Saturday, November 18, 2006

Villanelle: On Television

On Television

I watch the television; it watches me.
Eye to eye, the contest isn’t fair.
The TV has more personality.

We are a symbiotic entity.
It feeds my brains electrons while I stare.
I watch the television; it watches me

When plots pile up into redundancy
I still take pleasure in the clothes and hair.
The TV has more personality.

The TV can’t induce passivity;
It seeks to rivet me with violent fare.
I watch the television; it watches me

I know the tube is not reality
But can you blame me if I prefer it there?
The TV has more personality.

In my depression I must praise TV.
It grants a respite from my long nightmare.
I watch the television; it watches me.
The TV has more personality.

The final default setting for a depressive is television, I think. As Homer Simpson said, “How can you not like television? It asks so little and gives so much.” In my depressions it is a drug, like alcohol. Once the anxieties of the day are over, I can settle into my bed and watch re-runs of Law and Order for hours. And now with NetFlix, we are able to watch re-runs of series I’ve already seen, like Six Feet Under. There is more comfort in a re-run, I think, since you know some of what is going to happen, and the reduced surprise leads to reduced stress. And there’s always the clothes and the hair to watch, as Sam Waterston in Law and Order sometimes gets a bad haircut. Last night Kathleen opined that he was showing his age; I replied that he just turned 65.

When I get out of this depression for good, my blog may change or appear less often, because my need to blog will be reduced by my participation in reality. Speaking of which, I turned in my book review for the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday and the editor pronounced it “good.” I was not beyond feeling a little better for that compliment, which argues that I am not in the deep kilorats of depression. To have real positive feelings inside my chest would take a further revolution in my neurochemistry. But it was good that I was not entirely immune to the feeling.

Other happy items are Kathleen’s continuing hip and disk pain, and Kenyon’s bad wheel. Without medical insurance I feel helpless to help Kathleen. But some days are better than others. Yes, as the brother of Father Zossima in The Brothers Karamazov said, “You are responsible to everyone for everything.” Despite my interest in Russian mysticism, that saying strikes me as an intolerable burden, though when my mood has been better I have seen great wisdom in the saying. It’s a shame that depression influences even the meaning I extract from my favorite books. Which makes TV all the more attractive.

Thanks to Jennifer Danner for sending me a photo of a true kilobunny. I tried to put the image in here but it wouldn't take.

At 2 Kilorats,



  1. I like this villanelle very much, it made me smile despite my killer of a sore throat.

  2. CE, you definitely have more personality than any television, and your villanelle proves it.

    As for (in a previous post) "I'm committed for November. In December I plan to switch to pantoums" - you're going to write a pantoum every day for a month!? That sounds impossible! Are you sure?

  3. cool tv poem, wrote one myself recently...

    I quite like the fact you use tv as a release, were as I find it makes me worse, the sheer mindlessness of it pushes me deeper into depression.

    horses for courses as they say :)

    were as a good fantasy or SF book will give me escapism...

  4. Thanks, Sorlil.

    Thanks, Rob. I've never even written a pantoum, but it looks challenging. As long as it keeps my mind off myself for a moment, I'll be satisfied.

    Incon-- your depressions must be of a different kind; TV is a comfort to me, the very mindlessness of it, when I'm sick.


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