Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of 2008 Reflections as though I could be or am thoughtful at this juncture what with jangly coffee nerves and grand fir needles crunching underfoot, what with receding snow exposing kiwi leaves moldering in their thick leathery manner across the trex deck, what with Chiloquin behind me and two teaching residencies dawning the beginning of next week. Happy new year happy new year and a little panic what with no settling journal writing, no calming balm of alone time. Here I am alone in my writing room for the first time in awhile with piles and piles of papers and books unsorted unput away. In my bedroom are stacks of clean and stacks of dirty clothes. Stacks is an orderly word, a visual that doesn't coincide with the slidey humps that litter the dresser and floor along with the dog bed made of sheets for Julia's dog she leaves with us when she goes out - the undersheet abloom with blackish shapes created by said dog when she chewed open a green tennis ball a few days ago. But who cares about the sheets? Who can make sense of the residency several days past? This is my thirteenth day at home and I have reflected not at all, have done nothing towards making sense of what I did down south. Maybe what I should do is face that daunting task. Step into it. If I keep going I won't stop, if I bite off tiny bits, I'll be able to chew them. Maybe I am not equal to the entire task, but I could talk about one kid on one day, or about one encounter, or about the experience of driving in snow. I can reread my journal pages as I have begun to do. I can drink water to dilute the caffeine. I can cope and move forward.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's snowing everywhere in the world
the entire planet a snowball hurling
and I am warm and dry and typing
and what more do I need than that?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In Ashland in the smallest room at the motorcourt
(I love a motorcourt) I wake to a disappointment of snow
I must have driven home last night in the entire falling
which makes me happy for my trip home (I mean
the motorcourt - we vagabonds bond quickly with place.)
Todays weatherground is peppered with winter weather
advisories all the way back to Chiloquin - not winter
weather warnings that might have stranded me here.
My reaction to Ashland was unexpected. I didn't like
the bookstore, the clothes store, the shoe store. I wanted
to sit quietly and write somewhere and there was music
glaring through the coffeeshop which I emphatically
wanted turned off. I longed for the not-enough of
Chiloquin that throws me back upon myself.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In Which I Copy Lines from Poems from Chiloquin Juniors

I live in the necks of trees
As the trees hide in the mist
My soul is hidden in a willow tree.
Spring rain burns away my listlessness.
You may see my thoughts like fish
swimming underwater.
I am unassailable within the citadel of my mind.
I try to fly, take flight from all
the truculent people in this world.
Pain is always combined with doubt.
Harsh stories as black and cold as night, mean words.
Can you hear me now?
The silence is like a yell being smothered with a pillow.


HEY, wait up! wait UP! WAIT UP!
Posted by Laura Gamache at 12:49 PM

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Poem Draft with Words from Oregonian Daily Crossword Puzzle from 12/8/08

There are kids whose resistance is elfin
and kids who dig in their heels, don't just goof
off but will themselves to fail. Dream of Sega
and think they're Peter Pan or a son of Milne
(who wasn't very happy was he, Christopher
I mean) back to the kid amidst remotes
and vids with earbud dangling, ceder
of any care. He wants to be anywhere but here.
He oscillates on a frequency, with ocelots
perhaps or owls. Is he more alive for eve
than celebration? Musician but no oboe
in that case. I watch the moon, it's out, his noon
and I'm about to go to bed. Is life a detour?
Are we there yet? Plane ticket to the cine,
musical chairs, can he think of other wheres
or is he playing catatonic on a diatonic scale?
He will not say or write or think but placid
sit and never spark the twinkling of a thought
for anyone like me to see for I don't elevate
his dreams, our hearts don't overlap.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Far away in the wilds of the Klamath Basin where the air is so cold, dry and laden with invisible particulate matter from all the old old wood stoves, in particular my old wood stove, I long for home even with its darkness dampness darkness and duties. I have a love/hate relationship with the mail. I have missed the dailiness of mail in the box and the walk up the stairs to the mail in the box. I have not missed flyers and catalogues. I have not missed bills, and I didn't miss paying bills today. Jim phoned them to me and I paid them online, a fragile tether, odd connection to home. I am off to make an imagined map of something like Forgiveness, Longing or Tragedy to show to the ninth graders as a model for sixth period.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Yesterday I revised a poem about Edward Hirsch in which Czeslaw Milosz, Adam Zagajewsky and Zbignew Herbert figure and this morning I see on the siteminder/meister that someone walked through my blog from Prague. That's some major telepathy!

Today, I am heading off up Route 62 to Fort Klamath to visit the organic store and to Wood River and the park beyond that. I packed a lunch (yes Jim, I did), binoculars and sunglasses. I am practicing intention. I love my spontaneity, flexibility, impulsiveness, but this triumvirate has limited my ability to listen to myself and proceed from a stance - this I think is what people talk about when they talk about being centered. I can become centered in the moment, before whooshing off in random directions. This morning I did not go with my impulse to hop in the car and disappear down any highway, but most likely the road to Ashland (HA you thought I would write ruin!)

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Humument, an apology

When I say The Humument is a cool book, I don't want you to get the idea I've read it. I've looked at it as a collection of wonderful images containing words that were on those pages to begin with. Sometimes I read the words on a particular page, sometimes not. I love the confluence of word and image, but image always seems to trump word. My newly former brother in law is a composer who wrote a composition called "Freed From Words" with words floating in it. Separated. Ineffectual as we all feel some mornings when our feet are cold and the fire won't light, the room ahaze with smoke.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What with all the collaging going on at school and home, I had to look again at Tom Phillips's cool altered book, THE HUMUMENT. Above is page 6. I own a copy. This is how I write now. Short declarative sentences. Or phrases.

I was planning to drive to Klamath Falls to meet my friend for dinner tonight, but she called to cancel - she's sick, her daughter is sick and her husband took a student who had a seizure to the ER in Klamath Falls.

What I was not planning to do today was teach. But I did.

A day abloom with personal creative endeavor capped by a night on the town is instead a day at school - well spent I think but still a day away from my own wordplay, and now another evening alone, though an evening I can devote to wordplay if there's any ticking left in my higher functioning.

Making beauty is the argument I can give for why I'm here in town. Let's make beauty. Let's paste colored paper onto white paper, let's write poetry, let's step away from the s(*& that surrounds us. Maybe if all of us do that the s@(# will cease.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Camera left home however miles north and west of here,
though I have the cable to connect it to my computer. sigh.
No photos of my last three weeks in Chiloquin. Today I've
driven to Klamath Falls. Twenty miles north of town I hit
smog, the air inversion, the air stagnation the warning
says will be lifted Saturday. Yesterday it promised Friday
and two days before that it was today. Smog like sparkly
leek soup. Hills invisible. Upper Klamath Lake invisible.
How do the birds breathe? But I must shop and get away
point my yellow beetle north and drive into clear air. Up
at 4 am in tears over what a girl in one of my classes said.
I am so lucky, lucky, lucky, the more I know of these kids
the more I admire them. I will myself to stand with the ones
who speak truth who are truth tellers who point their brave
chins into the facts, focus their sharp eyes and speak and
make art with lives nobody had any right to throw at them.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Go to http://wordsmith.org/anagram/
All the best from,
A manacle harangue aka
harangue a manacle aka
huge almanac area aka
arcane human algae aka
humane arcane gala aka
manage area launch aka
a mean carnage hula aka
Laura Anne Gamache.

Acrostic Poems with Ninth Graders Today!

Lizards view me with slitted eyes
angry red, overheated and lazy
unknown unsung unwittingly
ridiculous floor liers,
acter-outers, resisters
against the gift of possibilities
new though latent in
nether minds brimming with
experience and perhaps love.
Get away from me, they scream,
afraid I will make them think.
Miracle imagination promises
antidote for boredom and dismal
childhoods. We are magicians,
Houdinis drenched but unchained,
each one a scaly multitude.

Monday, December 01, 2008

One benefit of driving eight hours south from Seattle to Chiloquin yesterday is that once I got to Highway 97 the sun was down and the crescent moon was joined by Jupiter and Venus in a clear clear sky all the way south from Highway 58 to the turn off.

Having been home for ten days, it was difficult to adjust to being alone in my little cabin. I ate dinner, read about two chapters of BY GEORGE, got into bed and was asleep before 9pm. The idyllic creative life redoux!

This morning I walked out to the wood shed and retrieved logs and kindling, built my fire and drank my half caf coffee.

Now I sit in the unheated library where there is internet access, but not for long. My right leg has resumed its unhappy cold-twinge, and I can't risk being unable to move at school.