Tone Deaf

image courtesy of Etsy.com
Written as a response to the following prompt:
https://amanpan.com/2020/05/11/eugis-weekly-prompt-harmony-may-11-2020/

Harmony never made sense to me
And neither did melody.
Can’t tell the difference, you see.
No talent with any instrument.
A singing voice that’d send me
To some lower level of hell.
Well, I’d never play Orpheus,
That’s for sure.
And no matter what you may think,
You ain’t some worthy Eurydice.








 

Jagged

Written in response to:

https://onewomansquest.org/2020/05/11/vjs-weekly-challenge-95-bits-and-pieces/

Pieces broke away,
pebbles and stones
chipped from a boulder.
The edge of a pane of glass
broken off, no longer smoothly square,
but rough ridged like a broken thumb nail,
begging to be filed away.

Pieces broken away,
missing in wordlessness,
cannot be found.
Jig saw together the rest,
glue, duct tape,
what is left,
never to imitate new, unbroken.

Broken, hollowed parts,
make for an ever incomplete,
an always abyss
to fall headlong into,
always a scratchy roughness to scrape
a knee, an elbow, a hand.
Always a sharp edge to slice open
an abdomen, an arm, a femoral artery, a throat.

No. No. No.
Everything, everything
at once, best kept at arm’s length.
Never can such wounds be allowed
in the here,
in the now.

Early Morning Walk

Her Mona Lisa smile

Early mornings I walk my dog.

What a pair, what a sight we must make

in the early dawn light.

She, with her little legs flying,

her little French Bulldog smile–

Then me with my crazy, curly, too early,

morning hair and not enough coffee yet face.

As the cool sun, rising, greets

us with a loving grace,

no one would know

how my little dog schools me in life.

in her jaunty little prance,

in her little smiling face, looking up at me,

her joy, her pure delight

in the movement of her body,

in the scent of morning in the air,

in the gentle quiet of dawn upon us–

It is the moment,

Purely, simply–

The moment

Of being–

What’s in a Name?

I know it is no big deal to many of you who use your real names on your blogs. But I have used two pens 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. What came out of me for 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.

The Words

I
Words scattered across the page.
Words littering the soul.

All these words
Piled upon the table,
A hoarder’s table of words.

Words left unsaid,
Unwritten,
A bouquet of words
Wilting in the heart and mind.

Words twisted in contortionist meaning
Of manipulations,
Weaponized for destruction,
Yet leaving victims living.
II
Words of things that can’t be said.
Words of things that should have been.
Words of things we could not speak out of fears too deep.
Words of things we could not begin to understand
Of ourselves, of each other.
Words of things we wanted so to believe
Of others, of the world.
Words of hope
Of love
Of charity
Of peace.
Words of what we have lost.
Words of what we may never again find.
III
Words, words, words
Slipping through the fingers
Like water in a desert,
Dripping away, evaporating
Before they can be used.

Words, words, words
Twisting round the wrists,
Writhing up the arms,
Biting the face and neck,
Killing before they can be used.

Words, words, words
Left unread by faded ink,
Left unwritten by a tired mind,
Left unsaid by a fear filled mouth.

 

Desert of the Heart

originally published on http://Whisper and Roar.com

I snip the spent roses

From the bushes

And place the browned edged heads

Into this bag.

The bag is filled pink and yellow petals

Dried from the sun

Or beaten from the hail of thunderstorms.

I continue to the next bush.

Do the bushes feel relieved of a burden?

No longer having to spend energy on buds dead or dying?

Or do they want their dead and dying

To hold close and cherish the ending?

Would they rather have these old buds

Than the new wounds I have opened for them?

Is this the purpose of their thorns?

To keep the well-intentioned gardener away from their limbs?

A thorn snags my arm

And blood drops onto

The pink and yellow brown edged beaten petals

Like water in the oasis

Of this desert of the heart

In the Songs of Birds

When I was three,
My mother taught me to read,
And words
Became playthings and playmates
As I sat in the back of the restaurant
Watching her work her dream to death.

Later, as I grew,
Family losses piled, heaped
Weighty upon the shoulders of a nine-year-old.
Words became
Escape, shelter, survival,
A path out of destruction.

And so, words stayed
For more years than I’d care to say.

But now here,
Waking mornings,
Hearing birdsong,
Or in early evening,
The warm sun blanketing
My skin as I fill the birdfeeders,
I hear words in the songs of birds.
Silly though it may seem,
The cardinals have much to say,
“It’s cheaper here. It’s cheaper here.”
To “Pretty, pretty, pretty.”
The mockingbirds chatter away
Announcements of “She’s here, she’s here, she’s here.”
And I’m not sure which bird continually asks,
“Wanna see, wanna see, wanna see a receipt?”
All the while, the Blue Jays squawk away,
Warning all the others,
“Stay away! Stay away!”
Then in the chittering of the squirrels,
I hear the demand,
“Where’s the food? Where’s the food?
You let the food run out! How dare you?”
As they scurry away,
Pretending, at least, to be afraid of me.

Among all the noise and chatter
All the words of birds and squirrels
One word, never felt before now,
I feel move within my chest,
Peace.

Falconry

animals_hero_red-tailed_hawk_0 (1)

A screeching hawk climbs overhead,
Gliding, swooping in pursuit,
Her flight a perfect merger
Of beauty, purpose, and skill.

If only, if only
I could capture such a hawk
Train and bend
That beauty and skill
To do the bidding of my will.

Sent forth from my hand
In a powerful surge of wings,
Pummeling air,
Finding the perfect draught of air
To glide upon,
Turning, searching for prey,
Then sighting her trophy, her prize,
Sweeping down, a beat of wings,
A shift of body,
Talons extended,
What seems a pause,
A slowing,
Talons snatching,
Squeezing, sinking into a snake’s skin,
Wings beat, once, twice,
A cry as she lifts her body
And her limp prize,
Upon the air to glide,
Turning homeward,
The purity of her purpose,
A dance upon the air,
Done.

If only, if only
From my hand could fly
Such beautiful purity of purpose.

Splinters and Ash

 

Splinters these things:
A Cherrywood vanity
Of fine detail,
Queen Anne legs
And dovetailed drawers,
A square ring left in the surface of the finish,
Where perfume dripped down the sides
Of a stoppered crystal bottle;
A dull walnut jewelry box
With red velvet lined drawers,
An attached mirror
Makes it too large,
Ungainly, for today.

These things, leavings,
Leftovers of a life lived,
For remembrance, for reverence,
Symbols of the intangible
As spring greenery
Is glimpsed and seen
Through a sunlit dusty screen
On a late afternoon,
Containing a muted gold softness
One can never touch.

Lackluster as they are,
They are her, her leavings,
The leftovers of the grinding times
She spent between
Rocks and hard places.

You will have her splinters
And my dusty ashes:
A picture or two, photo albums,
Old fashioned things to look through,
No links to clouds but to history, yours;
Some pencil scratching and ink splatters,
Words hurled, tattooed, etched, brushed
Upon page after page,
Notebook after notebook,
Drive after drive;
Yet you will never know or guess
How many were destroyed,
Burned, ripped, broken,
All trashed over my years.

And if you should read my leftovers?
Press your lips together,
Drawing them thin?
Sigh and raise an eyebrow?
Roll your eyes then burn it all?
Or simply, send it all to the trash
In green plastic bags?
Or
Find one old photo,
one written line
Worth the keeping,
For remembrance sake?
Perhaps, perhaps

You will find something
Among my dust and ash leavings
Of the grinding times I spent
Between rocks and hard places
And view it
As spring greenery is seen
Though a sunlit pollen dusty screen,
Void of vibrancy,
But containing a muted gold softness
One can feel yet never touch
Then know my damning sin,
Like Jonson’s, “was too much hope of thee”
Then find your heart softened and free.