Day 53: Thinking to Much

Shower Thoughts: If you were invisible, you’d be effectively blind since light would pass through your retina rather than striking it.

This morning I am writing from my bed-desk. I’m thinking about the parts of me that need a shower and weighing that against the effort to leave my warm bed.  The bedroom window is open a bit and the sounds of crows, seagulls, and chickadees, other spring birds, and that goddamn weed wacker play on random all morning.  How many weeds you gotta wack buddy?!  Landscapers in Bellingham are considered essential.  Go figure.

a pink crab-apple in full bloom

The crabapple tree outside the window has wilted. Old blooms still cling to the tree, waiting for the new fruit, developing below the surface, to push them off to the ground.

I heard on the radio this morning that nationally Americans spent less money on food in April than they did in March.  My grocery bills went up this last month because I’m shopping at smaller grocery stores; they have fewer products to help cover the cost for their property taxes, etc.  Are they grocery boutiques?  My cousin told me about a grocery store in the Chicago suburbs, where he use to live, that experimented with a carpeted grocery store.  It grossed everyone out, and you couldn’t navigate your shopping cart very well.  It was a fail.

path around the lake is wide

Friday is my day off.  Unless a “fire” happens with any of the properties or publications the day is mine.  Yep, all mine.

Traffic around town is almost at normal levels.  Many people, including myself, still drive distracted.  Forgetting to signal, not looking both ways, driving way to slow on the freeways.  It’s very strange or maybe it is normal now.

Decided last night to walk by the bay instead of my standard walk around the lake in the old-growth forest.  The park by the bay was packed!  I turned around and headed for another trail I know close by.  I’m just not ready to jump into a crowd yet, and that’s OK.  I’m not like my polar opposites that meet in groups for BBQ’s, house parties, and Capitol protests.  In other states, these folks carry guns in public to help illustrate their rights to assemble, get a haircut, and eat at the Applebees.  True Americans.  I wonder if they assemble because there are no “old” people in their lives?  Are there no friends around them that are “high risk” for the virus? Diabetics? Obese? Over 60-year-olds?  People recovering from cancer or other illness?  That must be it.  How nice of them to speak for us that do.

I look forward to this all being over.  I fear I will discover that my post-lockdown life is as similar to full pandemic mode.  Honestly, I FEEL the pandemic because it is everywhere.  It is a global event. This planet of peoples moan and wiggle like a two-year-old sitting through a piano recital.

IF the world were normal right now, which it will never be again, then I could enjoy this morning.  This morning where I slept in, until 8:37 a.m., ate breakfast & drank coffee in bed, started writing, and I’m still here at 11:36 am. Glorious.  If this was, let’s say, Friday, September 20, 2019, I would not label this morning a case of “pandemic depression”, no…it would be relaxation.  A person could even go so far as to say it is what the pre-pandemic modern world use to refer to 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. Whatever…

**

Here is a draft I’m fussing with today:

Eyes Open
by Shannon Laws

I awake with a dry throat
from moaning in my sleep
I’m nailed to my bed
by the sounds of one a.m.

a rustle of false blueberry bush
heavy bodies trot by with a snort
I think I hear an owl a few blocks over
open mouths of raccoons act out a scene
play fight under the staged crab-apple tree

It’s so busy outside
at night
when all I do is sleep

##

My current mood expressed in a meme.  Take care.  Be a hero and stay home.
-Shannon

Day 38: Raw Poetry

Northwest Washington is experiencing some rain this week.  Most of us are well equipped for walking in the rain, but if you can find a sunshine break to get in a mile or more of a walk it is perfect!

The monthly poetry discussion group I’ve been apart of since October 2015 is meeting on a weekly basis during the shutdown.  We call it Poetry Club: Pandemic Edition, find us on Facebook.  Somehow we have been discussing the work of Robert Frost for ALL of April.  We got stuck on his work and can’t get off that bus.   The discussions are stimulating, nonetheless, thanks mostly to the host Ron Leatherbarrow, who taught Frost at a collegiate level.

Here is the rough poem I’m sharing with the group for critique.  It’s a poem I found in my writing journal from 2017:

Sawdust
by Shannon Laws

“And, as my way is, I begin to dream, resting my elbows on the desk and leaning out of the window a little,” -John Ashbery

As I stand to look out the windows of the factory,
I wish I did not have to sweep this floor on such
a summer’s Saturday.
I imagine, past the trees and along the waterfront,
people are walking with inner peace.
And I envy them—they are so far away from me!
No one has to worry about working five hours of
overtime to help pay their bills.
And, as my way is, I imagine myself small, a doll
in the hand of a god.
The mill—a toy house and the window fills up
with the freckled face of the child that plays.
If the real world is large and I just a toy, still I would
want to run free.
Freedom is better than shelter and care, I bravely think.
But inward I know I only have what others have given.
So, here I am, under the press of having to shovel a
mound of sawdust into the bin.

 


My Netflix queue is Peaky Blinders, Ozark, Dracula, Outlander, the very silly DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and the original Star Trek with special effects remastered.  Star Trek could be a drinking game; take a shot of tequila every time a woman apologizes for almost being raped.  Oh my gosh, I did not know how sexist that show was!

Have a good day!  Be nice to yourself and those around you!  -Shannon

 

Day 20: High Expectations

Happy to report, a voice inside my head has been quieted.  It wanted me to achieve an unreasonable amount of success during the lockdown.  It told me how easy it was to work from home, finish my short stories, loose weight, eat better, get more exercise, clean every inch of my apartment and grow spiritually during this intense time in world history.  It sounded like, after the Stay Home, Stay Healthy mandate was over, I’d be as Christ leaving the tomb victorious over death and writer’s block! Well, voice in my head, I hate to break it to you, but I am not Christ,  I am human, although I’m a pretty good human, I DO HAVE LIMITS, for cryin’ in the night!  To achieve Christ-likeness during these 2-4 months of a pandemic would be a small miracle for sure.  So,  I say “Good day, sir.  Leave me to my textured life of layered excuses.  harumph!”

On a different note, here is the first draft of a poem I wrote about my house plant:

Common House Plant

Terra cotta prisoners
I have questions for you.
Gloved hands bind you
to bagged soil, force-feed
you vitamins and faucet water.
When roots touch potted boundaries
tell me, do you scream?

 

1) an observed joy- this morning I enjoyed St. James Presbyterian’s Easter service live-streamed on Zoom, (the music was especially uplifting) and my “regular Sunday morning check-in” call with a good friend.  It was really nice.

2) a real concern- The high cost of food in my area is still a concern. I decided to shop for fresh veg and fruit this Wednesday.

3) a personal challenge- reread “Why Poetry” by Matthew Zapruder

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- As of today, all my regular bills are paid.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- I haven’t had a haircut since December 2019. Washington State, the next time you shut us down, could we get maybe a months warning?

Here is my current mood illustrated by a meme.
I wish you, wherever you are, good health, peace in your hearts and courage for the challenges you face.
-Shannon

 

Poem: Tuesday

tumblr_n5co8qNGoD1tboj6ro1_400
Happy is the heart
That thinks on love
Measuring the value of emotion
Feeling the presence of its girth

Your worth to me is more than flesh.
Consideration, admiration of
the thrusting in this world
Carefully selected conversations
meant to keep me a gentle-lady

If you come through the door
And bring an offering
It will be welcome
Friendship preserved

Consider love
Warm love

Its time to sleep
I’ll dream of you tonight

Poem: Girl Chases Hat

girl hat

Late night keys dangle in the wind

clouds move along the sky river

wind swirls low to pick up anything

not tied down, not held down

 

There goes her hat!

 

The thing that will keep her warm tonight

stomped by feet of shoppers, rejected as trash

her hat, made for one head.

Rain wets it.  Street oil soaks it.

 

She crosses into traffic, leaps toward the gift knitted

a story just for her. Grandmother’s poem rings

as fingers reach for the flying  thread

as long as a blood vein

 

by

-Shannon P. Laws

#

 

 

 

 

Poem: Graduation


Graduation

The average person gets 432 haircuts in their lifetime
For you I wonder- too many, or not enough
Regardless, you will not like most of them

Every seven years your skin is completely renewed
From scalp to toes, a new birthday suit is knitted

You will use at least 150 toothbrushes
from baby teeth to wisdoms,
and swallow just as many spiders
or so the legend goes…

How many haircuts until you find yourself
How much skin must be shed before
it’s thick enough to stand up in battle
How many spiders swallowed
before humility stains the lips

Your eyes will know the answers.
That day your heart will ring
As bells echo in your mind’s
cavernous landscape

We graduate many times, not just today.
Celebrate each one 


Poetry: Whispers

My ears itched the other day
voices caught up with me
traveling the speed of wind
words skip across 
time like stones
sidarmed into ripples
a beach full of onlookers
feet crunch atop the pebbles
casting a stone
planting a seed
growing a flower
pulling a weed
karma may be as gardens
tended by the faithful
producing understanding
catching up to us all 
gifts in hand
***

Poetry: Moon Dial

MOON DIAL


The moon speaks to me through my window slit,
curtain and blinds open just enough for fresh air
to relieve me in the night

     The moon speaks to me announcing it is 3 o’clock
     it chatters away for 20 minutes about plans, loves, problems, recipes
     Please be quiet and let me sleep, I say in moon-speak
     Wake up and love me, it replies

Meanwhile, car headlights in the drive below
mark the return of my car-pooling bar tending neighbor
she is tired at the end of her shift, dinner and bed will come quickly

She tossed drinks and mixed spirits all night 
for others, now the stars put her to sleep

     I toss and turn awaken by the commotion of conversation
     between heavenly bodies and earthly

Please do me a favor moon, put me to bed, send me to sleep
till the sun rises, tuck me up in sheets of silver beams, warm 
me in your glow, watch over my spirit when it jumps out 
to dream, be my Guardian tonight and…
just shut your mouth!

Moonlight Through Window,
watercolor by Vinderburger
For more information about Vinderburger:


     


Village Books Poetry Group: P.I.P.

VBPG site title photo artist DONA REED:
Hand-pulled Relief Print, “Squabbling Ravens” Please visit her site: http://www.rainshadow-arts.com

Village Books Poetry Group is a fine place to bring in a PIP = poem in progress.  Last Thursday I shared this new poem “PEW” with my group.  One line in the poem started an interesting conversation.  The line is  “Mid service she wiggles like bacon in a hot pan”.  Some thought it didn’t fit, others said it was “an incredible turning point”.

Being apart of a writing group helps you to think outside the work.  Your writing friends can give you a new perspective on work you maybe too deep into to notice.  I find it a most helpful tool.  Whether you write, non-fiction, fantasy, novels or poems, I encourage you to seek out a writing group.  If there isn’t one in your area, start one.

Here is my poem in it’s original form:

PEW
She sits still at first
Coat on, legs crossed, hair in place
I do not know her name
her smile properly friendly
as she shares the peace
Peace be with you-
-and also with you
Mid service she wiggles like bacon in a hot pan
Her focus moves about the sanctuary; forward, then down at her lap,
the back of the pew, left toward a noisy toddler, then at the ring on her finger.
The ring receives the most attention
the corner of my eye catches repetitive moment
her hand out atop her knee, twirling the ring
round
round
her thumb and forefinger
again
again
Finally, her thoughts become action
Arm reaches for the spine
of  a hymnal laying on it’s back
gone sideways from first service
with a quick flip she corrects
it upright, front forward
Her fingers now at rest,
she turns to smile
This was something easy to fix

If you live in the Bellingham area, or would like more informaiton about how to start a writing group in your area, contact me:  splawssji@yahoo.com

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VBpoetrygroup/
www.rainshadow-arts.com