Saturday, December 02, 2006

Triolet: Primary Colors

Primary Colors

The blue log burned red, red, red.
No one could stop the bitter purple fumes.
The doctor said the fire was in my head.
The blue log burned red, red, red.
What was it that the yellow doctor said?
“Your brain is mulch where the flower of evil blooms.”
The blue log burned red, red, red.
No one could stop the bitter purple fumes.

The triolet is noticeably easier than a villanelle or pantoum. Yes, there is a nod to Baudelaire, and yes, I know the title repeats the title of the book about Clinton’s first campaign. But that doesn’t mean I can’t use the title.

Today we go to a class on mushrooms. Not the psychedelic kind. I wonder, if it’s in lecture format, whether Kathleen will get much out of it. I hope they have slides.

The big USC vs. UCLA game is on today, one of the few football games I watch. My daughter and I went to UCLA; a cousin played for USC. If my dad were alive, we’d be watching it together and rooting against each other. He’s been gone almost twenty years. That’s hard to imagine.

I’m still depressed but I’m trying not to write about it. Each day is a bleak vista I must fill with something. Everything is “ought to,” nothing is “want to.” And I just can’t turn off the noise in my brain unless I’m doing something, like writing. I haven’t played my guitar in I don’t know how many months; I’ve never gone this long before without playing it. Therein lies a story. I took a blues finger-picking guitar seminar some time back. I left the seminar with one small assignment. I couldn’t face the assignment. Thus I haven’t brought my guitar out. I feel if I do, I will have to master the lesson and will not be able to play freely in my own flat-picking style. Sensitivity to failure? Yes. Hopelessness about success? Yes. And failure and success are essentially equal in my present frame of mind. Depression is so Kafkaesque.

Oh, and never trust a depressive when he says, “I’m trying not to write about it.”

Over and out,

Dr. Chaffin


  1. Dear CE,

    These poems in form come so easily to you don’t they? Like brushing your teeth. I do admire your word power, skill and sheer tenacity. Once you have gripped that first line, clearly, you don’t let go until you have completed a woven masterpiece. I don’t think the same can be said for your free verse. Some of it is quite cluttered. But then, most writers have a clutter file to be sorted into order. I bet your garage is immaculately clean and tidy.

    "Hope all is well."

    I, for one, am getting scared waiting; but the notion of being without a solution is far scarier.

    I tried to add a few more bars to my song but nothing worked. Everything I wrote sounded flat and monotonous. I like catchy, staccato, fulsome, flowing music. I gave up trying to flog a few headless, minor major diminished 7s in C, E, and G because of my persistent pain.

    I would urge you to continue with your music as therapy. Try writing the music on paper first and you will be able to visualize something you may miss from strumming easily attainable chords that mask a zillion other musical combinations.


  2. Didn't know you'd read any of my free verse. As a musician you exceed me formally; I used to be able to write something down after I composed it but no more. I'm a strictly by ear jammer nowadays. I hope you do find a solution. Faith is all in the waiting. Easy to say, hard to live.

  3. Just now prodded your direction by 'inc.'and though I visited fleetingly once before I did not linger over your verse particularly your recent villinelles. It was a good call. I have just 'lingered' & was rewarded by your apt and arresting imagery. Do you find a form gets in your blood a bit and you want to return? Or is it "been there already." The repitition of lines (if they are right in the first place,) has a particular potentency.

  4. Wow - this is one of my favorites I've ever read from you. Maybe you can't play that guitar, but you can still right some arresting and inventive poetry.

    By the way, who won that game?

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  6. Ish--thanks for dropping by. I find form gives me structure when my mood disorder would otherwise preclude an attempt at poetry. But it's true, the more you write, the more automatic the form becomes.

    Twitches, glad you liked this one. Must go see what you're up to. UCLA won!


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