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April 26: The Wheels on the Bus

Yesterday afternoon, while I was cleaning the horse pen, the line from the song “the wheels on the bus go around and around,” popped into my head. This line was followed by the line “but the bus has no wheels.” I continued to build on this phrase, and finally concluded that I had a poem. I ran up to the cabin, grabbed a few sheets of paper, sat down at the table, and began writing. I did not remove my coat or hat. I wrote several drafts.

I was then somewhat pleased with what I’d written. It then occurred to me that photos would complement the poem. I

grabbed my camera bag and headed down the road, with the intention of taking some more bus photos. I got lucky access-wise. The roadside berm was solid, as was most of the snowpack in front of the bus. I sunk to my knees in a several places, but did not, like before, get stuck. Nor did I drop my camera, which I foolishly had in hand.

I took several photos inside and outside the bus. On the walk home, I re-examined my histograms. Most were pretty good. I then realized that both my bus photos and bus poem could stand alone, but that the relationship between the two was synergistic.

I went back inside, rewrote the poem a few more times, and then camera rawed and Photoshopped my images. After, I went to photography class and shared my poems and photos with my teacher and fellow students. What I did not say was that I know that I have a lot to learn. But this semester, I have learned a lot.

My buying a camera and taking a photography class has opened closed doors. I was reluctant to get into photography because I figured that this would take time away from writing. Amazingly, the opposite has happened. Rather than have doors close, doors have opened. Images have been triggers for words and words have been triggers for images. I have, without knowing it, taken the ideas of Richard Hugo, the writer of Triggering Town, a step further. I now have even more to write about. This dispatch is an example. My artistic interest is slowly coming to the forefront of my consciousness. I’m not interested in portraiture or wildlife photography. I most like taking photos of where people have been, and then in writing, speculating about this.

If there were awards for such things, I would, this semester, get the one for “Most improved.” I began the semester knowing nothing about how my camera worked. Some days then became an exercise in frustration. I often set it aside, saying to myself that I should stick with writing. And there was Photoshop. But like a moth drawn to light, I returned to it, and resumed problem solving.

The semester’s coming to a close – I’m soon to lose the structure and deadlines that go hand-in-hand with taking a course. Of course, there will be the day-to-day dispatch deadlines. This will keep me going until another course materializes.


Token Gesture

The wheels on the bus
no longer go round and round
because the bus has no wheels.
And the horn on the bus
no longer goes beep, beep, beep
because the bus has no horn.
I sit in the driver’s seat
and read a crumbling newspaper.
It’s as if time has stopped,
Circa, 1963. Kennedy shot
Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated--
The world is in mourning.
A passing neighbor waves,
and I yell out to her that Kennedy’s dead.
She replies, “that’s old news.”
I shrug, push on the rusted gas pedal,
and move on.

Next: 140. 4/27/12: Idiocracy