Day 65: One Hundred Million Suns

“What the wise do in the beginning, fools do in the end.”  Warren Buffett

Guessing by the news last week, Whatcom County will be asked to shelter in place another month.  I didn’t think we had it that bad.  Of the 1055 deaths in our state, Whatcom has experienced only 36.  Today the total death count for the US is 99,624 according to google search CORVID-19 alert page.  In March, I heard the scientist estimating the deaths nationwide could reach 250,000.  That’s not too many, right? Please let me out!  …I must be in the negotiating stages of grief now.

It’s 8:10 in the morning here.  A neighbor is having problems with their smoke alarm.  Each of our apartments has two.  I believe both were going off at one point.  I’ve had a morning like that.  Poor neighbor.  These alarms are set off by smoke not heat, typically triggered by cooking.  What I learned is to quickly grab a bathroom towel and rotate it like a helicopter blade under the smoke detector, turn on ALL the fans, open ALL the windows, even the door if you have to.  It’s the quickest way.  Whoever they are, they’ve been at it for 20 minutes now.  Sounds like they don’t know the towel trick.

In the back of my mind, I realize it could really be a fire.  Oil in the pan, a candle on a blanket, electrical… how fast would this building burn?  Let’s see 23 units, built in 1976, so its 44 years old.  Does that mean it will burn faster or slower?  What would I grab?

Last winter I thought about grabbing everything I own and leaving America.  I was (and still am) so discouraged by our country’s leaders I wanted to become an expat and relocate to Mexico, Spain, Cuba, even South Korea, anywhere but the United States.   Alarms in the distance warning us of trouble.  Complacency argues the trouble is “over there”, it hasn’t reached my door stoop yet, I’m fine, I’m safe.  Apathy says what are the chances it’s a real fire? Who cares? Everythings fine.  Laziness tells me pour yourself another cup of coffee, get back into bed and turn on Netflix.

Logic (not to be confused with Loki) tells me, it is not a fire.  Not anymore.  Listen.  The beeping is reduced to one alarm, and it corresponds with the low rumble of a large diesel truck, possibly 2 blocks over working on the road.  A new breezeway trail is being constructed through a field of blackberries. The fire alarms I heard over a half-hour ago have morphed into a backhoe going forward and backward clearing the sticky stubbornness.  A symphony of sound composed by the neighborhood this morning!  A lesson embedded of course, as all lessons are if we listen close enough.  The lesson I hear is to be ready for an emergency, be thankful, for what you have could be gone in less than 30 minutes, but primarily–when the tone changes the source has too.

**

I want to share this poem from my book “Fallen” 2017.

Another God

by Shannon Laws

I cannot sleep
next to you
The porch light
on the other side
of the curtains
tricks me awake

You look frozen on a canvas,
painted in oils by a master,
shadows lightly brush your shape

I study the back of your head
your ear lobe
a quiet beating vein
the hairline along the neck

There’s a frame of freckles
below the shoulder blade
They look like Orion poised
with bow, arrow aimed upward

I am not your Merope taken by blind force
I am Andromeda, wrists wrapped in iron
ready for monsters to decide loves fate

Gods visit the sheets of women
a vacation from eternity
Taste the finite in the kiss,
wipe their mouths with times mist

I will lose you as I lost others

Tonight your constellation glows in porch light,
while I dream of everything I cannot have

**

Here is my mood expressed by meme.

 


https://sanjuanislander.com/news-articles/government-news/state/31146/san-juan-county-qualifies-for-a-waiver-to-skip-ahead-to-phase-2-under-new-criteria

Day 27: Not Normal

If it wasn’t for the news I could believe this was a normal day in April.  

The sun is lower now, a quick glance at the clock and confirm 5:11 p.m. Most families will be off the trail, heading home for dinner.  It’s a good time for a walk around the lake.  

Coming up and around the southern end of the trail, I see them.  Hundreds of young thistles standing like soldiers, their singular three-pointed leaf faces worship the bright lake. It isn’t the dark moggy brown water it sees, but the sun.  The sun lights the surface of the lake white, tricks the young and I ask myself, “Does it matter? ”

A murder of four walks towards me, “Children there’s a person.  Put your masks on…” A bike races between us without ringing its bell.  It’s OK, we all saw it coming. The family shuttles pass, the bike zooms away and once again I am alone with the trees and the wide path.  I could sing, no one could hear me—the woods are that thick, but I don’t. 

Sitting at the west side park bench I notice the date on the dedication plaque installed squarely in the ground.  Dedicated to a gentleman born a month before my birthday, exactly, but died in 2002. I wonder, “What was I doing in 2002?” My mind is blank.  All I can think about are the ducks on the lake. Where are their nests?  

A chuckle of college kids is at the beach laughing at death.  Their loud vapor spreading voices travel across the water for the whole park to hear.  That is what still water does. All of these people at the lake, trying to be safe while getting some fresh air and this loud pack acting like its a normal day.  

 

My mood illustrated in meme.  -Be well, Shannon

 

Collect Your Favorites

Own a track from the album “What’s Up Magazine” calls

“…a standout…” recording, and “…passionate and sensual poetry that greatly display the fiery passion of being in love and the cold controlled demeanor of finding yourself in the off times

 

15 Tracks $1.00 each
or the whole album $7.99

 

Poem: Another God

bed-space

Another God

by Shannon Laws

I cannot sleep
next to you
The porch light
on the other side
of the curtains
tricks me awake

You look frozen on a canvas,
painted in oils by a master,
shadows lightly brush your shape

I study the back of your head
your ear lobe
a quiet beating vein
the hairline along the neck

There’s a frame of freckles
below the shoulder blade
They look like Orion poised
with bow, arrow aimed upward

I am not your Merope taken by blind force
I am Andromeda, wrists wrapped in iron
ready for monsters to decide loves fate

Gods visit the sheets of women
a vacation from eternity
Taste the finite in the kiss,
wipe their mouths with times mist

I will lose you as I lost others

Tonight your constellation glows in porch light,
while I dream of everything I cannot have

 


orion
Orion in the night sky. The second constellation I learned as a kid after the Big Dipper. It gives me comfort to find these two in the same night, then I know I’m home.

 

Note:

Merope [mer-uh-pee]  was the daughter of Dionysus’s son Oenopion, king of Chios; Orion fell in love with her, and Oenopion refused to give her up, instead having him blinded. Orion regained his sight and sought vengeance, but was killed by Artemis, or by a scorpion, or by some other means (one of many versions of the story).