Our Favorite Programs That We Can’t Watch

John Buckley and Martin Ott

 

Mom hates Devastator Island’s cool gore, and pops

us when we pretend to be Captain Carnage at church.

 

“Professor X is a gimp,” Freddy taunts my idol

on the day that I try to melt his Pokemon cards

 

with heat vision, not Dad’s Marlboro lighter

like that doofus school rent-a-cop claims.

 

We search the girls' locker room for signs

of alien transformation like we learn from Mitsu

 

Star, our bootleg anime stashed in our bedrooms

on random weeks like terrorist cells on America's

 

Most Hunted. Our Koran is Urotsukidoji: Legend

of the Overfiend, and we bend down to memories

 

of its probing limbs in the bathroom. Uncle Kenny

says when drunk that he and Dad had to survive

 

with diagonal boobies on the encrypted adult channel.

Grandpa swears the rotating channel listings contain

 

cryptic messages of the Rapture every seventh viewing,

but we distract him with virile cowboys and sad wives

 

on the Mexican soaps, and he screams for bullets

like he did in ‘Nam. QVC sometimes sells rabbit

 

vibrators when we sneak down for midnight grub,

and we worry about the fate of animals in small cages.

 

One network showed an edited Cheech and Chong movie.

We didn’t get it, but our old, forbidden babysitter said

 

they’re real funny. We learn to scan neighbors' windows,

department store TVs and phone screens for the terrible

 

and tasty. Our own show is being filmed right now, caught

in wide eyes and shaking lenses, a lethargic alien armada

 

slapping tentacles at our adventures as we sneak through

the cracks, behind the scenes, away from parents’ screams.

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790