(original monologue transcribed from a taped stream of consciousness recording circa 1993 — tanka and edits 2018)
He sits, his gaze fixed on a field of screens, monitors, and gages, the images thereon spelling out some mosaic of the truth a single station could never contain. Each bare act is captured in its moment of conception, only slightly delayed though still relatable to the present. The waiting game is vigorously adhered to here. The trick they’ve discovered to shaping the now is to rig the game by censoring channels determined to be detrimental to the desired outcome of the advertisers. There never were enough screens anyway.
Most of the really great performances were wiped-out during the first revolt against fiction in television. I though, was fortunate enough to see Gone with the Wind before it went the way of most other Hollywood-era celluloid extravaganzas. Now we sit together, him and me, and a thousand other faithful in the radiant glow of the present. The ebb and flow of life, and right behind it, behind the screens, a thousand cameras of 21st-century design, remote controlled sensory organs sampling what’s left of reality.
He never saw Gone with the Wind or Star Wars for that matter but he was saying just the other day that he now understands what I was trying to tell him. He had just taken a trip to the war room where they were featuring documentaries on the Fourth World War, the Vietnam War, the Second World War, the Korean War, and the ongoing Canadian/US Border conflict. I had just finished a three-day visit to the garden screens where I mainly concentrated on watching cacti and mums bloom in real time. I was quite excited about the extraordinary resolution obtained with the new screens so I didn’t really care whether he understood or not.
you left footprints in the sand
but the waves came
and washed them away . . .
now I chant the ancient hymns
and follow close behind you