Fame Digger Follies of 2003

In the American Empire
(circa 2003)
there was a popular public spectacle.

No gore and slashing
of bone and flesh,
but of self, of dignity.

It was a reality burlesque by
Just Folks
willing to take a pie in the ego
for a few minutes of tv fame.

(Joe Millionaire, Fear Factor,
Survivor, Bachelorette…)

In these contests, these competitions,
winning took second place
for the watchers,
who were waiting, intent,
for rushing emotions to careen and crash,
spilling tears and gritted teeth
across the screen.

And the tears always came.
And the teeth inevitably gnashed.

As backs were metaphorically stabbed.
As dreams got sucker-punched.
As pain was shown big and bold.
As fear was proclaimed to all.
As greed and lust found their public place.
As losers stared into the spotlight.

* * *

And when the spectators’ lust was sated,
and they themselves unscathed,
they went about their lives again,
muscled-up to face their own
little humiliations and heartbreaks.

Harry W. Yeatts Jr.