Topic: Louise Gluck Host: Linda and Amory Poems: “Parable of the Hostages” Recorded: November 28, 2020
Our first two-parter! When Louise Gluck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2020, the NYT recognized that many were unfamiliar with her work. One of their writers posted five poems, from five different collections, to introduce her. In Part 2 Poetry Club discusses Gluck’s poem “Parable of the Hostages”
NEW! NEW! NEW! Poetry Club is here for three reasons, to increase the understanding and appreciation of poetry, illustrate healthy communication between people of different opinions, and promote the creation of new poetry clubs in your neighborhood.
Since October 2015 we have been meeting in local coffee shops in our city, Bellingham, Washington. It started when four of us took Ron’s “Introduction of Poetry” class at a local community college. We enjoyed it so much we asked Ron if he would like to continue the discussion in a casual atmosphere. Currently, we are about 5-7 people who meet every Saturday online. Every week we discuss the work of a different poet, classical to contemporary.
Poet: Charles Bukowski, b.1920- d.1994 Host: Shannon Book: What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, Published June 1st, 2002 by Ecco Press (first published June 5th, 1999), Paperback, 416 pages ISBN: 1574231057 (ISBN13: 9781574231052) Poems Discussed: “The Mice”, “The 12 Hour Night”, and a video feature available here: Tom Waits reads “Nirvana” by Charles Bukowski https://youtu.be/W-vdPkESLZs
Shannon hosts a discussion on Charles Bukowski, one of her favorites, who she claims carried her through a tough time. To find out why, click to listen.
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…
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?
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!
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