Poem: Why I Can’t Have Good Things

Why I Can’t Have Good Things

By Shannon P. Laws

I overwatered my plant yesterday
The liquid flooded over my fail proof double-layered system
a concave plastic trivet atop a faded Christmas cookie plate
adopted decades ago at a bake sale from a forgotten charity

It was hot all this week and the dirt gave up its moisture
even in the darkest places
In my hurry to do good, I underestimated the effect
a deluge of water has on exhausted soil

I forgot all those moments that life tried
to teach me to go easy
Perhaps my lips remembered the effect
of a much-needed kiss the way a kiss
moves its way around down to the very tips of me
—and I let it pour
I let it pour and sit
and now warped wood wiggles
in protest over the zeal of a kiss

 

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Event: You Love Me, You Love Me Not

You’re invited…

Flyer by SPL (my inner child) Please print, color me and share

Save the Date!

This event is an early 5:00 p.m. set designed for you and your sweetie to enjoy a special day together, a passionate spark to get things started.  Also, a great time for anyone who is a fan of love and wants to support the Alt Library and local artist.  (I think we’re talkin’ about YOU)  You’ll hear from poets Eric Kosarot and James Bertolino.  The featured poet is Shannon P. Laws who will be reading select love poems accompanied by Greg Sherman on upright bass.  This is also the first Bellingham reading from her new book “Fallen”, 2017.

Come early Kathy McKeever, Urban Cauldron, will be available to read your LOVE tarot 4:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Kathy is a professional, long time tarot reader and teacher of tarot.  She is an expert in the art of divination.

Tickets are suggested $5 or donation, tips encouraged for tarot reader
Books by authors will be on hand for purchase

James Bertolino’s poetry has received recognition through a Book-of-the-Month Club Poetry Fellowship, the Discovery Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, two Quarterly Review of Literature book publication awards, and the Jeanne Lohmann Poetry Prize for Washington State Poets. He has had 12 volumes of poetry published, the most recent being Ravenous Bliss: New and Selected Love Poems, 2014, from MoonPath Press.  http://www.jamesbertolino.com/

 

Tongue in Ink

by Shannon P. Laws

The best poems are not written in ink but by the tongue
Spoken into the air never finding paper
Touched by the mist of breath against your neck
Said in the dark rooms where lovers meet
 
Not at all recorded nor syllables numbered
But art form just the same
Once activated and released the words are all lost
Left to moments that linger
Holding each other in sweaty embrace
As if the sheets themselves are sentences
  

Poem: Transmission

Recycled spring mattress used to train a vine. Old springs have many reuses in the garden and home.

 

Transmission

by Shannon Laws

 

Deep transmissions travel into the springs

thumbs at the bass wires as you whisper low

Pluck those strings beneath us pulled tight

I’ll listen with my skin

as it vibrates across my back

bounces around the bones of me

Sing to me all night

Thailand Rug/Sea Feast 2017

You’re invited to…

Sea Feast 2017
September 22-23rd in Bellingham, WA

I’ve signed up to FisherPoet the heck out of Sea Feast again! Here is a shanty poem I’m working on for the event.

 

Thailand Rug

by Shannon Laws

Take off your dungaree jacket
come and sit by the high fire
warm yourself for brisket
dry ‘yer socks for tomorra’

You are a sailor not a farm to toil
around the globe you float on your mistress sea
let salt water then heal your gashes
You’ll only get good soil from me

My blood is full of vinegar
shake it on top ‘yer cod
fork a big bite for your mouth to light
then perhaps you’ll meet your god

Truly the Lord lives in the fish,
fillet batter and flake-white
Rest your head on my bosom port
Tie a tail to your colorful kite

Let’s rip the sheets up tonight, love
then move onto the floor
to cut up the Thailand rug, dear
that’s really from Singapore

Oh rest your head on top my bosom port
tie your boat to my nested lap
tell those sweeties on faraway shores
you’re in love, dear, and won’t be back

 

Harunobu, Suzuki (c.1725-1770) detail, “Fisherman Making Love to a Partly Clothed Girl on His Boat” Woodblock, Japan

Poem: The Back of My Hand

 

The Back of My Hand

By Shannon P. Laws

It was that time of
the day when the light
gave away the distance
of each hill

The twilight swarm of gnats
and wishing cottonwood seeds
bounce off the windshield
in a rush to live and die

The dark sun wanting to set
took a rest over the last ridge

It was that place on
the highway where lines

solid white
double yellow
solid white

bend in unison to
show off its curves
like a lady in a corset

It was that time, that place
when you wiggled in your seat
turned a shoulder forward
looked at me and said

I love you. You know I love you, right?

Your hand hugged mine
as we came to that point
in the pass where the
road is visible for miles

I saw it worming down around
ending with a sharp left
I knew it continued into
the Skagit Valley, pass a cafe

I knew we’d find the freeway
and reach our street by ten tonight
We’d both go to work in the morning
and the week would continue

into more weeks, months and years…
and when you said
you loved me
it was a lie

 

 

Poem: the many layers of my lover

space kiss 40bdc8b4ec3

the many layers of my lover

by Shannon Laws

coat
vest
shirt
undershirt
slacks
skin
heart and soul
bones hold the universe
rich dark pother pour out the eyes

shine on my planets
bring warmth to those hidden seeds
grow a budding forest
my river returns your pull
drink from the ocean
the home of all water

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Poem: Tangled

vine grow

Tangled

Inside the foliage a new stalk grows
and twists around the fold of each arm
You touch me with your spring,
embrace me with your summer

We rub together, winding in the wood
When you leave it is
winter’s sun setting too early

Bring back your spring to me.

Let us lie again in soft moss
beneath the shade of summer
     Our limbs a turning vine
     my breasts as berries
     your lips are wine
Thistle milk rolls down our legs
Sap sticks to our fingers like candy

#

Squawk!

Happy Valley- a poet walks among you!  She walks down the middle of your streets in search of a coffee house that opens at 7—preferably one that has blueberry scones…

clinta48588
Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, 1966

Last few weeks my inner dialogue seems to have a Wheeling Virginian cigar hanging out the corner of its mouth, almost as if I am internalizing a Clint Eastwood character from a 1960’s spaghetti western.  This dialogue surfaces as a distaste for sidewalks apparently.

My urban bird watching continues to provide rewards.  This morning I took a right on 17th and saw a collection of Steller’s  Jays sitting on the corner of a low rooftop chatting away.  It was about 6:45 in the morning and I imagined they were having a bird meeting about bugs, feeders and crows.  Two of the birds looked smaller than the other three.  Are they young-lings getting trained?  What surprised me the most about this conversation was the low volume.  Steller’s are known for their loud “SQUAWK!” The kind of squawk that can wake you out of a nap, bring your shoulders up in a cringe, and your finger to involuntarily enter your ear in an attempt to protect the lobe.  It’s an annoying sound.  The bird’s feather mohawk fits the personality perfectly.  They thrash about the stage of any backyard bird feeder violently tossing seeds all over and chasing the other birds away—a real punk of the bird community.  Yet here they are, five of them, quietly chatting away making little gargle sounds and tapping their beaks together in salutations.

Around the corner three crows sit on a wire quietly eavesdropping.  Bird espionage.

stellers3ce065
“SQUAWK!”

Later today I am attending my cousin’s funeral.  Family on my dad’s side is flying in.  There is an old joke about us Irish-types: we suffer from Irish Alzheimer’s, we only remember the grudges.

This morning after four days of anxiety, I’m different, peaceful, after my walk.  In the past I felt like a boxer getting into the ring prior to a family get-together …not today.  My mind makes a connection between these birds and the family.  The childhood stereotypes of each family member squawks at me.  However childhood memories are distorted by time.  Even our mind’s eye remembers event at the low angel of a 12 year old.  Adults are bigger than life!  Old memories, we all have of some variety, knit themselves deep into our hearts.  Every so once-in-a-while a box of yarn, cut up, knotted up and tangled, is dropped off at our doorstep demanding to be segregated and deciphered.  Who did what to who, and who’s to blame?

Fuck that.  Don’t take the bait.

Today as I travel into Anacortes with my brother, in our funeral attire, I leave my tangled box of yarn at the door.  I will approach my family, especially the ones I haven’t seen in decades, with fresh eyes and “quiet” conversation.  We have all changed in one degree or another.  The fabric of our hearts are knitted by natures stitch.  The natural bond of family is greater than the artificial polyester strings of misunderstandings and hate.

I love my family.

Squawks and all.

HEART-SHAMROCK

 

 

Poetry Book: Odd Little Things

online cover OLT
Photo credit: Daniel Laws. Taken at Old Town Cafe, Bellingham. Home of the BEST beni

This book was a lifesaver.

Written over the years of late 2012-2014 the poetry that emerged from my finger tips started to take a new direction.  Nature and love topics will always be on my forethought, but objects like a pole, a cinnamon roll and a rain drop on a porch at night attacked my senses.

2013 was an especially wild year, romantically, professionally, artistically.  New jobs (plural), hope gained then lost AGAIN, projects built such as “Poetic Moments” radio feature and the Peace Poets ‘Read-in” events, wonderful highs.  Then the love life roller coaster: hot and cold, warm, simmer, then over and gone.  In my free time, my down time and on my dates with my notebook, words started to show up.  THINGS started to twinkle at me to say “hi”.  Simple things with deep worlds.

“Odd Little Things” is a shorter book than “Madrona Grove” but it feels like it says more with less words.  I hope you will consider adding it to you collection.  This is the age of the chap book, staple binding n’ all.  Collect them and SAVE a poet!

~Shannon P. Laws

Purchase “Odd Little Things” by visiting Village Books
online or walking in. 
Buy online here