Woke up too tired this morning. Running helped a lot. Windy and cooler. Starting at 8:15, there are lots of cars. Such a crowded parkway! A few runners, some bikers, at least 2 roller skiers. Listened to an audio book up above, the water coming out of the sewer below. At the first pipe, it was a quiet, steady stream. At the second, a little louder and faster. Thought about my breathing and locking it into a rhythm that would keep me steady. 1 2 3/45 up hill and 5 4 3/21 down hill then 1234/5678 Slowly, I’ve been working on poems that mimic my breathing while swimming and running.
This morning I read an essay by Jericho Brown in which he describes his invention of the duplex form. He writes:
I decided to call the form a duplex because something about its repetition and its couplets made me feel like it was a house with two addresses. It is, indeed, a mutt of a form as so many of us in this nation are only now empowered to live fully in all of our identities. I wanted to highlight the trouble of a wall between us who live within a single structure. What happens when that wall is up and what happens when we tear it down? How will we live together? Will we kill each other? Can we be more careful?
At the end of the essay, he lists the rules of the form:
Write a ghazal that is also a sonnet that is also a blues poem of 14 lines, giving each line 9 to 11 syllables.
The first line is echoed in the last line.
The second line of the poem should change our impression of the first line in an unexpected way.
The second line is echoed and becomes the third line.
The fourth line of the poem should change our impression of the third line in an unexpected way.
This continues until the penultimate line becomes the first line of the couplet that leads to the final (and first) line.
For the variations of repeated lines, it is useful to think of the a a’ b scheme of the blues form.
And here’s an example from his latest book, The Tradition:
DUPLEX (I BEGIN WITH LOVE)
I begin with love, hoping to end there.
I don’t want to leave a messy corpse.
I don’t want to leave a messy corpse Full of medicines that turn in the sun.
Some of my medicines turn in the sun.
Some of us don’t need hell to be good.
Those who need least, need hell to be good. What are the symptoms of your sickness?
Here is one symptom of my sickness:
Men who love me are men who miss me.
Men who leave me are men who miss me In the dream where I am an island.
In the dream where I am an island,
I grow green with hope. I’d like to end there.