He peoples poetry with the people he never met.
He might have found them but they fell into the space
between the table and the wall and when he looked again
someone had swept them away from under his feet and
they were already in the garbage bag on the corner.
He is a television man on the driest channels, he is only visible when
someone turns the knob and turns up the volume and summons him,
on Saturdays you see static, he appears in an office
in TV man clothes and a bow tie that matches right
and he works too rights and he laughs too loud but no one hears because
the volume is turned down.
Sometimes in crowds he gets nervous and he sweats because the laugh tracks
make him nervous. Sometimes,
behind the ozone smell of static in the halfhouses that
TV men populate, he peoples his poetry
with the people he didn’t meet, but he only knows the wrong words
that he stole from history textbooks and office files and scripts and
children’s rhymes, he files them away in lines for another day so that he can
clearly cross-reference the contours of the flavorless syllables and measure the day
when the national audience demoted him to an extra and a flat face and voice
and five lines and a tie that gets shut off when the commercials come on and is
never seen in technicolor in the movies.