I just finished up a 20+ page portfolio for my creative writing class. Probably spent too way too many hours pulling it all together, but I had to free up all the head space certain characters had consumed in the last few months. I made the mistake of peeking back at it today only to find a slew of spelling errors and typos. But hey. Content’s what matters, right? Looking back through my writing, the same themes kept surfacing again and again. Bouquets, white walls, the word sea (not ocean), froth, and invisible walls. What a strange journey back my mind.
Our professor (the best) typed up an assignment/in class worksheet almost every day, so I never looked at the syllabus. But yesterday, in my happy happy purge of paper after submitting the portfolio, I came across the syllabus again, wrinkled and stained with something brown (hopefully tea). This time I acutally read it and found…..something GOOD.
A quote from Richard Hugo:
You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.
Than I read up about Hugo (1923-1982). He was a dark dude who slunk around backwater Montana (this might be everywhere in Montana) writing poems about people and places that might otherwise have been forgotten. His subjects are isolated, failing, and trapped in “boredom and rage.” But Michael Allen notes, “there is also a pervading sense of optimism, of an uplifting hope,” in his poems, as Hugo puts it, “that humanity will always survive civilization.”
His poems remind me of the open spaces and gaps I had tried to convey all semester. Not sure if I was successful, but Hugo definitely was.
Here’s one of my favorites. Indulge in the escape of the open road if you can today! Over and out. It’s Wednesday Slumpday.
The day is a woman who loves you. Open.
Deer drink close to the road and magpies
spray from your car. Miles from any town
your radio comes in strong, unlikely
Mozart from Belgrade, rock and roll
from Butte. Whatever the next number,
you want to hear it. Never has your Buick
found this forward a gear. Even
the tuna salad in Reedpoint is good.
Towns arrive ahead of imagined schedule.
Absorakee at one. Or arrive so late—
Silesia at nine—you recreate the day.
Where did you stop along the road
and have fun? Was there a runaway horse?
Did you park at that house, the one
alone in a void of grain, white with green
trim and red fence, where you know you lived
once? You remembered the ringing creek,
the soft brown forms of far off bison.
You must have stayed hours, then drove on.
In the motel you know you’d never seen it before.
Tomorrow will open again, the sky wide
as the mouth of a wild girl, friable
clouds you lose yourself to. You are lost
in miles of land without people, without
one fear of being found, in the dash
of rabbits, soar of antelope, swirl
merge and clatter of streams.
Check out Tau Zero for more great Montana landscapes.