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Poetry: Charles Simic
by: Charles Simic
Millions were dead; everybody was innocent.
I stayed in my room. The President
Spoke of war as of a magic love potion.
My eyes were opened in astonishment.
In a mirror my face appeared to me
Like a twice-canceled postage stamp.
I lived well, but life was awful.
there were so many soldiers that day,
So many refugees crowding the roads.
Naturally, they all vanished
With a touch of the hand.
History licked the corners of its bloody mouth.
On the pay channel, a man and a woman
Were trading hungry kisses and tearing off
Each other's clothes while I looked on
With the sound off and the room dark
Except for the screen where the color
Had too much red in it, too much pink.
In the first stanza we see a person possibly watching the news were millions of people are dying. Where Simic says 'everybody was innocent. I stayed in my room.' he seems to be implying that this person in the room wants to remain ignorant and innocent of the horrific events that are happening. This is later supported with his astonished face. He is frightened of these soldiers and refugees and what they bring so he swiftly 'changes the channel'. The way Simic describes this person changing the channel is almost god-like. This person makes everything vanish by just the touch of his hand. He seems to be raised higher than these soldiers and refugees when most Americans deem soldiers to be the highest honor a person may receive. When this person switches channels, he changes from a dreary and colorless war scene to a passionate romance scene. This change is so fast it is almost disgusting how many people disregard what is really going on in the world. These people, like this man, chooses to remain ignorant of the frightening events by switching to a more hopeful setting that is full of life and color.