This painting of Shannon is by celebrated artist, Attila Richard Lukacs
I thought today of an old friend and fellow Poet, Shannon Hamann.
Shannon was some other creature than you or I.
I have never known anyone like him and I never will again.
He died in 2004,
Everyone who knew Shannon was changed by knowing him.
He lived by his own rules and he shared his heart and his Wild with all of us.
I remember receiving the call about his death.
I carried that call for months not knowing
how or what to do with the loss.
We had not seen one another in years
But the time we spent, with a group of artists and writers
talking, dancing, sharing what we had
and not despairing of what we didn’t
left an imprint on me.
I learned from you about letting go of inhibition. I learned from you about not giving a Flying Fuck what anyone else thinks. Thank you Shannon, you were one of a kind. You will never be forgotten. The stories we share keep us all sane, no, not sane. Wild and Free and sometimes naked in the woods running, jumping, singing…
Sometimes naked and thinking always of you.
Rest in the Peace of your Special Kind of Wild my Friend.
With Love, Memory and Gratitude,
(I was not know as Jennifer only as J, back then in that special, special place)
- Shannon Hamann
Death is stubborn this year,
and by now has shed all its christmassy vanity.
The sky is painted a plain Jane shade of heather and the mercury is shy—
Spring has come only to the calendar,
but this is rebirth North Dakota-style:
The newborn is born ugly, shivering or born dead
or not born at all—
all just to illustrate the ignorance of certainty?
An iced-over stew of last year’s leaves lines the gutters.
Last summer’s wishes for temperature plunges come true.
It is colder for expecting warmth.
Buds don’t bud.
Daffodils don’t daff.
Heather doesn’t doesn’t. Tomato
plants panic and die and shrivel and rot and go away.
It is the time one finds a spot of blood on an egg
and one is tired of seeing one’s breath.
My sister writes she’s been crying a lot lately.
Trees don’t fatten.
Birch bark flakes and birds huddle and cry.
The cat doesn’t shed—he knows.
The water in the glass an elderly neighbor leaves her teeth in
has cooled cooler still overnight and the set of teeth
shocks her gums in the morning and sends a chill through her body.
Not nothing, but less yet—
there, in the shame-filled room,
spilled children, there, at the writing table
the muse implodes—
It is the time when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts that would make a whore puke.
On Easter, my own grandmother dies.
I cook a plum jam-glazed and unlucky turkey
(who does not see from the standpoint of Christian Orthodoxy)
which friends do not make it over to eat. This is snow country.
I write my sister to tell her that I’ve been crying a lot lately.
God is crucified, dead, and buried.
The ground is frozen but He needs no gravedigger.
God is cruel. He prefers to sleep.
God is a coward. He prefers to sleep.
For His is the kingdom of indifference,
And ours is frustration,
The ground is a gizzard gravy gray-brown .
The only green grass is Easter Grass
from Eggsville, USA (discounted at Reliable Drug).
Buds don’t bud.
Cocoons don’t open.
It is the time when everything is restless.
It is the time when we hear the wind wander under the window,
and we whisper back, “Defrost, defrost. Awaken,”
and we hear in our minds
the tiptoe step between self-sabotage and self-murder,
and we hear the choice echo, “which one? Which one?”
It is the time when you realize, my God,
death is the meat and potatoes; life is gravy.
A squirrel throws itself against the back porch screen door
and you realize
It is time to take everything you ever thought and stop thinking it.
A deer starves
And we hear the mind.
Shannon Hamann Facebook Tribute
Shannon Hamann’s Poetry
Shannon Hamann’s Academic and Professional Honors