Poem: Mid-December
Overheard Conversation & Inspiration

TV Room Epigrams


TV Room Epigrams

after Bernadette Mayer

I am the VCR

Unused, undusted,





Over there the Smart TV,

A giant phone, it

Bristles with apps.

Only one in the family

Speaks its language

With fluency.

The other two

congratulate each other

when they arrive at

PBS Passport

in one try.




I am the chair,

Recovered, but

Stained afresh

By blueberries.

Still watching TV,

Appraised at practically


But spared from donation.




Here is the coffee table,

Home to too many books

And half-finished projects,

Hosting winter boots

On the lower level

Where they shed

Their grit





I am the charging station,

Currently charging the air

Or trying to,

Because your cellphone

Is in your purse

And you ignore electricity.


I’ve been reading Bernadette Mayer’s poetry collection Scarlet Tanager (New Directions, 2005), and was tickled by the section “Toy Epigrams.” (No online link is available for the written version, but you can hear her read them at PennSound, the fabulous archive of poets’ recordings.) That was my inspiration to write these “TV Room Epigrams” in the place where I also have my office, such as it is. An icy day and cancelled plans gave me a chance to read and, consequently, write.

The Poetry Friday roundup for January 7th will take place at the blog Beyond LiteracyLink.

Photo by ST. Queens, New York, 2021.


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I love the voices from your TV room!

Many thanks, Ruth! This was fun to work on. To me, work like Mayer’s says, “You can write about anything you want!”

What a great poetic exploration, Susan. I feel like I get to know the people who live in this place as each object tells a little bit about itself.

Thanks, Laura. Reading those Bernadette Mayer poems about her kids' old toys, I looked around the room and thought, "Here's a poem!"

Tee hee. Love these. They each have such sassy voices.

All I had to do was listen. Thanks for stopping by, Linda.

Heee! Thank you for many smiles as I listened to the voices of your room. Here, too, there is a lot of inappropriately shed grit to deal with. Congrats on arriving *anywhere* in one try!

Susan, what a fun and creative post. Voices pop out from your TV room reminding me that inanimate objects are great prompts for poems. I love the first one because it is so reminiscent of an electronic from the past.

Heidi and Carol, thanks so much for stopping by! I almost feel sorry for the VCR; it looks lonely. :) Isn't it amazing how quickly these pieces of once very advanced technology become outdated?

So clever! I'll never look at my phone charger quite the same way again. :)

Ha! The phone charger in our TV room is quite judgmental. Thanks, Bridget.

Both the VCR and TV made me laugh out loud! What a fun challenge! I'll be listening for voices around my office now!

They tell more from those POVs than one could ever imagine! Fun to read and funny!

Mary Lee and Linda, I do highly recommend listening to your office appliances; they are likely to spill some secrets. :)

Ha! Some of these objects are like spies, telling us what's really going on. Hmm. I wonder what the objects in my house would say.

Janice, exactly! I'm enjoying Bernadette Mayer's book, which inspired this way of looking around the room.

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