Haunting seen In darkening clouds Of chrysalis dreams Where wanting, Where desiring, Haunt seen Cease existing-- In this capturing No ring pierced through Butterfly wings Dripping still From newly emerging Dreams not tended.
We thwart not the sun or the moon, the movement of planets, the coming of rains or drought. We neither thwart our birth nor death. We try to thwart what our hearts feel And the desires with which it plagues us, But our hearts feel and desire still. Even our tears cannot be thwarted-- though they may not fall, the tears fall unseen.
The Sunday Muse Challenge from The Sunday Muse
With my thoughts dried out,
cracking like the earth,
the seeds of some miniscule truths
take root within my chest
sprouting monstrous vines to wind down,
clawing into this cracking earth
until escape cannot be had–
the only tiny truth contained within the seeds,
the simple one of sacrifice
in the day to day.
I hesitate in remembrance
as if the fates would choose
a day of gray and leave me there,
as if a blossoming could be had upon
a second visitation to any day.
The creamer clouds disperse and swirl
in my extra strong coffee
like memories of things I wanted–
never had, never attained
all those years ago.
Stirring the coffee still,
I stare out the kitchen window.
Decide against a bird feeder
filled with black oil sunflower seeds.
I do not want cardinals here.
People say cardinals are spirits
of those you’ve lost come to visit you—
No. I want no cardinals here.
No spirits of the lost to visit or say hello.
No twittering or chittering away.
No vibrancy of color outside this window.
No. Not here. Not in this place.
I’d rather this be a spiritless place,
A virgin place, void of spirits, void of touch—
At least for a time
In the fading light,
My hindsight schools, lectures, drills
In how to take steps,
In how to look away,
In how to live hopeless,
In how to heal with saltwater dreams
Overflowing with hope.
Yet still with foresight
In how to guard,
My scars, my wounds,
My picked at scabs
fading light of days
Flowering with dreams,
Of life remaining.
What a sight the years have been!
Skipped a few heartbeats
walking through the valley,
found nothing new.
I sailed an ocean
didn’t dance as I’d wanted too.
In the desert,
I played a little poker,
winning the game, some money,
but still didn’t know what to do.
Then I thought I’d found a dream,
waking from the nightmare,
I screamed to see
the sight beside me.
Now, I journey onward
to catch the sunlight
as night meets day,
greeting what new sights
I encounter along the way.
My lessons in listening:
To a mother’s final words—
Always remember I loved you and was proud
Tossed off, too rushed to leave work
To get to the hospital, to see her,
Always thinking of more days, time.
Not thinking all I’d see,
Her dead eyes.
To all my dogs– little tells
Of cocked heads, whines, barks,
The ways of wagging tails,
To know what meant what–
Hunger, pain, desire to play,
A need for love or to go outside.
Those I’ve always learned well.
To students, the teens I taught,
A puzzle to figure of pieces and placement
What each meant for each—
The lift of a shoulder, how the eyes met or did not meet mine,
The head upon the desk, the work done or not,
The things said, not said—
To figure needs-
Some basic, some not so,
Requiring other safety nets,
Bruised and broken,
Some I could help repair.
I knew what to listen for,
Almost by instinct,
Since I had not been listened to
When I was one of them.
To my child, a whirlwind of cries,
Hunger, diaper, cold, hot, sick—
Each cry different
A knowing, animal instinct,
Some primal thing beating
Inside knew the way
Of my infant’s need.
When a teen—
A different thing,
A new species of need,
My animal and her animal
Had no common language
Of smells, signals, or cries
In the darkened tunnels
We went through.
To my dying wife, my dying wife—
So hard to listen to, to understand
a language no longer including
My daughter or me.
Never knowing for whom
The last coma spoken words–
I’m sorry, so sorry—
Now, I learn the final lesson of listening,
A lesson sixty years in the learning,
To myself, my own heart, my own soul.
The guardian watches the sea,
For the return of old ones
Who long ago slipped away
Out to sea, speaking
Words of promise,
Words of return–
Not unlike your words to me.
Like you, the old ones
Will not return,
Lost in an ocean
Of time long forgotten.
They found new homes
Where to light their fires,
Burning away old, shriveled desires,
Burning away the salt of the sea,
And the dirt of old known shores.
The guardian waits,
Like a widow upon her widow’s walk,
Staring out to sea.
But as I have finished waiting,
I must walk away.
I know it is no big deal to many of you who use your real names on your blogs. But I have used two pen names since starting this blog shortly after the death of my wife. I was still teaching, and my daughter was still in high school. Although the LGBTQ community has made great strides in being accepted by society, there is still prejudice. Being in education, I still had to be careful. Additionally, much of my writing comes from my experiences. Hence, some of my work centers on my daughter. Therefore, I wanted to protect her privacy as well. However now that I am retired and after lengthy consideration, I have decided to dispense with the pen names I have been using. I changed the domain name a few months ago when the old domain encountered issues with being shared on Facebook. I never did figure that problem out but changing the domain which included my real surname fixed the problem. I believe it was the April Writing Prompt Challenge—I am more than Breath and Bone– from Christine Ray, Brave and Reckless.com, that provided the impetus which spurred me to use my real name. The poem that came out of responding to that prompt was a recognition of what my mother and foremothers have done for and given me. I have tried to raise my daughter to be proud of herself, her family, and her two moms. If I hide behind a pen name, am I teaching her pride? Am I doing what my mother and foremothers have done for me? If I hide behind a pen name, am I “holding up the mountains” for her as was done for me? But I needed it to be okay with her. So, I asked her how she felt about it. What if her friends stumble across some of my work? What if they saw something that was about her? She responded with complete honesty and clarity, “Well, Mom. It’s your writing. If they do, they do.” So, with that, my name is Annette Kalandros, and I will be using my real name from this point forward.
I can hide in catacombs of colors and never look to the sky.
My blood shed, bled out in tiny droplets of all the years of parting,
dripping, draining in the darkness
And carried away, scattered to the winds,
Leavings upon the ground, seedless seeds,
Sprouting up in colorless flowers of summer without colors,
Without the dreams of sunlight on their faces,
Without fragrance sweet, divinity in scents we can never forget lost.
We learn to live with regrets taken, earned, packed away
With the mortgage of things within our hearts, within our lifetimes of meaning,
Within our trying just one more damn time,
Drifting up in clouds of long-ago cigarette smoke.
Crush this dried out husk of me,
Scatter those particles of dust to the wind
And see if colors sprout once that dust settles upon the ground,
See if there’s meaning left within their regrets,
See if there’s fragrance, some elegance of divinity within a scent
To be remembered when there is nothing,
Nothing left but this wisp of memory
Within your breath.
Let go my hand, love. Leave me wrapped in the shroud
Of all my days and regrets shared along the way
To here, this time of parting. Leave me to hide away
In this catacomb of colors.