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poetry Watching CNN Without Sound in the Hotel Lobby Bar

Watching night news, Poet Kelly R. Samuels suggests it’s so much formula, it might even be robotic.

Watching CNN without Sound in the Hotel Lobby Bar

By Kelly R. Samuels

All the gestures matter more and how their lips move. How the one

sort of adjusts himself in his seat and takes the stance of debate—

tired of listening, wanting to speak. There’s four and then three

and then two, briefly, and then someone far, far away with a scarf

artfully wrapped around her neck using her hands to emphasize.

Behind her, it’s dark and there’s only one dim light in the distance

and even from where I’m at, I can tell it’s hot where she is and that

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makeup is a useless thing. Back in the studio, their faces are so

caked it’s as if I could reach forward and scrape the foundation

off like I did that horrid wallpaper in my apartment on Porter.

Their eyes are all too blue and their hair unnaturally vibrant while

they comment on this particular invasion and its ramifications. Or

so I understand from the feed that keeps repeating itself. Flash—to

this moment, here. Flash—to this one, now. And then we’re back

to a circle and the one and then the other, and how if you look

long enough you start to imagine they’re not even human.

Kelly R. Samuels is the author of a full-length poetry collection on climate change, All the Time in the World (Kelsay Books), as well as two chapbooks, Words Some of Us Rarely Use and Zeena/Zenobia Speaks. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee with work appearing in The Massachusetts Review, RHINO, Court Green, The Tusculum Review, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. She lives in the Upper Midwest.