That is not a television screen
You are watching but a mirror –
I think, unwillingly
Setting with the evening,
Searching for mindless passivity in the TV
After another day falling over new words
Like my tongue is a toddler learning to walk.
But flickering through the channels
Nightly, I see the mute brigade:
Tall, blonde, acolytes
Paraded out in single-file
Like jets in formation
And walking like they’re missing
Collars tight around their necks
In clothes barely stitched past idea.
An Italian TV trope so common
They have only their own noun.
Clearly, they’re not meant to be people
But to the audience this must be palatable,
Because I watch with my foreign eyes
In silence, waiting for an outcry.
These are not women, stripped –
But nameless, lifeless beauties;
Tottering blow-up dolls, rolled out like vellum
Flanking the liver spots of the Hefner presenter.
A blinking apostate, reflecting in the glass.
The room bathes in grey, grainy beams
Of an arriving fantasy, fifty years too late.
Is this Venus and Cleopatra reincarnate?
My English sensibilities, glaring
Like silver chewing gum foil
In the Mediterranean sun;
My dropped jaw, culturally dislocated.