Test Patterns

English: RCA Indian Head Test Card ca. 1940 Ру...

Back when life was as black and white
as the picture on the TV, but I had dreams
like Dali and Van Gogh fevers,
I would wake Saturdays before 7:00,
click on that glass-fronted magical
piece of furniture and stare at the whoooing
salt-and-pepper of its teeny screen’s jumble.

When the Indian Head test pattern appeared,
I knew I was mere minutes from visiting the bears,
dogs and sea serpent I’d waited all week for.
The only colors in the room came from
my dimly lit PJs, imagination, and handfuls
of sugar held together by a baked mash of grain
called breakfast I shoveled dry into my mouth.

These days I wake from dreamless sleep
at 5:00 AM and stare into the hi-def nightmare
of dolorous newscasts that bathe my
already too-gray life with their garish gore,
pied bar charts, and happy-talking hairdos
who paint it all into chiaroscuro philosophies
of right and wrong (or Right and Left).

They shovel all of this by the handfuls,
dry, into a head that would much prefer
the company of time-traveling canines,
pic-a-nic basket-filching bears, and a long green
Plesiosaur (an assumption proved true by color TV)
who would come and save me from all this severe
adulthood when I call, “Help, Cecil, help!”

A post-birthday Old Guy poem. Maybe some of you “seasoned media consumers” will get it.

3 thoughts on “Test Patterns

  1. TV has lost its innocence and, somehow, ‘digital media’ is to blame (sounds like a trailer, or exerpt as we used to call ’em, from a Batman movie, but the Joker got too powerful!). There used to be an air of pioneering adventure about the programmes that interested me in those early days. Everything is now so contrived; every presenter is a diva in the making, full of sensational colour, before they’ve learned their black and white basics; emotion and tears have to be manufactured on a regular basis, supposedly to satisfy a viewing public, who may have been so brainwashed by it all that they’ve lost touch with their true feelings and can only respond in ways that are prescribed by Holly/Bolly/Dollywood.

    Yes, Joe, bring back black and white. We could start with some old B&W movies, ‘Ealing Comedies’ and the like are a good recipe for restoring our faith in humanity and some feeling of innocence.

    ~ A N Other old poet/writer guy

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