Charles Harper Webb

Pictures We Hate
by Charles Harper Webb

Cash-strapped in China,
where they want
more white faces
on TV, Meg
stands in shorts
and chef’s hat, stirring
chicken in a wok.
“MSG! MSG!
Good for you! Good
for me,” she squeaks,
totally (viewers
can’t hear,
of course) off key.

Spread-eagled
on a pale blue floor
accessorized
with mirrors, posters,
and photos
of open windows
that make it seem
he’s spidering up
a wall, Steve’s
stomach looks
ready to explode
and splooch his guts
all over his black
Spandex body-suit.

Home
for Christmas, I’m 19,
coaxing out my first
goatee. A baubled fir
gleams in the room
I’m careering through,
just after hearing
on my bedroom phone
the up-till-then love-
of-my-life intone
her intention to date
“other men.” “Big
smile!” I’m sure
whoever took this

cheered.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 4.

Charles Harper Webb’s latest book, Brain Camp, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2015. A Million MFAs Are Not Enough, a book of essays on contemporary American poetry, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2016. Recipient of grants from the Whiting and Guggenheim foundations, Webb teaches Creative Writing at California State University, Long Beach.

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