To The Right

In America, we drive on the right side of the road.  Also, people here generally walk on the right side of the sidewalk, busy hiking trails, even grocery store isles. When I walk along the trails around a nearby lake, I keep to the right side of the path.  If I have the trail to myself, I walk right down the middle as if I owned the place.

What is your neighborhood like during the pandemic? Where I am I have noticed giving another pedestrian 6 feet is seen as a courtesy; in the grocery store, offices, parks, etc., keeping your distance is a sign of good manners. It is awkward or rude if a person stands too close to another. Feathers get ruffled.

Earlier this year, before the snowpack in the mountains could build and the rains of the Northwest La Nina winter began, Padden Gorge Trail was dry and quiet. The creek was all but dried up. The cold air chased away many birds and I experienced the eerie sensation of standing in a silent forest.

To The Right
second draft

The woods are quiet today
I do not hear the rustle of a bird
no wind playing at the leaves
no foraging of a rodent
or the panting of a dog
Padden Creek is down to its
late summer trickle
Everything is off

My ears reach for the sound of people
at the lake trail on end with mine
I hear no one
I haven’t been sleeping lately
For a moment I am dream walking
zombified in this quiet wood
with no direction, no purpose
No others to use as a reference
or provide a sense of direction
No validation of movement
or placement

I walk down the canyon trail in silence.
surrounded by silence

Then–they find me
The crunching roar of off-road bike tires
approach me from behind
I move to the right
The joggers with focused steps
and controlled pants
I move to the right
Two dogs and two owners
come at me head-on
I move to the right
Facedown each time to make sure
my breath does not mix with theirs
Behind me I hear the steps of another walker
I move to the right
I’m a slow walker compared to others
I know this walker will pass me
I wait
no walker
Then turn to look
No one

There are two places on these trails
where the sound tricks the ear
My own steps sound like another
getting ready to pass
but it is just me
and my steps
echoing off the walls
of the thick forest

How nice of me to give the same
courtesy I give others
unknowingly
yet, still as sweet

A Noisey Padden Creek

Feature Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

Day 279: Confessions of a Sus

I play Among Us.  My name is “poptart”.  You may wonder why a 52 year old woman would want to play a real-time murder mystery set on a space ship with the prepubescent of our population,  but you’ve no need, I will tell you why I do it.  I’ve entered a very specific time in my life where I gain great satisfaction defeating children in games of deceit and strategy.  Today, however, those raggamuffins booted me out of two games in less than 30 minutes.   Don’t they have better things to do like Google history homework answers or something? I crashed on Pink’s argument that she couldn’t be the killer because “I’m only 8.”  If she’s 8, then I’m 8.  Ridiculous argument!  That pink flower in your hair only makes you more creepy, PINK!

It is 6:30 p.m. as I begin to write and I want it to be 6:30 a.m. tomorrow.  At that time I will have things to do: wake up, catch the days headlines, take a shower, have breakfast, get dressed then go to work.  When I’m at work I’ll have even MORE things to do.  Between now and tomorrow I have TWELVE hours to do something with.  At least 8 hours of that can be used for sleeping.  During COVID I’ve tested my sleeping abilities AKA: time travel.  I can fast forward about 3-5 hours at a time with an elongated blink of an eye …which is really what sleep is, one long blink. Rarely can I make it more than 12 hours in one undisturbed lay-down.  The longest since March is a good, very nice and needed 10 hours in bed.  Sleeping when bored is the highlight and delete of unwanted hours.  The “>>2x” button on your Blueray.  

What the heck will I do for 12 hours?

I started one adult task; reading a self-help book, “The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child” by Nancy Newton Verrier. 

The Primal Wound is a book which is revolutionizing the way we think about adoption. In its application of information about pre- and perinatal psychology, attachment, bonding, and loss, it clarifies the effects of separation from the birth mother on adopted children. In addition, it gives those children, whose pain has long been unacknowledged or misunderstood, validation for their feelings, as well as explanations for their behavior. Since its original publication in 1993, The Primal Wound has become a classic in adoption literature and is considered the adoptees’ bible. The insight which is brought to the experiences of abandonment and loss will contribute not only to the healing of adoptees, adoptive families, and birth parents, but will bring understanding and encouragement to anyone who has ever felt abandoned.

A friend loaned me the book.  We are both adopted children. The book helps you work through the emotional trauma of abandonment all adoptees experience.  She recommends it highly. It will be a tough read.  About 10 minutes in I begin to cry a little. 

The sun set at 4:21pm today.  I should have gone for a walk, but I didn’t. 

Tomorrow will be a better day.

‘effin Pink

Disposal

The other day at work I had the unusual job of sorting through donated Christmas decorations.  The donations came from the husband of a woman that supported the organization. She, unfortunately, passed away over the summer.  The widower was now in a convalescent center. A friend of his helped him collect their old Christmas decorations and deliver them to us to be donated to families in our housing program.  It was shared that this gesture of giving was in honor of her love for Christmas and desire to help others. Very kind.

Late Friday afternoon I set up a staging table to sort through the five boxes of decorations, dividing them up into containers for delivery later that day. Some items were in better shape than others. With each item I wondered, perhaps, it held a special place in someone’s heart and memory. These were precious to someone at one time.

A couple of times I felt myself getting spooked out by it, I’ll be honest. However, reason dominated the afternoon.  Decorations are not HOLY items that require special handling.  They are not Mezuzah’s for example; old or broken Mezuzahs MUST NOT be thrown away but buried.

“Even though it is the scroll that is the mitzvah, the case also becomes holy because it is used for a Mitzvah. Therefore the case should be brought to a genizah – that is a place where holy items are brought to be buried in the Jewish cemetery.”

The embroidered caricature ornaments of Mr. and Mrs. Clause or a broken snowglobe with a water-bubbled Frosty, arms full of presents, do not require special disposal like sacred communion wine and baptismal water.  Leftover blessed communion wine and the vessels used for serving MUST be washed in a sink that empties out into the ground.

“A piscina is a shallow basin placed near the altar of a church, or else in the vestry or sacristy, used for washing the communion vessels. The sacrarium is the drain itself. Anglicans usually refer to the basin, calling it a piscina. For Roman Catholic’s sacrarium is a “special sink used for the reverent disposal of sacred substances. This sink has a cover, a basin, and a special pipe and drain that empty directly into the earth, rather than into the sewer system”

Religion fascinates me.  All these different rules, detailed rules, stifling rules, people make up for the brand distinction.  Of course, at the root of many religious rules is the respect for the object and what it represents, such as the Word of God or the Blood of Christ.  So, how do you categorize a ripped 1978 cross-stitched fabric wall banner of a geriatric man with fancy cherry-red lips proclaiming  “HO! HO! HO!” that hung on a wall 23 days a year for 42 years?  CAN it be thrown away, in the trash, to the landfill?  Why yes it can—and it does.

The newsletter for Peninsula Sanitary Service, Inc (PSSI) and the Stanford Recycling Center located in Redwood City, CA, USA, reported Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage or about 1 million extra tons per week!

PSSI and SRC suggest some rules: reduce, reuse.  

If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet. If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.

It is a delight for all non-profits to receive donations of any size shape and configuration. After going full circle in my thoughts I was happy that this family decided to donate their Christmas decorations to less fortunate families.  Standing over my staging table, I wondered at the stuff, so much stuff. I sorted through each shoebox, bag, and large plastic containers of Christmas ribbon and plastic snowflakes, Christmas candleholders, Christmas ornaments made of glass, plastic, ceramic, tinsel and yarn, Christmas tree toppers, Christmas banners, tree garland, Christmas wreaths for the table and front door, Christmas votives and Christmas coffee cups.  Whoever wanted a bag of evenly distributed items, they was ready.  I tossed out the few old and broken and passed forward future memory makers.

Here are some 2020 ornaments that caught my attention. Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas! Hope you are safe, warm, and bubbled up with folks you can tolerate.

Did he ever imagine while in medical school THIS would happen?
There are MANY like this, but the description -lol! “Commemorative 2020 Flickering Dumpster Fire Ornament – Limited Edition Christmas Gift
F-Bombs? YES! I dropped many of these throughout the year and well, the last four years TBH.
No thanks, I hate it.
RGB remembered
This year is not a shining star, and I don’t want to forget it. 2021 is a steep hill for countries, cities, towns, neighborhoods, and families to climb. We will never be ‘normal’ again. This year changed the world because it changed people, challenged us, hurt us all over. Let’s build something great from the ashes & rubble.

*******

Sources
https://mezuzahstore.com/blogs/mezuzah-blog/2719082-how-to-dispose-of-a-mezuzah-case

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piscina

https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-holiday-waste-prevention

https://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/AccidentallyPerfect/19122711/_f_bomb_2020_holiday_ornament

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54878910

Boo’s Tail

https://gf.me/u/zb8xpt

I started a Go Fund Me for my daughter.
My daughter, Hannah, called me Monday to say her cat Boo broke or dislocated her tail. Her two cats were wrestling in the living room and her new kitty got hurt. Hannah sent me a video of her cat where the tail has a bump at the top, and it points straight down. It used to fly like a flag! That kitties tail is over a foot long and pretty fluffy. My daughter is super upset because the vet wants to see the cat right away. However, the accident happened at a bad time for them and me.

Click on the link and you’ll fall in love with this sweet kitty like we have. Please consider a gift of any size towards the vet visit and fixing this tail. From my heart, thank you.

This is how Boo started her life. (below) She had a terrible eye infection that eventually claimed her right eye. She was found alone.  She was fostered through SCRAPS (Spokane Animal Protective Services) and my daughter adopted her in August 2020.
Boo is a rescue kitty.  Adopted at 4 months old. Now she is fluffy and nice.  My daughter says, “We LOVE Boo!  She has a playful spirit and brings so much joy to our home.  She was wrestling with our older cat Spooky when her tail broke. 
We are very worried about our little kitty.” 
In her own words…
“My name is Boo and I was born alone in this world sick and broken, but through the kindness of strangers, I have been able to recover and live my best kitty life. Up until now, that is. I love living life to the fullest but I overdid it playing with my big bro and now my tail is hurt. I use to raise that tail up sky-high every day but what I once loved is now in pain. Mom wants to help get me back onto the path to recovery so I can continue forward conquering all life has to offer, but she needs a little help with the vet bill. Big bro used up all the funds this last two months with his abscess and now I need help too! Would you be willing to give a helping paw toward a one-eyed cutie like me? Requesting $400 to cover a 2 view x-ray, clinic visit, tax, and any additional medication. Having a hurt tail means I could have incurred nerve damage. This is the first visit to diagnose what happened.”
This is me (givin’ the razz) and my daughter, Hannah, cabin camping with the family
a few years back

TY TAEM!

I’m very excited to have a small collection of my poems published in The Abstract Elephant Magazine this month. It’s such a beautiful magazine with an ideal mission. Please visit it sometime soon.

The Abstract Elephant Magazine is an interdisciplinary, digital publication dedicated to understanding the issues of the human condition through the arts, the sciences, and philosophy. This magazine began with the intention to create a space for comparative endeavors and interdisciplinary research since our basic belief is that improvement in the human condition takes place in open dialogue and debate.”

Check out my work here: https://abstractelephant.com/2020/11/23/before-after-poems-quarantine-covid-19-shannon-laws/

Thank you!

Photo by Tim Oun on Unsplash

Day 230: No Place to Lament

But O For the Touch of a Vanished Hand, 1888, Walter Langley. In 1882, Langley settled in Newlyn, Cornwall. The subjects of his paintings were typically Cornish fishermen and their families. The title is taken from the Tennyson poem ‘Break Break Break’.

As you may know, I often record a rough draft of a poem on my phone when inspiration strikes. This morning I revisited some of my recordings from the year. I’d like to offer the original recording and the poem (draft) that came from it.

This recording touched me. I forgot about this day and I’m thankful I took the time to hit record. Please note that I use a hands-free phone system in the car.
This recording was made in a safe & legal manner.

No Place to Lament

August 20, 2020, day 157 of the U.S. Pandemic

Yesterday I thought I was going to have a meltdown
an honest to goodness meltdown
I needed to cry
to have a good cry

Every so often I need to do this

There are times when the weight of my world is felt
When the lack of things I need is noticed
and I want to cry
a good cry
Not just any kind of cry
but a true wailing
Where my face becomes a waterfall
I transcend to trance
Weighted emotions leave your body
through the antenna of outstretched arms
Become a blubbery mess of emotion prepared to
exclaim at the pinnacle of a moment
Poised with a justified invocation, complaint, request,
expression of confidence, and vow of praise
to the Lord That Fixes Everything!

The when is now
the place…
I do not have

At my apartment
a neighbor would hear and complain
In my car
eyes blurred by tears cannot see the road
At work
Security cameras capturing me
beating my chest could cost me my job
“She’s unstable. She must be replaced”
In the woods
If I cry out, alone to moan, and
demand justice, preach to the trees—
no, a hiker will come by
call the police reporting,
“There is a woman in the woods who sounds
like she’s being beaten! Protect us!”

So, I do not lament
I keep it inside,
except…

sometimes, at night
a little lament leaks
out my eyes
onto the pillow
quietly
softly
and no one is
none the wiser

###

Today is day 230 of the lockdown in Washington State. Thank you for the likes and for continuing to reach out.
–keep creative,
Shannon

Poetry Club Talks…Bukowski

Photo credit Jaredd Craig, on unsplash

NEW! NEW! NEW!
Poetry Club is here for three reasons, to increase the understanding and appreciation of poetry, illustrate healthy communication between people of different opinions, and promote the creation of new poetry clubs in your neighborhood.

Since October 2015 we have been meeting in local coffee shops in our city, Bellingham, Washington. It started when four of us took Ron’s “Introduction of Poetry” class at a local community college. We enjoyed it so much we asked Ron if he would like to continue the discussion in a casual atmosphere. Currently, we are about 5-7 people who meet every Saturday online. Every week we discuss the work of a different poet, classical to contemporary.

Thank you for listening, participating, and for loving poetry.

Contact us via our Facebook page– https://www.facebook.com/Poetryclubbellingham

S1E1 Poetry Club Talks Charles Bukowshki

Poet: Charles Bukowski, b.1920- d.1994
Hosted: Shannon 
Book: What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, Published June 1st, 2002 by Ecco Press (first published June 5th, 1999), Paperback, 416 pages
ISBN: 1574231057 (ISBN13: 9781574231052)
Poems Discussed: The Mice, The 12 Hour Night, and a video feature available here: Tom Waits reads Nirvana by Charles Bukowski  https://youtu.be/W-vdPkESLZs

Podcast Recorded: October 10, 2020

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Thank you Cirque Journal

Reviewing my submissions and acceptances for 2020 tonight and holy moly I forgot about a publication in the 20th issue of Cirque Journal! Such a beautiful PNW Rim magazine.

Cirque brings together the finest literary and artistic talent from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.

Cirque was founded in 2009 by Anchorage poet Mike Burwell. Cirque, published in Anchorage, Alaska, is a regional journal created to share the best writing in the region with the rest of the world. This regional literary journal invites emerging and established writers living in the North Pacific Rim—Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Yukon Territory, Alberta, British Columbia, and Chukotka.

Cirque #20 celebrates 10 years in print. It’s a large issue of 175 pages. We are glad you will be part of it.

Sandra Kleven
CIRQUE

Read the current issue below. I’m on page 74, but check out the whole issue. Good stuff ALL! https://cirquejournal.com/

Photo by Dave Herring on Unsplash

The Showbear Family Circus

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Thank you The Showbear Family Circus ( http://lanceschaubert.org/ ) Lancelot Schaubert’s and Tara Schaubert’s liberal arts circus, for including my poems, Crab, Grandmas Closet, and The Bog in your November 2, 2020 edition.

Your website stimulates the senses. Selected articles, short stories, poems, words jump off the page! I love this philosophy you have…

We want to focus on the liberal arts philosophy because we hope to reorder common ways magazines and readers think about news, scientific research, creative writing, and art reviews. We want all of the work shared at the Showbear Circus to focus not on money, power, lauds, or pleasure but on whether the thing made, the thought reasoned, and the feeling felt are good and beautiful and true. 

You can find my poems in the November 2nd edition on the main page and here:

http://lanceschaubert.org/2020/11/02/crab/

http://lanceschaubert.org/2020/11/02/grandmas-closet/

http://lanceschaubert.org/2020/11/02/the-bog/


Truly an honor.
Thank you,
SPL

Poem: Tide Out

Tide Out

The sail that leans on the light of dusk
Gives subtle shade to the port side
Lady Spider works hard in the cool shadow
Knitting at the rail corners
She bounces about her web
Forming it into the perfect triangle

The window sits still

Fathomless shades of grey and green churn
Over and over foamy lips spray the air with
A violent kiss
Kisses
More kisses than
My eye can count

The ancient war between
Obsession and responsibility
Will never finish
Spider on boats
A Northern winter wind
A broken heart at sea
Waiting for a fresh light
That follows a storm

#

I found this poem in my folder from 2012. Riding a Ferry was a regular part of my life years back. Approaching the winter months I am reminded of those days, going to work or taking the ferry to visit friends, family, or going on a trek to Costco, when the weather was stormin’. I LOVED it! The ferry captains and crew are amazing! When the boat is rolling and you get knocked out of a booth but you’re still above water–that is a good day.

This evening I’m feeling this spider that inspired the poem. It was building a web outside in the window frame of a Washington State Ferry. A bit of a surprise to discover. That takes serious vision and risk.

##


video credits at sites

Lightening and ferry boat ~ Friday Harbor San Juan Islands Wa
Saved by Irene Pomerinke