40th Anniversary Feature: NOT WATSON

Sep 25, 2013Archive, Feature

BWR Editor 1981-1982


What is not Watson?  Who? Isn’t he you,
imagining yourself Watson? Watson,
Alexander Graham Bell said, come here,
I want you. So the telephone was born,

and telemarketers calling strangers
at what they no doubt know is dinnertime,
Watson sitting down to his chop, cornbread,
English peas, beets—you can almost taste it,

almost hear the stupid phone ring and ring:
Is this Mr. Watson? a voice would say,
hustling long distance, frequent flier miles,
subscriptions, credit cards embossed Watson.

Oh, they know him well, his movements, habits,
passions, anxieties—they’re stalking him
like sick fans trying to break through the wall
all stars need so they can just be themselves.

I want you, Watson hears from everyone,
want the smile on your face, heart on your sleeve,
time on your hands, shirt off your back, come here,
give me what I want, all I lack, Watson!


Michael Pettit’s most recent books are Artists of New Mexico Traditions: The National Heritage Fellows (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2012) and Riding for the Brand (University of Oklahoma Press), which won the New Mexico Book Award for Best Southwest History. His documentary video, Living Traditions, premiered at the 2012 Santa Fe Film Festival.


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