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.

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.

 

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.







 

 

 

 

 

Should Not Have

Image courtesy of brecks.com
https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2020/06/06/weekend-writing-prompt-160-kaleidoscope/
Write a poem or piece of prose in exactly 23 words–Kaleidoscope

A woman once held a kaleidoscope to my eyes.

I, like a child entranced, fooled by a prism of colors,

Gave my soul away.

American Dream

America, we never were a great nation.
Not with the genocide of native peoples, slave auctions
And slavery, Jim Crow, The Trail of Tears,
Japanese Internments, and the KKK.
No, we were never great.
We are always a nation of becoming.
A nation of ideals.
A nation great in flickering moments
Like old news reel footage:
When Harriet led her railroad,
When the suffragettes marched for the vote,
When Rosa would not be moved,
When Martin believed in the one day
Every child would have,
When Edie and Thea showed
Marriage should be defined by love,
Not biological gender.
We are a people of hope, of dreams,
Of knowing life would be better
When we made each other great.

Now, hate ripples from one sea
To another, and neither shines any longer
With Liberty because her torch
Grows dim with this reign of hate.
And there are many who want to forge once again
The chains to her ankles, shackling her in place,
Because they want to keep her,
But just for looks sake. Her mate, Justice, remains
On life support, having been beaten to a bloody pulp
By those who see color, who see gender,
Who see all the women who need
To be put in their place,
Who see a society where Justice serves only
The white Christian right, or rather, where Justice is made
Their slave. No, this is not a great nation.
This is not a great nation
When a leader can bully and spew hate
While the First Lady urges kids
“Be Best” in a limp campaign to not do the same
And few mention the irony.
This is not a great nation.

This is not a great nation
When a leader can urge violence
Against the media, immigrants, those who disagree
And so few carry an outcry.
This not a great nation
Where 18 trans women, 17 of them of color,
Can be murdered within less than a year
Yet our highest court must hear how
Laws do not apply to LGBTQ.
No, this is not a great nation
When so many must blame, exclude, and hate,
When so many must abase another to uplift themselves,
All the while professing Christianity.

Our founders gave us rules of law to make us better than this.
We are not a great nation
Until we realize the American Dream
Doesn’t see color or gender,
Doesn’t see race or religion,
Doesn’t see sexual identity,
Until none of us need to stand on the backs
Of others to feel better about ourselves—
Until we realize the American Dream is freedom and equality
And there is enough for all to go around,
We can not be a great nation.

But the greatness in our nation is this:
That we can be
If we recognize our humanity.