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

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.”

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: