Empty Box

Mama used to watch TV.
She looked at a box ev’ry day of the week
And saw Miss Doris Day smiling
All flushed from a shopping spree.

Baba used to watch TV.
He looked at a box to learn how to speak
In English all of the words
In turn he passed on to me.

He said:
“Eyewitness news invasion, up close and personal,
At six o’clock, battlefield roundup, home front hostages,
Live local, innocent, groundbreaking development.”
His voice slowly mimicked Walter Cronkite’s last:
“And that’s the way it is...”

Then the three of us under a blanket on the sofa bed,
We watched Lawrence Welk with the blond-haired couple
Dancing to accordion-man dressed in glitter and white,
White, [as Mr. Welk] “Wunnerful, Wunnerful.”

Baba didn’t like all the dancing or the glitter, All the
“Wunnerful,” terrible twitching blond-hair finished
By those beautiful bubbles, all those “Wunnerful” bubbles
Popped, “Ah-One, Ah-Two,”
When Ma testified against him.

I just wanna watch TV.
I want to escape, to take just a peek
At the world outside my door
But I need a guarantee.

I’m too scared of the terror outside,
Of the terrible flood, of the terrible people.
All the innocent customers
From my Baba in love with the six o’clock news.
All America shooting guns, Baba holding a gun.

Show me a future that’s safe,
That is glitter and white.
That’s not terrible people,
But just glitter and white.
I need a future that’s safe.
I need all glitter and bubbles.

Give me television.

Lyrics © 2005 by Byron Au Yong