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.

 

Plantings

Image courtesy of https://www.mutualart.com/Artwork/Green-grapes-on-the-vine-with-morning-gl/0F474D245DD85FB8
I tire of seeing memes about having a positive attitude and choosing one’s feelings plastered
social media. It is no surprise our young people are in the midst of a mental health crisis when constantly bombarded with messages telling them, in essence, “The only reason you are sad is because you are making the choice to be sad,” or, (one of my favorites for sabotaging anyone’s self esteem) “You have a choice to make your day wonderful or not.” While such simplistic messages are well meaning, I believe they are sometimes extremely toxic. After all, what if your parent died on that day? Did you make the choice to have a horrible day? What if you go home to a toxic abusive environment? How can you choose to make your day wonderful? So before reposting those wonderful positive messages on social media, let’s all take a step back and think about what we are really saying to someone who may be going through something or in an environment where there is no choice in the matter but to feel what he or she feels. Let’s send messages that say it’s okay to feel what you feel and acknowledge it and to take time to feel it all,so something can be gained from it—a lesson, a positive action taken, whatever it may be, so we know our suffering was not for naught. Hence, this piece.

I gathered my despair,

my tears, my losses, all my grief.

Sat with each,

held them close,

let them dry,

waiting for spring.

 

When the ground warms,

softening, ready for tilling,

I will plant my despair,

sow my tears,

plough rows for my losses,

dig a hole deep enough to hold all my grief.

 

In the turning of time,

from the shrubs of my despair,

I will snip flowers and herbs

for healing others.

From the vines of my tears,

I will pluck the fruits and vegetables

to pile upon the table for all who need.

From the fields of my losses,

I will reap the harvest grain

to store for when a time of need arrives.

Finally, from the tree of all I grieve.

I will pick the sweetest fruit

of memory.

 

 

Tightrope

(Maria Spelterini crossing the Niagara gorge on a tightrope, 1876)
Image courtesy of
i.imgur.com



Since I drove right by it

on my GPS selected route

on my way to dinner

with friends,

I had to stop:



Here now— pulled over, paying reverence,

to time, youth, innocence, tragedy

When we loved each other

in this home we made together.



Here— this moment of reverence paid

unlocks the door of a room

where you are kept

preserved in perfection,

untainted by guilt

by tragedy

by the judgement

I rendered upon you

in my innocent ignorant self-righteousness

and so unleashed our tragedy upon us.



Now— could I travel that twisted high wire of time

back through the forty years

yet keep the wisdom of lessons

learned of forgiveness and judgment—

we would be young lovers

starting out again

and I would gift

you treasures of ancient gods and goddesses—

olive oil, an olive tree to plant,

casks of rose water,

roughly hewn amber, the mythic tears,

in which we could be captured.



I raise my head, turn my eyes to the road ahead,

locking the door to that place

where you are kept

preserved in perfection:

Sitting in the window seat,

your head tilted to the light,

sunlight glistening off your copper color hair,

smile wide as you lift your drawing pad
and pencil,

and begin to sketch,

your thin lovely hand floating
in movement above the page.

There,I leave you once again,

As I drive away.







 

 

 

 

 

Hardened Earth

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

dry, drought ridden earth

riddled with cracks inches wide

forms chasms decades deep

 

layered in dry dust

rising as rain pelts away,

determined to flood

 

chasms, erasing all cracks

but this earth is too hardened

unyielding to any rain,

seeking to soften hard soil

Crumbs

Inspired by this line from Mary Oliver

Feast not too often on meager crumbs of joy,

fallen haphazardly from someone else’s table.
Thinking yourself filled, sated,
you will find yourself crouching, smiling,
lowering your head to be patted by the hand
that cares nothing for you.

Then, when beaten back from the table,
you will scuttle away crouching low,
spirit yielding to fear.
But rise, rise then, standing—
staring eye to eye.
Lift your head and turn,
walk to new horizons.

There, build a table all your own
where you feast wholeheartedly
upon the delightful dishes of joy
you create,
inviting others to share.
Each one partaking in as much joy
as can be held
at your table
where no one
need feast on crumbs.

The Song of Cardinals

Image courtesy of Will’s Company
An early morning, dogs walked,

Time to sit. Read the news.
Enjoy a cup of coffee and listen to the birds sing.

A twenty-two year old woman falls into a coma,
dying later at the hospital.
The police say she suffered a heart attack,
claiming their goal was educational only—
to teach her the proper way to wear hijab.

Now in Iran, women
bravely cut their hair and burn their hijabs
in protest of Mahsa Amini’s death.

I listen to the songs of cardinals
as they come to peck at the seeds from feeders
swinging from tall shepard hooks in my neighbor’s yard.

My hands shake as I lift my coffee cup to my lips.
No power. My hands hold no power. My body holds no power.
No power to help the women of Iran. No power to protect them
from the brutality of the “Morality Police.”

I can not help but think of my own daughter of twenty three,
only a year older, just a year.
A moment of gratitude for her life,
For a moment, a sense of relief
that here in the U.S we have no “Morality Police”
Or “sharia” law— for my daughter’s sake….

But the moment of relief drifts away
on the song the cardinals sing—
We live in the state of Texas,
Which now holds dominion over her body.

My hands shake
Powerless at the moment
Only at the moment.
Power rises as does anger.

The state, the nation, the world counted on fear to make us powerless.
Yet now, injustices kindle the flame of power within us
And nothing can stand against us once we unite.

Bandaged, She Walks

image courtesy of drnimaplasticsurgery.com

Bandaged, gauze covered, blanketed--
now--

She never thought of bandages
until one wound oozed infection,
a malevolent fluid.

Thus, she learned of cleansing wounds,
bandaging them for protection,
changing dressings.

Twice, she thought her wound healed, scarred over,
rejoicing, removed her bandage.
Twice, her scar split open, infection returning.

Resigned, resolving to keep her bandage always,
Refreshed daily, keeping infection at bay.


https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/category/weekend-writing-prompt/