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  • Jimmy Broccoli

An Unplugged TV with a Remote Glued to the Nightstand

On the motel bed are a few grocery bags filled with what is left of my life –

I’ve checked into a big-city downtown room – and the view is beautiful –

out my window to the courtyard - it’s a lot of concrete – a couple of hookers hanging out – and a meth addict beginning his evening –

it’s better than being beaten with a belt…


I sip on my soda – it’s in a can

– I sit at the room’s desk (there is no motel stationary)

and compose a letter to my father –

to tell him I’m doing okay and starting over –

he’ll probably never read it, but I’ll send it to him anyway –

he hasn’t thought about me in years, I’m sure –

and it’s totally okay – I lick the envelope closed and put it on the desk to mail tomorrow


I grab another soda from the mini-fridge – it keeps them cool (at perfect temperature) –

I don’t drink alcohol because alcohol would hit me repeatedly with very real fists –

- and it knocked me against walls (I’d bounce off them when hit hard enough)

he would punch me when he was drinking – and it happened all the time –

I don’t drink alcohol – I’ll have a soda – or tap water –

that’s totally okay – and thank you for offering, but no


I look around me…


There is an unplugged TV and a remote glued to the nightstand…

and it is paradise – with the motel’s street sign flashing neon in my window repeatedly at night – and I don’t mind –

the hookers say hello to me when I’m writing poetry in the concrete motel courtyard –

they’re sweet on me ‘cause they know I won’t hurt them –

there is a lot of power in that…

knowing you can spend time with someone who won’t hurt you


In my plastic bags are a few changes of clothes, a couple of pairs of underwear and socks –

my dignity and newly awakened sense of self-preservation -

a dull raiser with an extra blade, a bar of soap – a toothbrush –

and a paperback novel…and my unfinished poems.


I look around me…


There is an unplugged TV and a remote glued to the nightstand…

and I’m okay with that

and the wallpaper reminds me of my mother

I smile at the peeling roosters and apples

– they’ve had better days –

but I haven’t –

I’m not being knocked in the head with a glass object –

so today is turning out okay –

I celebrate the peeling roosters and apples


The polished and silver sports car –

The expensive evenings drinking out of crystal goblets -

it’s all stuff – it’s all material –

– and the friends who were his and only his

– evenings of worrying if I’d make it out alive –

bruises everywhere (only where you can’t see them) –

who cares about the sports car?

– none of it really matters – it really doesn’t


I look around me…

an unplugged TV and a remote glued to the nightstand –

I smile because it’s (unexpectantly) perfect


and it’s mine


I plug in the unplugged TV – and it works –

I, out loud, cheer the luxury –

Oh, my goodness (!)…I haven’t seen this show in forever – and I love it

- as I sit on the bed next to my plastic bags – and I watch the show

it’s hysterical and I laugh the entire 30 minutes

(it’s The Big Bang Theory on some network that repeats the episodes) -

one of my new hooker friends knocks on the door –

“I’m fine – I’m more than fine”, I tell her,

as the TV blares behind me

– she snaps her gum and looks back at me quizzically -

“Okay, baby – as long as you is alright” –

(I think we’re becoming good friends)


I have a plugged in TV and a remote glued to the nightstand –

and I have tomorrow – and the next day – and days after that –

to be here – to be me – to rebuild –

to rebuild – to learn to be me –

as me.


Tomorrow, I’ll shower and dress and walk to the government building a few blocks away to survive until I can do it on my own –


So, life can begin again


So, life can begin again


…I have a working television and a remote glued to the nightstand –


and I’m suddenly beginning to understand what it is to be happy


Photo: Jimmy Broccoli reading S.c. Wynne's, "Surviving Love".



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