Wednesday, September 1, 2010

silence lies, broken

Silence lies.

Ground Hog’s Day matinee
plays broken record,
third time today, semi-collapsed,
one-eyed skull stares at me
from the TV with the ease
Geraniums, Andrew Wyeth
of a game-show host,
expressions big,
like a silent-movie star.

I lie. Silence is not complete.
Broken by life’s dull rhythm,
the plink-plink playacting
in the greasy dishwater
of a rusted sink,

it is lulled awake
by the self-righteous stench
of a converted sinner, hocking
his snake oil infomercial,
iconic blessed hankies,
fat pink face perspiring
under a bad toupee,

the bolt upright,
perfectly knotted silk-tie
anchor of fresh nightly news,
chiseled chin pulled
to the right, for emphasis.

Full and loud,
from the putty-nose school
of acting, sullen and wild,
silence lies, broken.

Tess Kincaid
September, 2010

This is an entry for The Tenth Daughter of Memory prompt "silence lies broken".


  1. Oh I like this. Except for baseball I almost always resent the broken silence. Most things are just not worth the bother.

  2. snap. way to break one off willow...we have not had tv in years...though we do pick up a few shows on dvd...

  3. It's the reason I tend NOT to watch much television, except PBS and a handful of other channels.
    I would much prefer to stare at your Wyeth painting in total silence.
    Wonderful poetry !

  4. Willow -- I do not mean to sound righteous when I say this but I have not had a TV for about 15 years. My friends tell me I am crazy not to have one. Were my ancestors crazy --no household TV before the 40s. Granted bad news comes and goes and I cannot carry on a conversation about who did that to whoever -- but serenity now reins and I love it. -- barbara

  5. I tend to watch less tv
    but i would not do without it
    I love the news...must stay informed
    I love nature shows...must connect with what I will never be able to see in person
    I love baseball basketball...hometown fan..okay a little of the Bears
    I love Hallmark movies...we need to have a place to go to for happy endings! really!
    I love history...we must remember

    and sometimes I like old tv shows that touch the child in me that remembers good times and decency

  6. I am not TV's biggest fan, as far as game shows and reality programmes go. But I do like comedy and I also like documentaries, on the arts, on books, on science and nature. Thankfully, I am lucky enough to have the BBC - who always produce brilliant quality.

    Your poem was a haunting read. Its solemn message resonates with so many of us. Excellent writing, Willow :)

  7. Were you trying to nap? ("I lie" seems like it has double meaning here) Nothing like a plinking faucet and slimy characters on TV to interrupt that glorious silence. I love it. Excellent images and cadence here.

  8. we had no tv for years - and don't watch a lot now… you have such a way of weaving words together that touch…my favorite line was...the plink-plink playacting
    in the greasy dishwater of a rusted sink - i can almost feel the grease on my hands…amazing

  9. You know we didn't have TV during most of our 4 years remodelling and we didn't even miss it - well I didn't. Now we watch about 30-45 minutes at the end of an evening. Of course with football season starting, this will change for my husband. Ugh.

  10. I don't watch TV like I used seems so hollow, shallow and not much good comes from it. I don't even watch the news...YUK. However, I do love an old movie and would feel deprived if I did not have access to them from time to time.

  11. Willow,
    you,ve hit the nail on the head with this one. Now there's a silence breaker
    if it were up to me we wouldn't have a tv.

  12. Sue, yes, I'm glad you caught the double meaning here with "lie". I thought it worked nicely.

  13. Gosh, what a difficult prompt - I think you have done admirably willow.

  14. A double use of one word...that is amazing and brilliant! I love it Willow! :-)

  15. That was breathtaking...your words are the brush with which you paint pictures in my mind.

    There is one other writer I know who writes with this kind of genius--Woman in a Window.

    You should check out her blog sometime.

  16. A very nice and informative post.... only teasing, All you commie libs without TVs - no wonder your economy is in a mess, Only Suz to trying to prop up the broken Manor society of eyes-shut, word-mincing, hermit scribblers.

    'Silence lies'? Of course it does, it lies by omission - nothing worth having is created in silence. Nothing has ever happened without noise, and plenty of it.

    'Silence lies, broken' And so it should be. A lovely happy ending, eh Suz?

    ps. I haven't owned a TV since 1979. So you can see how I got so screwed-up. Love you all anyway, this great piece made my day Willow, thank you - I could even understand most of it. (in my opinion)

  17. This is brilliant! I love your choice of words and the way you weave them together to create such vivid imagery, especially the snake oil salesman and his bad toupee. Kudos, Willow!

  18. oh.

    achingly beautiful.

    will have to read again. and. again.

  19. Some beautiful language here, Willow--& what an intriguing prompt phrase!

  20. Good luck, Willow. You got one of my votes last time. I won't have a vote this time cos I'm not entering. It might distract me from coming up with a good Magpie! ;-)

  21. great take on tv - do not watch or believe - just about any of it - but, there is always indy racing, foobtball and hockey...and with that i am good to go...oh yes and Antiques Road show....bkm

  22. wonderful willow...

    and now off to see about the ball...


  23. You know... you did tell me you've made it a mission for a poem to win 10thDoM. This one has a shot.

    I'm bereft of TV at the moment. I missing "House" and "Chuck." Nooooooo!

  24. This is wonderful, Willow...and the Wyeth is simply amazing.

  25. Such wonderful images! I've seen these people...

  26. Fantastic lines Willow i do like your style of writing you always seem to go for the mundane,. I like TV so i won't lie but i do love when people use words with double meanings intentionally, you make the read even more interesting.

    Wild Rose~

  27. Veru nice and an excellent blog, I like very much your work.
    Lookin to fotoblog Teuvo images
    and pleace your comment.

    Thank You



  28. One invader
    that can easily
    be silenced. ;-)

  29. Nice. Sometimes it is as if we are tuned to a channel of our own, and TV interrupts. I think it calls for it's own attention, which is often broken by commercials, what do they want from us?

  30. I love the flow of well as the vivid images.

  31. Your poetry has the sting of an
    artist who is restless, who cannot
    just sit and stare and let someone
    else program her thoughts, attention,
    or creative juices. Daytime TV, before
    the great cable explosion of a decade
    or so ago, was a wasteland of soap
    operas and game shows, designed
    to buzz out that dying entity, the
    American stay-at-home housewife.
    But, to be the devil's advocate
    here for a bit, with over 200 channels
    to surf, and 30 movies to view at
    any one time, one can leap from
    CNN and the latest hostage situation
    to The History Channel and find out
    that Germany had shared its plans
    for the atomic bomb and rockets
    with Japan before Fat Man and Little
    Boy changed their tune, to the
    Discovery channel to watch some
    open heart surgery, to Animal Planet
    to see how we and the Critters are
    getting along at present, onto
    National Geographic Channel to
    watch the cinematography on
    "Earth", clicked to Encore's Western
    Channel and watch the last 40
    minutes of SHANE, onto the
    Turner Movie Channel to watch
    part of a Busby Berkeley musical,
    back to BBC America to tape an
    episode of STAR TREK: The Next
    Generation in HD, loving it all over
    again on my new 47" flatscreen,
    over to Starz or watch repeats of
    the dynamic new series, SPARTACUS.

    Then with the images and icons
    whirling wildly in your head,
    you flick it off, sit in the silence,
    and read Sherman Alexie poetry,
    and several chapters of one of
    Cormac MacCarthy's novels,
    and then slip back on lavender
    cyber waves to Willow Manor,
    and find out what Miss Willow
    is up to.

    Yesterday I stood in the deep
    forest at 4,000 feet and discovered
    again that even there, the invigorating
    mountain air revs up your senses,
    and you realize that even silence
    is not silent, ever, inside or out.

  32. Wonderfully creative. The way you can keep such contributions coming, day after day, is something I very much admire.

  33. what Jeff said, good luck to you, i never had any--but i came close a couple times.

  34. You know you might be converting me to poetry. Not a form I like but yours, very evocative and visual.

  35. exquisite.

    ( catching up finally... )

  36. Very nice. I am a fan of TV. For me, it isn't about addiction, watching non-stop, or background noise. It's about access and a service I appreciate. Yes, there is a lot of the game show, infomercial, bad acting clap-trap. But there is also a lot of excellence. I would no more throw out the TV because there is broadcast junk than I would toss out my computer because of spam and Internet litter. Like the Internet, TV broadens my world.

  37. Wow. Wonderful. Echoes of things I've left unsaid. For too go!

  38. I stopped by from 10thDoM. Your writing is amazing. This is a delightful poem, I loved the imagery and the rhythm of it.

  39. I've become the rare fan of true silence these days... Reading my nook instead of turning on my newly installed cable... The sounds of life are soothing like silence to me though, not interruptions... Usually.

  40. the tv provides so much is a wonder anyone can think for themselves these days...much less hear that plink plink...which was a very nice touch.

  41. Interesting changes you have made to the prompt by taking away the capitals and adding the comma. Depending on where you place the comnma,whither goest meaning.

  42. it is lulled awake
    by the self-righteous stench
    of a converted sinner, hocking
    his snake oil infomercial,
    iconic blessed hankies,
    fat pink face perspiring
    under a bad toupee,

    Loved this.

  43. "Sullen and Wild" That alone should make me kill the TV. i don't like being that way, but so addicted.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)