It is the official release day!

Cover designed by Tara Caribou
It is the official release day! I’m honored and grateful that my friend, Candice Louisa Daquin, “gently” nudged me to do this.  Additionally, I am indebted to Candice for believing in me and for her diligent work in editing.  Thank you, Candice. You are one of the most giving people I know.  I want to thank Tara Caribou of Raw Earth Ink who has been patient with this novice at every step in the publishing process.  

https://www.lulu.com/shop/annette-kalandros/the-gift-of-mercy/paperback/product-qv9e7w.html?page=1&pageSize=4

https://www.amazon.com/Gift-Mercy-Annette-Kalandros/dp/B0BJYJTG5Z

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-gift-of-mercy-annette-kalandros/1142590195

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63030682-the-gift-of-mercy

I also owe a debt of gratitude to Susi Bocks,
Ivor Steven, and M. Brazfield who were willing to provide advance reviews on short notice. Thank you so much.

Nothing Ephemeral Exists Here

on the first year after the Uvalde mass shooting

Image courtesy of The Texas Tribune
All shapes of brutish violence,
written in sprawling spray
of innocent blood.

Did Eden ever exist?
Every rain of bullets instills doubt.

Pray heaven exists
for the sake of parents grieving still,
their children, bloody sacrifices
on an altar to the 2nd amendment.

Hair (Part One)

Image courtesy of Healthline.com

Women, we are tortured by our hair.
It is never what we want.
It never obeys our desires.
A mischievous heathen,
it laughs at our attempts
to bend it to our will.
We grow it, cut it, dye it,
curl it, straighten it,
treat it with carcinogenic chemicals
to beat the mischief making
blasphemer into submission.
All the while, it laughs at us
as our enemies, humidity and wind,
destroy in seconds the cooperation
we thought we’d earned
with our torturous machinations.

Hair:
Too thin,
Too thick,
Too curly,
Too unruly,
Too straight,
Too limp,
Too frizzy,
And the color—
Too…too…too…too-too little
and too-too much of everything—
Never exactly as it should be.
It will not follow our will.
Pull it into a ponytail.
Shove it under a baseball cap or a sun hat.
Why don’t we just shave our heads
And let it be done?


This woman’s crowning glory,
a temptation enough to make angels fall
from the heights of heaven at the sight it,
necessitates head coverings and wigs for women,
according to some.
After all, who wants it to rain angels
into the streets of the world?
That’s a sight I wouldn’t mind seeing
since I’ve got questions for those angels.
For one, why do women have to help angels
control such lusty impulses?
But I digress as I begin my morning battle
with my own head of hair.


















Cruelty of Spring

(Photo by Nicole Hester/The Tennessean via AP) courtesy of Journalrecord.com

 

April,

spring,
green,
a time of renewal,
life begins, grows,
days warm,
April, the month of poetry,
inspiration to be found
watching nature as she yawns,
stretches, rubs the winter’s sleep
from eyes closed against the cold—

Then why am I cold still
this April morning
as i sit
and sip
coffee
this fine sun warmed
April morning—

It is—
The three children of Covenant school,
The nineteen children of Robb Elementary,
The children,
The children—
All the children who knew terror
in the final moments of life.
All the children who live
now knowing the horror
of seeing classmates, bloodied, dead and dying
on the floor of a classroom.

This warm sun heralds spring’s return,
life’s renewal, the earth’s promise,
yet I can find no warmth.

Seeking

image courtesy of WP library
I fled from days

of standing under your patchwork roof
offering no protection from the rain,
least of all my own rain pouring out of me,
threatening always to drown in its leave taking.

So I learned to float, flowing along the curves
others presented in my efforts to find
time, love, home,
the back roads where berry bushes
grow in abundance.
Yet I never tasted,
never picked any berries,
fresh off the branches.
Instead, I always found
the snakes hidden, lying in wait
beneath the berry bushes,
for the seeking,
and I, always bitten,
never learned my lessons
of serpents who lay in wait,
or the lessons of Eve,
I still sought,
in spite of the venom,
in spite of the bites—

I found the rains pouring out of me
once again
to travel on
seeking

Like Old Photographs

Image courtesy of expertphotography.com
If only life could be lived 

in shades of black and white
like those in old photographs
where shades of sepia
and the spectrum of white to black blur
edges, cracks, crags,
definitions, delineations
to softened
airbrushed edits
of reality
leaving me able to fall
from the greatest of heights
to land softly
upon a loosely inflated mattress
no bruising, no bone breaking,
no soul shattering hard surface landings
in a life lived in shades of black and white
and sepia
where the sharp edged colors of harness
wash away.

Prism





Image is my own

washed clean

in orange sunsets

drenched by

lavender sunrises

so the dust

and the grime

can no longer

cling inside or out

of a me

freed, freed

of all of you

I am the prism

of beauty

I always was

yet never was

with you

What Moses Must Have Felt When Looking Upon God’s Back

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

This is an older poem that I’ve dusted off and changed around a little. The end is entirely new but in keeping with the hike in Colorado that inspired it. I was so struck by seeing the one tree leaning upon the other I did not think to whip out my phone to take a picture of the sight. In that moment of observation of the trees, it seemed a violation to do so.


In the woods
two trees stand,
equally rooted,
firmly in the ground.

Yet, as if deciding
it a curse of solitude
to try and touch a Sky
who never reached back,
one turned 
to touch the other,
leaning its trunk
against its forest mate’s.

And so, I found them,
standing as lovers,
one resting upon the other,
limbs entwined in embrace.

I lowered my head 
out of respect mingled
with a bit of embarrassment
at glimpsing their
beautiful intimacy.


I  turned,
walked down the trail,
crunching dried leaves
beneath the fall of my heavy boots
as I continued on among the trees
in  silence and solitude.



Freed

Image courtesy of http://www.allthatsinteresting.com
As a child,
I survived the explosion of dreams
that left hot greasy remnants
dripping down the four-inch squares
of avocado green ceramic tiles,
marring their mirror like shine.

As a grown woman,
I survived the eruption of dreams
that poured down an encasement of hot ash
over all of life’s plans in the moment of diagnosis,
leaving monumental statues of grief.

Thus, I chose to live
where silence drones,
a rumble in the ears.
Nothing left--
a hole, a void
made by echoes
of desires held long ago.

So, I have taken a corn broom
to dance with me
in time to music
only I can hear
to sweep away the dust, the cobwebs,
the fuss of other’s opinions and ideas
of me, my doings, my words.
Yes, from my words,
I shake loose all the years of dust,
the years of ash, the years of grease.
All words, oh, so many words
I never loosed upon the air
to float free upon the winds,
tumbling away, up, around,
then returning once more
to spring up as wildflowers
when things turn to green.

I begin to loose them now,
freed to scatter where they will,
root, spring up where they
find a place to rest.

Time of Year

It is the time
of grey skies
and dead brown grass
along the roadsides.
The time when the trees
are seen shivering,
their limbs quivering in their nakedness.
When even many of the evergreens drip down
brown, bloodied from the lethal knife wounds
of a sharpened frenzied freeze
as they sag into their deaths.
Yes, it is that time of year
when I yearn
for the green of spring,
for limbs to wrap myself within,
for a renewal of promises
I once longed to make.
The time of year
when I empty forty years
of myself.

Why I Have Always Wanted to Learn the Art of the Potter’s Wheel

Image courtesy of FireGallery.com
clay slapped on the wheel
shaped from spinning motion with
the control of hands

form, substance given
before the heat of the kiln
then give years of care

secured from breaking
ends in sharp edged shards broken:
mosaic in form