Unwilling to Laugh Alone


Product Description

poems by

Anne Kaylor

ISBN: 978-1-59948-545-4,  74 pages, cover price: $14

Release date: November, 2015


About The Author


Anne Kaylor strives to fit her full-time job of editing in between publishing moonShine review and savored moments with her husband, James. A conundrum of conservative and liberal thinking, Anne’s greatest passion is the release of words from mind onto the white expanse of the page. Her work has appeared in Pearl, Iodine Poetry Journal, THRIFT Poetic Arts Journal, Kakalak, and is forthcoming in The Main Street Rag. Her first book of poetry and photography, Floating a Full Boat, is available through Main Street Rag Publishing Company.


The poems in Anne Kaylor’s Unwilling to Laugh Alone are a tribute to the richness and wonder of our relationships. The sweep of a life unfolds in these pages—from childhood, through marriage, and into middle age—and all the wisdom that is acquired along the way. There is enormous empathy in this collection and a brave honest voice that admits, “I find I lost nothing today / and everything hurts.”  —Marjory Wentworth SC Poet Laureate

Anne Kaylor’s Unwilling to Laugh Alone threads around overcoming brokenness, both her own and that of loved ones. The childhood family is not a trouble-free zone but a “false sanctuary / from my terrors and tears.” In “Baking Bread,” the act of kneading helps a friend surmount the effects of chemotherapy. And yet “You stand again, find love again, / begin again.” In addition to a wide range of character portraits, several late pieces are humorous, including the sensuous “Foot Long.” The final result is “The Dance of Me”—“rising to that epiphany / of internal grace.” —David Radavich, Author of The Countries We Live In 

Reading Unwilling to Laugh Alone by Anne Kaylor is like sitting at the kitchen table with a family member, sharing secrets, woes, and hopes. The turns of phrases, the thoughts, and the emotions within the poems are familiar without being expected. As the author writes in her poem “I Eat Magic”: “You know deep down/we’re all kin in sufferin’.” Indeed we are.  —Malaika King Albrecht, Founding Editor of Redheaded Stepchild


Defining the Give and Take of Love


We don’t discuss sleeping arrangements,
our pain-imposed insomnias—my fear of dark
and its need for remembering, your fear of light
and how it embraces the future.

I love old things—a ghost-filled home,
plank siding, and mint-tinted copper roofs,
Grandma’s hand-made mahogany armoire
and Granddaddy’s ancient, overgrown azaleas.

You favor the new—fresh white walls and wide
walkways, polished pine beams overhead,
a smooth leather couch, and cleanly cropped
bushes bordering the lawn.

We share a lifetime through childhoods
declared in drunken passages and acrimony,
aspirations stolen by tragedies that plundered
your body and spirit, pillaged my belief in hope.

You and I don’t need to explain the way
my body fits in yours—and yours in mine—
our intimacies so priceless we protect
these delicacies by spending too sparingly.

I seize your sunrises, my moons
and put them away to live for tomorrow,
or else I’d never let go.


I Eat Magic


That ol’ coal illusion of control
don’t show my blood gone wrong,
but it’s there—a black plague,
masked shadows just under

the surface. I’ve tried witches’ brews
and toadstools, chased cures to rid me
of this madness of feeling. But what
ails me consumes me, fresh each time

you feel pain. I’m just a sieve
for every encounter. I can see
you don’t believe, but I ain’t here
to sell. You know deep down

we’re all kin in sufferin’. I see
it in your eyes—and you know
it’s the only way
to end clean.


Infusing Laughter


Annie was the only blue-eyed child.
My mother, not the eldest, was sixteen
and her youngest brother twelve when
Annie was born. Annie laughed
in the hospital. What if:

She’d carried that laughter home, sketched
grins on French faces previously frozen
in angry expressions. She diluted their
gruff natures, pacified their hot tempers.

Cradled in a sister’s arms at Sunday dinners,
she giggled as they grappled over potatoes
or beans, her amusement appeasing arguments
over blueberry or mincemeat pie.

Her Mumma and Puppa and siblings, reticent
to one another yet thirsty for her cheer, blessed
her confirmation at twelve and renounced their own
resentments as she chuckled her accord with God.

And the whole lot gathered for her graduation.
By seventeen, she soothed them to smiling,
their hostility surrendered, lineal traits
replaced by familial affection.

Annie was a changeling—contagious, infectious.
She could have affected their change. If only
she hadn’t coughed, choked on her own merriment
that first night—before she left the hospital—
already unwilling to laugh alone.

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