Sunday, July 23, 2006

Back on the Bus but not in the Back

Below, the next poem in the second section of Sine Wave. I wrote this in 1999 on a Grayhound Bus in 1999 heading to Toledo, Ohio from Moorhead, MN., in the pre-dawn.

On the Bus II (Ohio: Dawn)

A mist lies over the lake
like a blanket of visible breath
outside my tinted window
and a line of inky clouds
spells something in dabs and blots
along the orange horizon.

To the west, monotonous clumps
of monochrome trees are ruled
by undifferentiated blue.
Metallically foul, though pure,
the smell of a skunk seeps through.
I find it strangely addictive.

Somewhere along this stream
beavers slap mud on sticks,
waiting for ice to form.
Where is the emperor
with his hundred-year-old cricket
to explain these sleeping faces?

A water tower looms,
its hydrocephalic head
perched on a steel stem
like a rigid pollywog.
And I am a talking fish
in search of a species with ears.
I must see to the heart of things
whether you do or not.

(published in the Adirondack Review

I incidentally entered the ms. in two contests last month--contests that charge you money, of course, which always makes me suspicious that it might be a scam. One contest used my entry fee to allow me to pick one of their publications. And there, to my surprise, was a book by a winner of the contest who was my former student. So ordered her book.

Maybe I teach better than I write.

Other good news: "The Deprivathon" was accepted by a venerable old e-zine that antedated Melic and continues. I'll reveal the name when alle ist in ordnung. Of the ten zines I queried, only this one responded to me in less than ten weeks. Maybe others dread telling me how much my work sucks. Maybe I'm on the cusp, made the first cut. Damned by faint praise? Maybe they're lazy and like to publish their friends. Maybe nothing, something, it's all possible in the wacky world of writers.

I've also got a poem coming out in the Philadelphia Enquirer Book Review today, so if any of you live back east and can get me a copy and mail it to my address, I'd be much obliged.

C. E. Chaffin
P.O. Box 2436
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

I think I mentioned my essay in the Redwood Review? (Local literary mag.) Niederngasse took another love poem from me. What else? Just waiting for feedback by editors who have not answered.

My mood is holding.

Saw a special on my spirit guide, the raven, tonight. In one sequence a lady's pet raven actually hopped into the front of her car and turned off the ignition. They steal from eagles and live forty years. I've wanted a raven for a long time, I think I'll look into it. I want him to say stupid things so I don't look as much the jerk. He'll improve my social standing. My feathery, abrasive mouthpiece--I'll turn you into the Don Rickles of ravens and we shall all live to forget it.

I have poems on ravens, maybe tomorrow.

Love to all who have been through this horror with me. Each day I can feel hope I know I am not in the clutches of Demon Melancholy--though he still seems just outside the door at this juncture. Can't afford to be overconfident.

Thine in hoped-for humility,



  1. Hi CE,

    Congrats on your publication in today's Philadelphia Inquirer:

    Paradigms By C.E. Chaffin.

    Super poem.

    I live in the east, but not near Philly, so won't get that paper anywhere.

    Maybe you're as good a poet as a teacher.


  2. Thanks, Rus (One of the most unselfish people I've met on the literary internet)

    I owe the publication to another generous soul, Chris O'Carroll, who mentioned my name to the editor. You go, Chris!

  3. Thanks, Rus (One of the most unselfish people I've met on the literary internet)

    I owe the publication to another generous soul, Chris O'Carroll, who mentioned my name to the editor. You go, Chris!

  4. Hello... dang Blogger.. I had trouble with it this morning too.

    Yea... I wondered about the friends thing... :-) Or maybe, I am just not that good. Oh well.

    Long trip yestery, so I am tired and moody.

  5. ah...congratulations on the deserving~~~


    I have a friend who considers the wolf to be her spirit guide ....I think mine, would be the panther...if we have a say in those things...can't wait to read the raven poems~


  6. I forgot to thank Frank Wilson, the editor who took a shine to my work. Very nice man. His link on the margin here is "Books, Inq." He posts a lot of good contemporary literary links.


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