a q u i e t e v e n i n g a t h o m e
R O B E R T K E N D A L L
Again the fatherly hour lays its hand on the thighs
of millions and the airwaves fill with significant glances.
The sheer earnestness falls open a moment, a seductive
glimpse of shapely smile, and Tom Peter Dan
slips us into tragedy's bedroom. When the shades go down,
he's on hand to whisper in the severed ear.
The anchormanly moment will not go unseized.
The bombs throb, the bullets sway, and the fatherly hand
moves further up the leg. The vignette burns to the ground.
It has no choice with such pity aimed right at its head.
Tom Peter Dan's finger is on the trigger, while the fatherly hand
is God knows where by now.
But what really makes the World News go round, Tom Peter Dan,
with its toxic crimson sunsets on every horizon?
You may save a table for two with a view of the colors reflected
in the flood waters, the hopeless cry may roam the ear
in confusion until you set it to music, there may be
no evading the value-added heaven you levy on every death . . .
yet the poignant voice-over, that limousine to the best feelings . . .
who keeps it filled with high-octane prurience?
Show a little gratitude to the viewing-class stiff
who got you where you are today. We know the heart is always
loaded and you have your eye to the sight.
So point the thing our way, Tom Peter Dan, and we'll call it even.
Let us sigh tellingly with your mikes in place and pathos rolling.
Lay your coverage upon our scrawny sorrows
that they may be saved.
Yes, Tom Peter Dan, you know how
to play the big numbers: those leading tragic indicators
on the Wall Street of despair. Oh, say an insider prayer for me,
Tom Peter Dan, in the luminous language of the land between the commercials.
Help me enter into the House of the Collapsing Walls
where no one needs an exclusive live
glimpse up the burning skirt.