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: Lining of My Mind


“Father Time Overcome by Love, Hope and Beauty” by Simon Vouet, 1627


The future comes to me


premonition stands outside the window, framed to be seen

stands politely ‘til the door opens

the right door

at the right time


Tea or coffee?

A blanket for your lap?

It’s cold outside where time weathers

as a pacific swirl over the peninsula,

hooked on peaks.


cold. still.


It rains in my house.

The fire is out.

Wet paper see-throughs to wooden table.

Drips creep across the low areas, finds them all

—both the dark and the hidden.


I’m swept up into this ungraspable moment Future came to visit.


Somewhere close by

another turns the channel,

a person adds soap to the wash,

a cat sighs in the window

all in silent exclamation.


What we desire more than seasons or weather

is the comfort of being a stranger, more so with ourselves.

It’s better to not know.

So I wait.

Wait for something that vanishes as soon as it arrives.

It’s appearance not unlike mowed lawn

—the stalk of the dandelion snapped.

Its there.  We know it.

Whether we walk on it or not.

The merciless motor hums in the distance and every so often

a breeze from the south carries the leaky-green odor of grass.




-by Shannon P. Laws



Poem: Dust



twinkle with

flecks of our skin

rubbed off from touch, rubbed off

 as dry soil spinning from a sedimentary cliff

layers of time pressed into the stripes we call days

Lower Antelope Canyon, Arizona


Elizabeth Vignali’s “Object Permanence”


By request, Elizabeth Vignali shares her poem “Object Permanence” the title piece of her debut poetry book set to release November 2014.  Below the post, please click the link to hear Vignali read one of her poems for a local community radio program I produce called “Poetic Moments”.  ~Shannon


flowers in the sun



My hands don’t wash kiwi fruit; they bathe you
when you were a few weeks old.
You had this same sparse hair
defying gravity over a taut scalp.
My thumb flattens a path of bristles
that spring up again as they dry.

I rubbed water over your fragile skull,
wiped it away from your forehead, away from the eyes
open wide. Your hairs rose as they dried, lifting
in praise of warmth.

Infants haven’t learned constancy—
this is why they delight in peek-a-boo,
a beloved face appearing again and again.
They do not mourn the absence.
They do not mourn.

Children comprehend permanence by one year.
We spend the rest of our lives trying to forget,
brush little grains of worry in our palms
and pocket them: bills, calories,
the permanence of death. We meditate, we drink,
we fight to remember what presence felt like.

You come to me with a wilted fistful of tulips,
yellow petals waxy and sullen. I try to explain the benefit
of leaving flowers unpicked. Enjoy them and then leave them
for others to enjoy, I say. Don’t hang on to them so tight.
Experience them, then let them go.

I long to have you a baby again, to love you
despite your pink insistence, your curled
shrimp fists, your incessant keen.
I’d bring you my breasts filled with milk.
I’d hold you until my arms fell asleep.


Liz Headshots 014
Elizabeth Vignali author of “Object Permanence”

Vignali on Soundcloud reading “Scarlet Runners”

S.P. Laws interviews Vignali, October 2014

Got Time?

2012 $4000 Baume and Mercier 

The other day while at a lunch with two friends, one of them asked me the time. She saw I was wearing a wrist watch and asked. Does this seem strange to you? Neither of my friends were wearing watches ,and both had their cell phones politely put away while we ate. The moment came and went and our conversation didn’t even touch on her query. However, later that evening I thought about wristwatches. 

Back before the invention of clocks people would just meet up in the “early afternoon” or “after sunset” there was no 10 o’clock in the morning, nor was there the need to be at work on time because you worked most the day. Time was just a general concept. Today as your walk around your house you see a clock on every electrical appliance.

In 2010 NPR reported that despite meager sales previous years, wrist watches were making a comeback.
“The overall watch business and the watch industry have been experiencing an unusual growth this year … it’s explosive, and people who’ve been in the industry for 20, 30 years have never seen numbers like this, the watch has become the “it” accessory of the year.”

 The article goes on to say the buyers of watches were teenagers and 20 somethings wearing them most likely as a fashion statement not for its obvious practical application.

Analog Motorola DynaTAC 8000X
Advanced Mobile Phone System 1980

Are cell phones the new watches?
In addition to telling time, watches helped girls, and the occasional car salesman, figure out who they were dealing with. Remember the advice girlfriends would give about how to tell if a man had money- simply look at his shoes and his watch. Possibly good advice up until about 1985. Later, mobile phones started to make their mark. Just having a phone that was not connected to a wall was high tech. Who cared if it was the size of your arm! A phone in your car was also a big statement, sparking the sale of FAKE car phone antennas.  Then in the early 00’s hot phone designs could give you a clue about a persons wealth such as the flip phones or the Razor; the smaller and thinner the phone, the more expensive.  The bluetooth headset fad came and went, but its practical “hands-free” feature will keep it around for a while to aid all multi-taskers at large.

Rubber Band turns your iPod nano
into a colorful watch that is
animal friendly and recession friendly

Now it’s 2012- what’s a girl to do? Most phones look the same and most guys do not wear watches. Asking a guy “What kind of phone package ya got?” just doesn’t work.  Perhaps it’s time that techno-toys and other high cost accessories stop being used as social status indicators.  Can Americans move pass the superficial?

Regardless, the future of watches is bleak, much like, newspapers on paper, television over the air, radios and radio stations, keyboards with buttons and well… the snuggie. The snuggie does not save me any time, free up my hands or help me to enjoy a snack.  It’s a blanket not a miracle made of  fleece.  If folks in the future wear bands around their wrist it will most likely be to hold something like their iPod Nano.

Back in March I moved into a new place.  I’m starting over from scratch and own very little.  While furniture shopping I saw an attractive wall clock.  For a second, possibly two, not sure… because I left my watch at home, I considered buying it.  I kept walking turning my attention elsewhere; I wasn’t in a nostalgic mood.  Perhaps there was a sale on floor globes- the kind with sea monsters on them!  Now THAT would be cool in the den!



Hold On

Today marks the third week living at my new place. While unpacking boxes of stuff I discovered a box of odd things from my past that included: a pen and ink drawing from 8th grade art class on “Abstract Art”, 10 soccer & softball trophies, my letters earned from school sports, two teeth pulled, and some ribbons from 4th grade field day. These were all in a box, tucked away for no one to see. Perhaps you have had a similar experience when moving; finding sentimental items that seem too valuable for the landfill but not important enough to frame or display?  Every time we move, we move boxes that almost never get opened. WHAT should we do with them?

Tree growing out of a punk head and a green fish- 1982 by me

Webster defines memorabilia as either (1) things that are remarkable and worthy of remembrance, or (2) things that stir recollection or are valued or collected for their association with a particular field or interest. Thanks Webster but I’m looking for an “items in a box that you have not touched in over 12 months that should be given to charity or thrown away” answer. You are not helping.

Now, if I had a den my personal mementos might work well in there framed next to my baby picture, but I have limited space, so if I could get rid of this box of useless items it would be nice. However, all these things do represent happy moments from my past. Looking through this box is an instant cure for sentimental moments that usually apear after a few glasses of wine, or when I’ve moved and open it because I forgot what heck is in there.  I should toss them!  I mean would I ever say to a friend visiting, “Oh my goodness, I’m so glad you came over! Want to see the letter I earned from high school soccer?” Never! Also, how weird would it be to go to someone’s house and find their eight grade art framed above the couch? Unless it was exceptional work it would be strange.

Although I do not need the visual aides to help prove certain moments in time existed, I just do not know what value my teeth pulled when I was 12 will have for my grandchildren after I’ve passed.  Regardless, I have to say mementos are important.

Some moments and events in our timeline help to define our identity, tell us who we are, challenge us and put new dimensions into our person. Are they touchstones of our character? If so, then there are some items missing. I wish I had a jar of sand from the first beach I built a sandcastle on, a recording of my family singing songs in the back of the green pick-up on our way to go camping, or a box of those summer evenings sleeping out on the grass in our backyard watching the milky way slowly twist itself across the sky.

Memorabilia: warm reminders of who we were and where we come from. Perhaps one day these items will end up in a landfill of lost memories, but for now I’ll keep them close to my heart, in a box at the bottom of the coat closet.

PAD: Here

No prompt for me today.  Just a poem.  Day NINE

How long?
How will this last?
When will we say good bye?
Our quiet moments in a failing orbit
Turned to sand
How long does it take?
Mountains worked by wind, sun, rain, snow
Stop time
Please, stop it now
All things have an end
Real love will not spoil!
Let’s stay here.  Just here.
Frozen in a moment
Chasing the sun so that it never sets

Poetry: Alarm

For about 12 years I spent two hours or more a day commuting to work, just sitting in traffic 10 hours a week, 40 hours a month!  This poem is a window into that “zombiefied” lifestyle, something I’ve been freed from for over three years.  How wonderful to have that time returned to me:

Watching the clock
waiting for time to
catch up with me:
Breakfast time.
Traffic time.
Working time.
Lunch time
More working time
Leaving time… finally here.
Time drags along
like a leashed cat
never taught to heel
Coming home late
the house dark
My kitchen smells like
the dinner missed
Opening a window
a breeze floats in
scent like rain on the black top,
dust and wet at the same moment
Pouring myself into bed
next to one already asleep
a new rhythm starts.
Breath bellows in and out
Fresh replacing exhausted
In a room absent of fluorescent
Moon glowing through
slits of blinds
patterns across the nightstand
where the alarm clock sits
Not a clock only
nor an alarm, but both.
It’s red eyes watching
as I toggle its hated button
Alarm clock: sound and visual aide
that announces my next destination.
A location I’ve purchased no ticket for
but a price has been paid.
Eyelids close
Mind opens
Dreams dreamt,
too quick to absorb
Time races out of the gate!
I am the slow one now…
5 a.m. comes too early.
Quickly get on the carousel!
Around I go into another day,
following the sun,
while wishing for the moon.