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.



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.

Where I Found You

Taken when she was still trying to work while going through treatment for ovarian cancer.

In the early morning hours of January 3rd, 2015 my wife, Karen passed away from ovarian cancer. On this day, the eighth anniversary of her passing, I decided to repost this poem. While no relationship may be perfect, I’ve come to realize perfection is found in the things people share. Karen and I shared our love of dogs, so of course, in a dream, I met her as I walked the dogs, and one day I’ll meet her again, but when that happens, she’ll be the one walking all the dogs.


I thought to find you on the path
between the heather patches.
You were not there.
I thought to find you along the roads 
from here to other places I traveled,
but there were no traces.
I thought to find you along the routes
where I walked the dogs.
Of course, there you were,
ready to laugh and say they loved you best--
as you always did.
Taking treats from your pocket,
you fed and petted them.
Looking up at me, you said I had more
grey than last you saw, but it didn’t look bad.
Your idea of a compliment, I know.
I killed the weeds of anger over things like that.
Now I must learn to trim back the hedges of grief.

Get electric hedge trimmers, you laughingly said.
Then whispered I should learn from the dogs 
and you’d meet me along the path
between the heather one day.
And that was all.
You were gone.

The Dirt of Chimayo

Image is my own
As if you erupted
from an eternal spring,
an immortal thing,
I gave you away
when last I prayed
here at Chimayo.
When kneeling
I scooped the healing dirt
as I spoke silent prayers of thanks
for my heart bravely facing
shocks of resuscitation
after years spent
barely beating
in stuttering grief.

Upon return today,
I kneel to scoop
the healing dirt,
asking in silent prayer
a blessing of forgiveness
for giving you away
too easily—
thus, killing you,
bleeding you of all hope,
beyond resurrection,
beyond resuscitation.

In the dirt of Chimayo,
this healing earth,
from this place of faith,
sifted through my hands,
I bury you, a mortal thing,
I gave away too easily
to an undeserving faith,
in this dirt of Chimayo.

The Body of Christmas

Image courtesy of Patch.com

The body of this day scribed

in the giving of joy,

sacramental life found

in a bowl full of jelly

shaken by the deep belly laugh

of a white bearded fat man,

remember the truth meant

to be kept in the day,

so, turn in mind

to those who cannot share

in the giving abundance–

thus, are paid in the blessings

of holy lip service, the emptied garbage

to fill the landscape with

glittering wrappings of the day’s

leavings to leave a day

of a soulful mask searching for a soul

it lost long ago

in eternal hungering for fulfillment

never filled with ever more consumed.

Small Jars of Jam

image courtesy of https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/apricot-jam/
Your lies hang,

apricots swaying
in the summer air
from the tree
of your despair.
You pick the ripest apricots
to make jam
you ladle into small jars,
gifting them to friends
who smile softly,
touched you think of them
by gifting your small jars of jam
made from the apricots
you pick from the tree
of all your despair
denied.

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.

Twilight Days

image is my own

days spinning faster

now toward twilight it seems

hours before dawn

 

years ago hours

lived, died, born again screaming

before twilight’s edge

 

watch the dawn hours

spin, dizzy and drunk with years,

into twilight’s grave

https://godoggocafe.com/2022/11/08/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-november-8-2022/

Ghost Marks

Image courtesy of depositphotos.com

Before
morning,
she wakes,
adrift
still
in half-remembered dreams,
dirtied by ghost footprints 
upon the waking
to muddy tread marks ever present,
no matter the hours spent in scrubbing—
the marks indelible—
tattoos of mud.
Leave her to the simple tasks of morning,
to her daily reckoning,
preparations of covers and cases required,
all the hiding away,
layering as if for winter,
this bandaging of tender spots.

Orchid

Image courtesy of Orchidresourcecenter.com

My militant mind reels,

victorious over sleep,

now warring with the words—

I grapple, attempting to find

the right ones,

the ones I left behind in dreams

or at war with other chores,

so in these early hours,

during a brief cease fire,

I stop

watch the sky

begin to pink

in the east.

I do not want to wish

yet it is easy,

to think

to want

to believe

I have Samson’s strength

to break this encasement

of fear of longing,

this fear of loss.

Others say

nothing ventured

nothing gained —

I used to think that way

before the drought

came and withered

hope away before

any intercession

could be made

and that thing

inside became like

the stalks of an orchid

shedding the petals of spent,

exhausted blossoms,

thin and dry as parchment paper,

falling, drifiting to the floor,

leaving the stalk empty.

I may wish to reach my hand,

twitching with something

resembling longing,

to the eastern horizon,

where I imagine you

warm and dreaming still

but fear cements me still,

fear of longing

fear of loss

for that place inside

cradles no hope

for green stalks

holding buds

yielding blossoms.