Splash Down

As a humanist and space enthusiast, my emotions are split over today’s headlines. America has solved the problem of being reliant on Russia for the transportation of their space cargo, but they still haven’t figured out how to increase the odds of customers being able to walk out of a Walmart alive.

On the afternoon of August 3, 2019, 20 people walked into an El Paseo Walmart and were shot. The shooting has been described as the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern American history.  Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old also from Texas, was arrested soon after the shooting and later charged with capital murder.  The FBI claim evidence confirmed the shooter is a white supremacist, anti-immigrant, and declared the incident a hate crime and domestic terrorism.

2019 was a big year for mass shootings.  According to the Gun Violence Archive, there were more than 370 mass shootings in the US in 2019, with mass shooting defined as any incident in which four or more people, not including the shooter, were shot but not necessarily killed. That’s an average of about eight mass shootings a week.

We seem to be in an age where the world takes two steps forward, and on another front, travels five steps back.  Round and round it goes.  How wonderful it is when a group of minds is focused on a scientific endeavor. Reshaping the space industry in one move–the successful splashdown yesterday in the Gulf of Mexico!  WOW!  It should feel like a great victory for us all.  Yet there is a shadow hanging over it.  It is not unlike a child sitting behind the steering wheel of the family car pretending to drive, and the parent scolds, “You’re not old enough for this yet.”

A diagram of Crew Dragon’s return to Earth.SpaceX/Twitter, 2020
PERSONAL PANDEMIC UPDATE

On the home front, starting in August I’m returning to the office for 20 hours a week.  After working from home for SIX MONTHS I am quietly entering back into a semi-regular work week.  Whatcom County is expected to go to Phase 3 of the Washington State reopening plan this month.  If you think the lockdown was tough, get ready for the bridge era of returning to work before the vaccine!

Managing foot traffic and cleaning stations throughout a 3 story building is a challenge.  It took our reopening team 3-4 months to put together a detailed plan.   There will be new etiquettes for people working or entering a compartmentalized office building.  There are so many new areas to consider that go beyond the typical janitorial maintenance, such as air quality and airflow, surface protection, body temperature reading stations, instructions of what to do if a positive COVID individual is reported, etc. This is a different challenge than what restaurants or grocery stores are dealing with.  Honestly, it’s exhausting to think about.
Well, If Space X can go into orbit and return two astronauts safely, then I guess we can do this!  *takes a deep breath*  Here we go…

Have a good day-
SPL

 

 


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019_El_Paso_shooting

https://www.inverse.com/innovation/spacex-falcon-9-stunning-images

https://www.vox.com/2019/11/18/20970841/duncan-oklahoma-walmart-shooting-gun-violence

Poem: Good Neighbor at Midnight

Good Neighbor at Midnight

By Shannon P. Laws

 

Must muffle your voice

orgasmic or sorrow

Do not disturb your neighbor
Do not worry your children
asleep down the hall

keep it in

Do not let any know the
parameters of your character
the highs and lows of what
makes your eyes tear

The new corners discovered
within your mind are too loud

 

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Event: WWU Erotic Poetry Night

3950_eroticpoetrynight_poster

 

You are invited to Erotic Poetry Night

April 16th 7-9 p.m.

@ The Underground Coffeehouse, WWU, Bellingham, WA

 

What is Erotic Poetry Night?  The Associated Students Sexual Awareness Center on the campus of Western Washington University hosts this popular event.  Basically it is a poetry reading laced  with “safe sex” PSA’s.  I had the opportunity to share some poems at the event about two years ago and it was standing room only, with students hovering in the hallways listening to every syllable.  If you want an attentive audience, then work your way onto this stage!

Why I’m going this year:  a few weeks ago I was at an afternoon party and a guy who looked like he may be in his 50’s stated, “Kids these days just don’t have sex. Not like WE had back then.  AIDS scares them into staying virgins.”  Say what? It’s important to point out that this person also has two daughters in college.

As parents we can  keep our heads in the sand or realize that WHEN our children do have sex, perhaps during their first time away from home, places like the Sexual Awareness Center “empowers students to make safe and informed choices about sexuality and sexual health by providing a safe space for all students”

I’m excited to be back.  Below is one of the poems I’ll be sharing.  Come on down and support the effort—but get there early if you want a seat.

To learn more: http://as.wwu.edu/sac/

 

Discovery

He touched me
He touched me
The way
I wanted him to
The way
I wished he would
He read my mind
And he touched me

His fingers moved along the ridges
Of my galaxy in search of the ignition:

old crate of dynamite
hidden in the shed
sweats with glycerin
delicate to movement
so my love is for you

drop that box! start a bang!
kick start a star to life

use all fingers to read
me as a mystery novel
written in Braille
every bump, knob and dip
a conjunction closer to knowing
the riddle of Eve

you are a book
that must be read.
you are a question
that must be answered

 

-SPL

 

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Poetry: Sailing

Letting go
to me means
RELAXING
Do not stress
procrastinate
prolong
ignore
Let go of the tither
untie the boat
sail for open water
face temptations
fears of drowning
false beliefs
that await me
in the waves
Swells will
rock me
stars will
guide me
breeze will
cool me
Once the smell
of earth is gone
a seagull
will appear
marking the moment
my limits are
discovered

*A poem written during a poetry class 
March 2013