To Be On TV

When you turn the TV off
Perhaps you are aware
Of a presence on the screen
A figure in a chair
Ghost-like in living monochrome
A specter sitting there

Stilled life like a picture
Painted by Vermeer
Painted by Vermeer

You’re haunted by this figure
Yet, you are not afraid
It feels so familiar
Doubt and fear are allayed
A reassuring presence
Thoughtful, rather staid

Expressing a calm kindness
The figment your mind made
This figment your mind made

Is this thing in mourning
Shrouded there in gloom?
Buried in obscurity?
Living in a tomb?
Some sort of a strange sonogram
An image of a womb?

Or simply a reflection
Sitting a room
Sitting a room

At the back a window
Off to one side a bed
Upon the wall a photo
Of a loved one dead
Beside the chair a floor lamp
Shines light around its head

No, it’s not a ghost at all
It’s an angel instead
An angel instead

And when you turn the box back on
Perhaps now you will see
It’s not about survival
Or reality
We’re desperate to be captured
Afraid to be free

Everybody’s dying
To be on TV
To be on TV.

–Loudon Wainwright III