

Cute Rudy offers priceless gems
Spontaneously reciting her script
Andrew plays preschool poly-sci
A photo of Nixon in his locker
Theo and Vanessa are preyed upon
As regularly as a bowel movement
By the shit of daily life
Right on schedule like menstruation
Dripping invisible blood
They join with Alex and Mallory
In cooking Dad’s favorite dinner
Till he suspiciously asks
Okay, what did you do?
The same way Mr. Cleaver used to



The nightly news is bad
But they deliver death
With tragic teeth,
Tucked chins up
For our immunity.
So what the hell,
Here’s Johnny—but no
It’s only Joan.
Oh, please tell us
Of thighs and sluts
So we can sleep.

Dave’s viewer mail
Is boring tonight,
But he bombs better
Than Joan doesn’t.
Hey, I have a stupid pet—
Maybe I could make a few bucks
By letting her pee on his foot.

The movie’s an old western.
Ah, substance at last.
Shoot the filthy bastards—
It’s their skins or your scalps.
Rescue the long lost white woman
From the clutches of those devils;
Never mind her reluctance.
There must be an arrow
Pointed at her head.

The vertical stripes
Represent every illusion,
But why don’t they run together
Like a real rainbow?
By the time I contemplate that,
The impotent hiss of a fuzzy mass
Is the best thing I’ve seen all night.
I must finally be asleep.


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The TV guide issue pictured is from 1984.

All other photography and texts are copyrighted to Susan Newark and are protected by Digimarc invisible watermarking and online image tracking.

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