Hello Again & Election Predictions

Hello, I’m back.  Did I miss anything?

On August 8th I took my blog down while I submitted a collection of poems to publishers for a chapbook publication.  I’m happy to report a lovely digital magazine picked it up.  Well, not the whole collection as submitted.  They selected 6 of the 23 poems in the book, (What is that…about 26% of the book?) –and no hard copies, just published online.  Not exactly what I wanted but it turns out it was extremely helpful.  I believe they helped me identify the strongest poems in the collection and exposed the fact that the collection is not complete.

Smoke from wildfires obscure the Space Needle and the Seattle skyline on September 12, 2020 in Seattle. (Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

The collection is a story arc of a blue-collar factory worker’s life before and after the lockdown.  What does a body do during a pandemic?  Working-class folks equate moving constantly with productivity.   Stay home? Stay safe?  Arrghhh!  My character starts to slow down and become hyperaware of all kinds of stuff.  They consider the cruelty of placing plants in pots,  wonder what the air in other homes smells like, and face the agonizing reality of apartment living with a neighbor that uses a very loud blender. This character’s journey is not complete.  I believe it is just beginning.

The working title was a bit complex.  I found the word “Desultor.”  Desultor is a circus performer that bounces and flips from one horse to the next.  It was a nod to the Five Horses of the Apocalypse and us regular-folk trying to keep our feet steady, while wave after wave of crappy stuff happens.  I’m not going to use that title, so if you want it, go for it.  🙂

Remembering the Time RBG Put Stephen Colbert Through His Paces, and Her Gym Routine, on Late Show, 2018. RIP RBG (link below)

September has arrived.  Did you sense a change?  A shift in the air is swarming over my city.  Children going back to school, kind of, and this extra bit of anxiety begins to hover as we all compete on Comcast for fast internet.  Thank goodness for 5G right?  ‘Effers.  Interesting it rolled out at the first of the year don’t you think?  Although I love a good conspiracy, EVERYTHING feels like a false front to me these days. It’s even difficult to watch my man Colbert.  The Trump jokes sting a bit.  Somehow, it’s no longer funny that our leader is a rage-induced baffoon.

In my work life more people are physically coming into each other’s space trying to do various jobs that demand physical attention, such as getting a building open and compliant to Phase 2 and 3 of the State regulated guidelines.  It is like an awkward ballet.  Social weirdness and outburst of anger are witnessed.  It will take a while for us to learn how to dance with each other again.

2020 Housing Bubble & Market Crash

I was keeping myself up to date on this anticipated housing bubble burst and market crash prediction, expected to hit within the next 3-9 months.  Anyways, I stumbled across this wild video, that I need to share with someone, anyone.

Dr Sulabh Jain of Chariot Palmistry, http://www.chariotpalmistry.com , is an Indian-Australian gentleman who predicts political and stock market trends using the art of Indian Palm Reading.  Wow.  I did not know this was a thing.  I will gently leave this video here and let you decide what to make of his predictions.

I’m glad to be back writing online again.  Working through the Pandemic has been stressful.  I’m showing serious signs of fatigue.  A great book fell into my lap.  I’m reading a book by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, a trauma social worker and educator, called “Trauma Stewardship”.  If you are a caregiver in ANY compacity I highly recommend it.

Take care.  Sending you hugs this day. -Shannon

 

 

 


Photo credit: https://www.vulture.com/2020/09/ruth-bader-ginsburg-puts-colbert-through-her-gym-routine.html

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky

 

Day 62: Arguing with Myself

Shower Thoughts from Twitter: If we saw souls instead of bodies, our definition of beauty perfection and our world would be so different.

It’s been a few days.  The days between entries of this Pandemic 2020 Journal have larger spaces between them.  But I am still here, do not worry my five followers, do not worry.

I’m going to break one of the rules I had going into all this–DO NOT EVER appear to be bragging or complaining about work.  OK?  Alright, here we go…  Before going into the shelter in place I was working 56 hours a week, and I still am. (!!) Somehow, the stars lined up and I am in a beautiful Pacific Northwest medium-sized town of 90,000 people, not too dense, not too county, a college town, full of brilliant people of every spectrum; SO brilliant in fact our local labs developed COVID tests, AND BOTH of my jobs are considered essential.  Considering the employment stress I’ve been through the last eight years…well I mean the last twelve years (…well I could go farther back but let’s keep going…)  *clears throat*
Considering all the stress I’ve been through over the last eight years I was relieved.  Relieved is an understatement.  So, I tell you the truth–if both jobs had let me go, and if I had to wait 30 days for my unemployment, I would need the food bank.  I would be next-level-stressed.  In February I had about one month’s worth of bill money and food reserves.  I was working on a savings plan after the holidays. A plan that included saving for a small condo before I’m 60, and a simple vacation for myself this October. It might still happen.  Who knows. A girls gotta dream…

photo credit: bandsintown.com, Firefly, featuring Nels Andrews, 2019

It’s so scary for so many, too many, homes right now, not to mention small businesses.  The Firefly, a popular music bar in town, announced this week on Facebook that they decided to close its doors. Very sad.  Here is my question: will freakin’ big chain companies come in and gobble up the “for sale, foreclosure” retail space in the brick and mortar of cities across the country?  I hope not.  Back in the ’80s, a new law was passed about the gas station’s gas storage tanks.  -true story-  You see there used to be ma and pa gas stations.  Yep.  This new law required an upgrade to those massive underground storage tanks.  However, little if no funding was offered to assist.  This was so expensive to switch out, almost all of the privately-owned gas stations closed and the big names, ARCO, SHELL, CHEVRON, scooped up those ideal corner lots for themselves.  Sons o’ bitches.  I like and support local & small businesses. How will this pandemic change the face of our cities and towns?

CHANGE

I decided to re-pierce the second set of piercings in my ears to mark the change I’ve personally experienced through the pandemic.  I closed them years ago and plan to re-open them at home with a well-sanitized needle.  I’ve already ordered the gold loops.  I never wear gold, but these small loops feel like enough of a sacrifice for my needs.  I NEED a visual reminder of these months.  I feel I must “mark” this change, like how an irregular ring of a tree marks a drought, flood, volcano, or perhaps stunning growth. A scar is demanded!

Crud, it’s a trend! Women Are Leaning In And Loving Their Gray Hair Like Never Before, Huffington Post, April 2020

I’ve changed of course.  My whole body along with a questionable romantic future of any kind.  Most 50-year-old men scoop up the daddy issue filled 35-year-olds that can give them a baby.  50-year-old single men seldom want another 50-year-old woman, so fuck them.  (This attitude will suffice for a few more years so leave me alone…)  Last summer I shaved my head.  It was time to rediscover my natural hair color.  I jumped in, why not.  It’s been six months since my last cut.  Today I have four inches of salt n’ pepper. Then, without warning, menopause snuck in through the cat door.  The hot flashes seem to have stopped, but the hormone imbalance hit me like a ton of bricks, well about 60 pounds of bricks to be exact.  Fuckin’ change.  Life is full of it!

Entering the third month of sheltering in place I am a changed person; physically, spiritually.  Also, I acquired new skills.  (the fun continues) I know how to host a zoom meeting, attend a zoom meeting, how to adjust the lighting in my home for a zoom meeting, and sit with proper posture for two hours to hide a double chin or my loss of interest. I know how to walk a new tenant through a lease signing remotely, how to turn over a family shelter with a turnaround team while social distancing.  I learned I had the computer power to remote into my office platform and create the two weekly and one monthly publications.  I’ve learned how to change the freakin’ battery in a cordless mouse.  I’ve learned to listen to people around me and differentiate between regular panic and pandemic panic.  I give grace and space to both.  I’m on the road about four times a week.  Driving is new.  More bikes, more foggy heads, drivers go too fast, too slow.  A friend use to say, Stay Alert, Stay Alive!  It’s true.  Very true.

**

So here is the new poem I shared this week at Poetry Club: Pandemic Edition.

Can of AIR
by Shannon Laws

The apartment is 500 square feet.
The smells in my 500 square feet are important to me.
I judge my cleanliness which is equal to my humanity by its smells.
It is mid-May, and it is noticeably missing any hint of lavender or vanilla.
Instead, the fragrance of fresh dirt in the newly potted house plants,
and the body oils embedded in the couch fabric touch my nose.
The bathroom smells like soap, shampoo, and Lysol as I want it to.

Does everyone know what air smells like? Good clean fresh air?
No, not everyone, everywhere.
Maybe air has no smell so the perfect canister of “air” should be
filled with nothing.
But that doesn’t work either.

If you buy air you want it to be better air than what you are currently smelling.
New and improved air.
The illusion of a clean, happy, healthy home at your fingertips after a fish dinner.
Few want a can of Dusty Closet.

I purchased this can labeled “Air” and I’m not buying it, but I did buy it
now I can’t throw it away until it’s used up, because then I’m wasting money
and that is much worse than being a person in a smelly house.

**

My current mood expressed by meme.  Stay alert, stay alive. -Shannon


https://www.ewg.org/research/mtbe-knowledge/storage-tanks-were-known-be-leaking-1970s-and-1980s

Poem: For Selene

photo credit borgenmagazine.com

For Selene

by Shannon Laws

 

The Earth’s weavers are busy
their low wages and long hours
fruit of their labors stolen
by mouthless machines

nature weaves for us a
marvelous blanket
new every morning
No one questions the cost

We stand peacefully in line
wait for our treats
listen to hits of the 80’s
to drown out the sound
of meat grinding

Poetry: Christopher Titus Save Me!

The following is an embellished account based on a real experience. Inspired by the poem “the 12 hour night” by Charlies Bukowski from his book “what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”

 

Christopher Titus Save Me!

By Shannon Laws

“…our bodies were worn, our spirits whipped. there was a sense of unreality.”
the 12 hour night, Charles Bukowski

 

I found myself in middle age working the graveyard shift as a deep cleaner at a casino, and somehow there seemed to be no way out.

I was smothered by
Waist-less woman
in high heels
butts in the ashtrays
butts in the seats
baseball hats on empty heads
guts spilling over large buckles
Work boots, flip flops
bring in an endless
amount of pine needles
and waffle-mud cakes
Everything looks too tight
especially the Tuesday Tweakers.

I am drained here
my life is ending
but Christopher Titus is coming
in February. He smiles at me from the poster’s place
on each side of each four-sided pillar and near the door.
“As seen on Comedy Central!” “Get your tickets now!”

Christopher is coming!  His spiky blonde hair and blue eyes hold life.  He is my savior in an ash covered world. As I sweep up pieces of paper, fingernails, toothpicks, squeezed out limes from the casino’s clown colored floor, I imagine sweet Christopher busting through the main entrance on a white steed
shining
he is shining
glowing with a bright future
a future he offers me if only
I wash off my Cinderella ashes
take his hand and leave this place
Oh, how he glows!

He talks to me—
Why are you here? C’mon, you can do better
You’re wiping up blood and vomit from slot machines.  Your new skill is how to reach into the bathroom garbage to avoid a hidden syringe,
-and the SHRIMP on Friday Fish Day! All that half-chewed shrimp clogging up your vacuum!  C’mon!
look at ME
look how happy I am
join me in this happiness

I was so tired, so dazed, my anguished mixed with hopelessness.  I saw myself fifteen years from now, hunched over the sweeper, being called darlin’ and sugar, taking empty glasses once full of spirits, offering clean ashtrays.

I talked sense to my Titan
This isn’t so bad.
I’ve learned much more than biohazard clean up.
I’ve studied this species of human
that gambles.  You can learn a lot from the way they put out their cigarettes. Like footprints in the snow, you know what animal walked by

The Texan—punches the butt straight down, it stands erect
The Cowboy— rolled and smashed, falls to the side
The Camper—sits at the same machine for hours, same butt brand overfills ashtray
The Britney— pink lipstick on the butt, usually a camper
Ladybird— smokes the very thin lady cigarette, flutters around from machine to machine
Still, my Titan smiles

Then one night I stood up for myself and left
My last day is this Friday, I told my shift manager on Thursday.
You found something else?
Yes
yes, I did.
Fresh air and dignity
It pays nothing

On my last day I hand in my badge, I returned my uniforms, left my locker unlocked,
Christopher Titus had come and gone
A new act was plastered on the pillars
I turned and walked away
into the night
and my life was touched by
magic.

and it still
is.

 


Want to learn more about Christopher Titus? Of course, you do.

https://www.christophertitus.com/

Christopher Titus, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem: Broth

sizvideos-water-hole
Water hole in Portugal, Serra da Estrela, Covão dos Conchos. in summer

Broth

Ten dollars an hour for twelve hours
—watch, stir, refill, stir again and watch.
My tool a large paddle punishes coconut clumps
Beats at them and their natural oil-tendency.
Tomorrow I’ll beat at raisins
Somebody’s gotta do it.

My day hovers at various levels of self-induced hypnosis
I’m on a lake of coconut directing my boat to stay still, hold still
do nothing but wait my turn to go down the cyclone

Leave the job to muscle memory
exit the body to float above the nation
visit the places and people of my imagination
I am someone else.
I am somewhere else.
A person who eats expensive granola

Meat cooks in water, bleeds out juice
Vegetables roll with the bubbles, lose their color
a slow boil
a long boil
add noodles
Soup