Channel Surfing


Channel One black
panel eye drug
shows the few
who still tune
to his public waves
the uninterpreted
male gaze of
an Elliott action
—a long stare across
a mall commons,
a knuckled scratch,
a slow benching
of himself between
the bathroom and
lingerie shop—
have him doubled:
You enter, pedestrian,
1) an average of allotment,
this are they and that,
or 2) a rare flash
of good Samaritan
who for leak or lay
would help him
find his way?


Channel Two white
screened gospel
lets a tired Elliott
sit peacefully—
focal subject
of today’s story;
Here is the way
a bath of sin corrupts
and we forgive the ones
who bottle it to live
in contradiction.
Look how he humbles
and lets the word root,
watch the guilt flower out
as soon as he believes.
Who will poke to see
if this nodding-off Elliott
is what it seems he seems?


Channel Three red
blooded suspense
catches him ever
in the pre-moment—
the frantic squirrel
disappearing in the listen
for a tire and
a frame of face
we can’t read,
journal entries
penned in a dim room
and left to imagination,
the knife in the block
cross the shot to
the ex-fiancée’s boyfriend,
then just an Elliott
without a soundtrack.
How much of what he’s done
do we have to create
to be sated?


Channel Four yellow
thumb-held photos
in a careful documentary
—painting a fence,
fixing a car, held off
grimace, slipping
out to read
a select excerpt
on homemade jellies,
slow handshakes and
overdubbed mingling—
a post-production Elliott
bloated with pathos.
He gave a flying flea
about X and Z, certainly
not U, but hell…
Villains sell, so why
villainize this I-sore
when victimizing
makes a villain
of so much more?


Channel fossil / thumb
/ blooded / eye / gospel
/ shows / a tired Elliott
/ tune / in the premoment
/ the frantic / public / uninterpreted
/ disappearing in the / grimace
/ here is the way / out
/ a frame of face / a select / action
/ a long stare across / and we forgive
the ones / who bottle / handshakes
/ in a dim room / overdubbed
/ in contradiction / look how
/ Elliott / left to imagination
/ lets / the knife / of himself
/ bloated with pathos / flower out
as soon as he believes / X and Z
/ then just / a soundtrack
/ you enter / Elliott
/ villains / of allotment
/ it seems / what he’s done
/ a rare flash



Jason David Peterson was born and raised in Minnesota.  He received his Masters in English at the University of Wisconsin with an emphasis in creative writing. His poetry has been recognized in the back alleys of literature with scholarships, nominations, and awards in Canada and the U.S.

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