Contents | September 2003

More on poetry from The Atlantic Monthly.

The Atlantic Monthly | September 2003

by John Updike
As if it were a tap I turn it on,
not hot or cold but tepid infotainment,
and out it gushes, sparkling evidence
of conflict, misery, concupiscence
let loose on little leashes, in remissions
of eager advertising that envisions
on our behalf the better life contingent
upon some buy, some needful acquisition.

A sleek car takes a curve in purring rain,
a bone-white beach plays host to lotioned skin,
a diaper soothes a graying beauty's frown,
an unguent eases sedentary pain,
false teeth are brightened, beer enhances fun,
and rinsed hair hurls its tint across the screen:
these spurts of light are drunk in by my brain,
which sickens quickly, till it thirst again.

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John Updike is the author of more than fifty books. His most recent include Seek My Face (2002), a novel, and Americana and Other Poems (2001).
Copyright © 2003 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; September 2003; TV; Volume 292, No. 2; 104.