Poem: The 27th Day

too funny!

The 27th Day
Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.
-T.S. Eliot

Getting out of my car today I noticed a bee.
A large and fuzzy bumblebee slowly moving its legs
on the parking lot blacktop of my apartment building.

I saw a video once where a person found a honey bee in distress
gave it a little sugar water and it flew away happy.
I thought I would do the same for this fellow-creature.

I raced inside, grabbed a small bowl, and quickly concocted
a love potion of room temperature filtered water
with a pinch of raw, all-natural sugar into the bowl

Without saying a word I stepped up along its side, my feet
ten times its length, my silence like the voice of God shaking
mountains into the sea. A front bee-leg lifted up in proclamation-

STOP! Do not step on me!

I gave it a little at first, pouring my potion near its mouth, then watched
and waited. I looked for movement in the folded cellophane blanketed atop
the black and yellow body. A black thin tongue darted in and out of the puddle.

The rescue a success, I went inside and continued with my evening.
I was quiet about my good deed. The next day I saw it. Flattened. In line with a neighbor’s back tire. Inches from the stain of the dried sweetened water.

The bee did not fly away in search of flowers to bounce on. It did not sleep as I slept, with lighter shoulders knowing everything was reconciled between bee and human. What did I do wrong?

Perhaps it was evil to intervene. Perhaps I poured sugar water onto the ground to restored life, perhaps I gave a dying bee its last drink.

My Walk

This evening I went out for a walk. I walked four blocks in one direction turned right two blocks then came back to my home. It was colder than I was dressed for. Winter is coming.
I’m quietly thankful this evening. It is unexplainable. The Dalai Lama said, “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” Some days it is easier to defend the inner peace layer than others.
I’m wondering when during a casual conversation three American friends will look at each other and say something like, “Remember when everyone had to wear masks?”

Thank you for visiting my site. Please stay safe. Take care-
Shannon

Faces I Make Under My Mask

Celeste Headlee: At this moment we are more polarized, more divided than at any point in history
2020: Hold my beer…

September I noticed a shift. I’m still trying to put my finger on it. Perhaps those folks with school-aged kids in the home had their Stress Level knob turn to the right about five notches? That could be it. America is also inching its way closer to the election time. Also, the air is slowly getting colder and our nights getting longer. I wonder if by January I’ll board up my ground floor apartment, bust through to the roof through my neighbor’s bedroom to build up a makeshift roof fortress a’la Walking Dead. There is an anticipation in the air. A tension. It manifests in various ways I encounter daily. Folks driving distracted. Folks having problems talking clearly or remembering what was said a few minutes prior. Folks are having problems listening consistently throughout a full meeting or conversation. Opinions these days have sharp edges. We cut each other discussing the wildfire smoke in the air, that a favorite store shut down, or about wearing masks.

2020 summer/autumn matching
mask and outfits at D.H. Gate

THESE LIPS ARE MADE FOR MOVING

One day when I was having a conversation with someone about something I can’t remember, I caught my lips moving unconsciously. I wondered, “Do lips have a mind of their own under the mask? Is this something my brain wanted my lips to do all these years? Did social pressure keep my lips on lock-down? Is my face free to be itself?” This was an interesting conversation. Much more interesting than whatever the person I was staring at was trying to tell me about. I’m sure I moved my lips prior to the COVID Mandate but THIS animated?

The top lip curled under itself like when Peter Brady was practicing “Pork chops and applesauce.” for his drama class. Then they moved in and out over and over; out to fish lips then into a flat smile. My cheeks were jealous and began to flex altering left to right. …and now back to pork chops and applesauce. It was like my face was doing exercises under the privacy of three layers of cloth.

I hope and wish for your lips to be free and wild as each lip dreams to be.
Below is my current mood expressed in a meme.

Take care of yourself,
Shannon

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

 

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

Thank You Red Wheelbarrow

So many songs begging Ruth Bader Ginsburg to “hang on” until there is another democrat in the white house.  This one caught my attention.  SNL 2019. 


Thank you Red Wheelbarrow writers for accepting my poem, “Day 53”, for publication in This Uncommon Solitude your upcoming anthology of pandemic poetry.

“We are honored to showcase and share your powerful and poignant words during this unsettling time of crisis.”

 

Day 53
By Shannon Laws

If the world were normal now,
as it may never be again,
I might enjoy the morning.
This morning where I woke,
at 8:37 a.m., ate breakfast
drank coffee in bed, started writing,
and still under the sheets at 11:36.

If this was, let’s say, Friday, September 20, 2019,
I would not label this morning a case of pandemic fatigue,
no—it would be relaxation.

It is what the pre-pandemic modern world
used to refer as a “personal day.”
(remember personal days?)
I could find joy in working at home if all
my neighbors got into their cars and
drove to work this morning!
THEN today would be a special day for me.
But, it is not.

It is day 53 of the lockdown, and there is nothing
but the heavy responsibility of
staying home and
saving lives.

Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel
Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel

 


https://www.history.com/news/ruth-bader-ginsburgs-landmark-opinions-womens-rights-supreme-court

Jury Duty for women as a right-
In 1979, Ginsburg argued Duren v. Missouri, a case in which a Missouri man accused of murder argued he couldn’t get a fair trial because of a law that made jury service optional for women. She told the court that such exemptions didn’t just make the jury pool unfair; it devalued women’s contributions to juries.

Equal pay regardless of sex-
In her 2007 dissent, which she read from the bench (a rare move for any justice), she argued that the Civil Rights Act’s 180-day time limit shouldn’t apply in the case of discriminatory pay since gender-based discrimination can happen gradually. “A worker knows immediately if she is denied a promotion or transfer,” said Ginsburg. “Compensation disparities, in contrast, are often hidden from sight.”

Custom Fit

They took your data. Then they took control. The Great Hack uncovers the dark world of data exploitation through the compelling personal journeys of players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal. In select theaters and on Netflix July 24.

I use to watch a show called “The Lottery Changed My Life”.  As you may know, some people are naturally better at handling change than others.  Most lottery winners, one out of three, go broke, waisting the miraculous opportunity.  Another attribute of a sudden gain in money is the amplification of whatever characteristic you possess, vices, and blessings.  Money doesn’t change people, it amplifies what was already there.  Regardless of how good you may be at adapting, all major change comes with stress (see chart below).

A pandemic, a lasting event that is both unexpected and stressful much like winning the lottery, could be described as a one-size-fits-all global catastrophe. Although it has a blanket effect on people, it is also extremely customized per person based on what our situation was before it hit.  Each of us has unique circumstances that have created a specific pandemic experience.  It is as unique as our address if we are fortunate to have one.  As I walk about my day these past three months I hear different experiences from each acquaintance, co-worker, relative, or strangers that I chat up.  Here are the basic types in no particular order:

-My job is essential, working more hours, I’m exhausted, resources are difficult to come by, communication is slowed

-I was laid off from work, my unemployment was messed up, took 6 weeks to get it, I had to visit the food bank and paid no bills while waiting for unemployment to arrive

-I haven’t paid my rent since April 1st and I’m afraid I’ll be evicted on August 1st.  I cannot afford to move so I will end up in my car

-We sold the home we lived in for 20 years, we are downsizing in preparation for retirement, I’m going on a vacation will be back in two weeks

-My wife got COVID-19, she’s high risk, was in the hospital for almost three weeks.  The bill came and it’s close to $50k dollars! We will be paying this for the rest of our lives

-I hang out with friends, I’m young, I found a cool mask online.  Glad school is over

-One day in March all of my clients called me, all 23 of them in one day, to cancel service.  My husband came home early the same day—laid off from his job!  I’ve been crying all week! We don’t have savings and I’m scared

-My husband and I are fighting more now. How can I leave him during a pandemic? I’m sheltered in place with someone I hate

-I work from home since the shelter-in-place mandates.  I attend six zoom meetings a week with different departments. Almost 90% of my socializing is done electronically.  It is somehow exhausting

-I’m doing OK. Left social media and got rid of my smartphone years ago to free up my time working on my art.  I howl at the moon every night at 7:00.  I’m worried for my neighbors

-I leave the house once a month for groceries.  I work on my yard, sit on the porch, read, and talk to my neighbors as they pass by. I’m bored, but I want to be safe.  I’m in a high-risk category. I am in no hurry to get back out there

-Laid off from the refinery and on unemployment since May.  It’s like an extended vacation! I’m almost finished with my backyard projects, I’ve gone fishing, camping visited my Uncle over on the lake in Eastern Washington.  All of this pandemic stuff and mask requirements are stupid.  Once it’s over I’ll get my job back

-Two of our adult children needed to shelter in place at our home.  So all six of us are under one roof again.  I am very busy right now.  When I come home sometimes very late I step over the sleeping bodies of two of my kids in the living room.

-I discovered that my regular life is similar to shelter-in-place.  For about 10 years my work has been online, in a virtual office, I’m a gamer, and my whole social network is virtual.

 

So if you’re like me today and feeling a little pouty, consider this new mask that includes a window into your soul!  Let the world see your pouty luscious lips. Don’t let an all-cotton mask keep your gloss light hidden.  Shine on, baby, shine on! Only $7.99–

 

 

 


https://www.playusalotteries.com/en/lottery-news/article/10723/10-facts-about-lottery-winners.html

Click to access lifechangestresstest.pdf

Flexing Haircut 100

So, yesterday I caught myself flexing on the lady givin’ me a $25 haircut.  Afterward, I walked out of the place and while driving home, examined a strange, yet familiar, feeling like something was wrong…(I’m a bit slow about these things)  Then it hit me “OMG I was totally rude to the lady who cut my hair!”

“WHY?”  I screamed to the mountains!
“WHY?”  I yelled to the sea!

The selfie I sent my friend when she asked to see my hair cut, “–nah, its OK..”

During this serious shitstorm of a time in history WHY would I flex during a standard life interaction with another human?  Here is what happen…  We started to share how the lockdown had effect us and compared notes.  I basically bragged about how fortunate I was that BOTH my jobs were essential and how incredibly busy I’ve been.  Then I handed the talking stick to her and she blew my mind.  She is in her early 30s, newly married.  Found out she was pregnant in March. Lost her job in March.  She filed for unemployment.  Received about two months’ worth when it stopped with no notice.  She called in an inquiry, the state said she did not qualify for unemployment and would have to pay all of it back.  She protested their decision. This resulted in her having to defend herself in court.  She won. Now the judge has ordered that the unpaid 6 weeks of unemployment be sent to her asap, which hopefully will arrive by mid-July.

“I’m all stressed out with the baby, my job, stupid unemployment being all messed up, and this virus thing. It’s horrible.”

Now, hourly pay at Supercuts Hair Salon ranges from an average of $8.10 to $13.36 an hour.  Let’s say she worked 28 hours a week because those cheap-ass companies don’t want to pay their workers health care so they keep them under 36 hours.  …and let’s guess she is making about $11.00 an hour, that’s $1848 gross, with 10% taken out for taxes that’s a check for $1664.  That is some hard-earned cash!  (BTW, this is the third time a person has shared a similar story with me about their unemployment payments being denied.  WTH Washington?) The only saving grace for the haircutter was that her husband’s job is considered essential and he has worked through the whole lockdown, keeping them barely housed and fed.

So here I was getting my haircut for the first time since November 2019, waltzing into Supercuts thinking I am a boss. Sons of the bitch!  This was rude.  I didn’t even think about how rude until my drive home.  Perhaps an evil side of my sub-conscious drove that whole event.  Perhaps I was forgetting when I was a new mom and we couldn’t freakin’ afford a gallon of milk!  I couldn’t buy new clothes for my kids.  We couldn’t even afford for me to go to work, in town–because we only had one car–and due to the cost of daycare!   I’ve been there.  Really I have.  Also, I’ve stood in the company with affluent upper-middle-class people who assume everyone in the room is like them. Going on and on about vacations, new cars, private yoga sessions, and seeing their doctor, one flex after the other.  Felt their words grind up against my reality.

Yes, I do feel like I’ll need a vacation after lockdown.  I’ll be honest.  But I must always use my words carefully.  I can’t control what others do, but I can control what the heck comes out of my mouth! Each home is having a different experience during this difficult time.  Please learn from my mess up.
Be kind to each other.

Day 74: Last Day of the Lockdown

“I have not been able to touch the destruction
within me.
But unless I learn to use
the difference between poetry and rhetoric
my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold
or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire
and one day I will take my teenaged plug
and connect it to the nearest socket
raping an 85 year old white woman
who is somebody’s mother
and as I best her senseless and set a torch to her bed
a greek chorus will be signing in 3/4 time
“Poor thing.  She never hurt a soul. What beats they are.”

-Power, Audre Lorde, American poet, 1934-92.

The end has come.  Whatcom County in Washington State entered Phase 2 today.  In town the neon “OPEN” signs are on.  Emotional yo-yo beat down.  Took two aspirin and laid flat atop the bed.  I’ve been laying down too much these months, yet I needed it again.  Everything around me demands it is essential that I get up.  A chirping bird outside my window gave a speech, my phone rang twice with instructions.  At 4:00 p.m. I listen to the news on my old clock radio, but the man sounded much like the bird in the bush–they won’t shut up.  Take a breath, give someone else a chance to speak, I think.

credit- https://mynorthwest.com/1906245/live-updates-seattle-bellevue-protests/, June 2, 2020

I’m feeling a bit skewed. Disjointed. Unconnected, but not in a way you’d expect after three months of quarantine.  You see, outside my window there is order. Inside my TV is a disorder. Walking my neighborhood are masked smiles and friendly nods. Online our nation is shouting and demanding justice.  I watch from my desk and in my mind, I am with them.  I’m at the fence of the White House demanding Trump resign.  In the fog of Netflix and binge-watching–are these riots real?  Is this a dark comedy out of control?  Can it be touched? I could run with the crowds, get an eyeful of pepper spray, just two hours south of me.  Seattle is sweeping up glass.  It is nearby if I want it.  Feeling thankful for the peacemakers if they are indeed real.  Please be real. Please succeed.

Twenty years from now if someone asked you what it was like to live during The Great Pandemic of 2020, what will you tell them?  The lockdown is over and I don’t have the words right now.  Please call again later, thank you.

My mood expressed by a meme.

 

Day 68: SAY THEIR NAMES

SOCIAL DISTANCING | SOCIAL JUSTICE

Video credit: The brief history of racism within the Minnesota police explained by reporter Rachel Maddow, MSNBC.  #GeorgeFloyd

This morning my bedroom is dark.  An early morning thunderstorm blocks the sky.  It formed over Seattle, traveled 90 miles to reach Bellingham at 9:12.  It swipes across our landscape as it continues its path towards the Canadian Rockies. The thunder shakes the earth.  The earth needs to be shaken.

A poet friend posted “Say Their Names”, by Seattle poet Mercedes Aristotle Lindholm. It is shared below.  I am not very good at talking or writing about atrocious events.  My God—I’ve written about the death of my daughter in my book “Fallen”, I’ve written about homelessness, domestic abuse, even freakin’ break up poetry, but this…over and over again, this goddamn two decades of documented abuse…with no reaction by civic leaders–I have no words.  Words literately escape me.  It’s too much.

I can’t write about trump.  I am outraged, gobsmacked, dumbfounded.  My ears are assaulted EVERY DAY during this neo-nazi president’s rule AND amazed that the “Teflon Don” isn’t slapped in the head and dragged off to jail.  It is not unlike the way police officers, fresh from the kill of unarmed black citizens, escape true justice. How?  Why?

I do not like trump’s america.  I want a Land Of The Free America, I beg for an All Created Equal America!

Minnesota police arrest CNN reporter and crew on live TV as they cover Minneapolis protests
PUBLISHED FRI, MAY 29 20206:51 AM EDT

I am weak.  I can not write. I look to others like Mr. Lindholm.
Please, read his poem out loud:

 

SAY THEIR NAMES
SAY THEIR NAMES
SAY THEIR NAMES

I grew up as a black man in the United States.
We used to throw snowballs at cop cars to get them to chase us because we, and the officers were bored. No one was trying to be violent.
Today I would like to do what ever I wanted.
However I fear that I can not.
Some think I am paranoid or overreacting.
Thank G.O.D. my children look white,
however they now both identify as black.

I fear to go birding (#ChristianCooper)
I fear to go jogging (#AmaudArbery)
I fear to relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson)
I fear to ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride)
I fear to have a cellphone (#StephonClark)
I fear to leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)
I fear to play loud music (#JordanDavis)
I fear to sell CDs (#AltonSterling)
I fear to sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I fear to walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown)
I fear to play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)
I fear to go to church (#Charleston9)
I fear to walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)
I fear to hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell)
I fear to party on New Years (#OscarGrant)
I fear to get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)
I fear to lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile)
I fear to break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones)
I fear to shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)
I fear to have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher)
I fear to read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)
I fear to be a 10yr old walking with my grandfather (#CliffordGlover)
I fear to decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese)
I fear to ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans)
I fear to cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)
I fear to take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)
I fear to run (#WalterScott)
I fear to breathe (#EricGarner)
I fear to live (#FreddieGrey)
I CAN NOT BE ARRESTED WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING MURDERED (#GeorgeFloyd)

This fear is NOT NEW either.
I am blessed to know my G.O.D.
and to know when to shut up and keep my head down.
I have been arrested and incarcerated many times for no reason with no charges.
Been in cuffs in the back of cop cars starting at the age of 11, more times than I can literally count.
I have had a knee of a cop on my neck 3 times before I was 18.
I have had multiple guns pointed at me dozens of times. I have been taken from my property and stripped and given a RED jumpsuit for standing my ground!
And I am one of the fucking “GOOD GUYS”!!This is why now, I know how deal with cops.

Love and Light!…
peace is still a ways off I guess.

Mercy LnL
Seattle, WA
https://www.facebook.com/ari.lindholm

 

Protesters gather near the 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis during a rally Tuesday in response to the death the day before of George Floyd in police custody. Richard Tsong-Taatarii | Star Tribune via AP

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/05/26/fbi-bca-investigate-death-of-man-in-minneapolis-police-custody

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