Childhood, idyllic, and not... from the author of LIE
Caroline Bock - Author of BEFORE MY EYES and LIE
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Caroline Bock-BEFORE MY EYES

Childhood, idyllic, and not... from the author of LIE

Ah, childhood, some days are idyllic, and other days are not.  Here is a poem about those other days. If you've been reading along these posts, the new section of my original, long narrative poem, "The Idiot Box,"  is highlighted in bold.  Truly, the author of LIE. 

The Idiot Box

My father called it
the Idiot Box
like it was a nickname, or
term of endearment.
I was twelve.
He called me
Toots, a nickname,
a term of endearment.
Sometimes,   
Ignoramus.  
T.V. was always the Idiot Box.
                       *
The Idiot  Box:
knobs, broken off,
a pair of pliers plucked the channels.
The Idiot Box:
black and white,
rabbit ears,
sculpted wire coat hangers
caught the signals.
The Idiot Box:
a Buddha on a woman’s
long dresser, my mother’s dresser,
along the wall in the living room,
bowed to a pair of plaid easy chairs,
and a burnt orange couch.
In front of The Idiot Box:
my mother
peed
through
the bottom of her wheelchair
and was taken away,
a bad puppy,
out of sight.
            *
5, 7, 9 and 11,
the four channels of the Idiot Box.  
Don’t think we were far from the City.
We were the ‘Queen of the Sound,’
45 minutes from Broadway,
home of Tom Paine, author of “Common Sense,” 
a city founded by Huguenots, who fled
France and religious persecution –
New Rochelle;
an intersection of past and future,
a  T.V. antennae perched precariously
on our roof because who the hell needs
more than four channels of television, anyway?
We didn’t. 
            *
We could watch,  easy,
four or five hours of T.V. every day.
“The Courtship of Eddie’s Father.”
Families could be happy
with only a father
if they had a butler;
“The Brady Bunch.”
Fathers and mothers could remarry
if they had even numbers of girls and boys; 
Stop!  Stop!  And look around:
“The Partridge Family.”
Pile us on a bus
and we could be famous, live happy,
if we could only sing. 
 
                       *
4:30 movie Godzilla destroyed Japan
4:30 Godzilla destroyed Japan
Godzilla destroyed Japan
Godzilla destroyed
Godzilla
                       *
Life was arbitrary.
Somehow, we knew that already.
                       *
After school,
we fretted,
free, not free,
until we’d turned off  the T.V.,
and raced outside to greet him,
swore our homework was done, 
that we had spent the afternoon
playing in the sun.
I’d fix us supper.  
He’d switch on the news. 
Soon enough, he’d grunt:
What the hell is up!
I’d shut my ears.
Serve up peas.
Damn Idiot Box.   
Pass the meatloaf!  Eat your peas!
Children are starving overseas!
What channel are they on? We’d laugh,
flee.

*

Stay tuned! More to come.  Truly the author of LIE.
Consider LIE, the critically-acclaimed young adult novel,
from St. Martin's Press, for your 2012 summer reading list!!

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