Monday, September 13, 2010

Third version and two pieces

xi. c.

I burnt down a small forest
I walked in a blizzard of pain
I wish you were here to tell me stuff

I'm putting it off
I'm coming around

There's somebody I need
to tell

You - aren't there
Aren't here

There's something that
I need to tell
aren't here
aren't there



Midnight loon
just you and me

So, finally, we've reached the end of the burnt forest versions and we can move forward in the bird cycle - tomorrow. But for tonight, because it's late and because I'm in the mood, I'm just going to enter a couple of new pieces.

Too late and tired for more narrative tonight. There's little narrative these days anyway. Just a lot of chemo and side effect management. Well, and squirreling...


the law unto

and the same
choice would
seem to be

willy nilly

time, memory and history

the little things
that make life
worth living

amazing, amazing


a week ago
from tomorrow

suppose there were
a way to find

nearly all
have faces

will arise

Good night to you. Sweet sleep.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I burnt down a small forest - version 2

xi. b.

I burnt down a small forest
I walked in a blizzard of pain
I wish you were here to tell me stuff
Oh what the hell, I'll just lie down

I made waves if the sea was still
We stormed into the rooms
My hands don't work
I hate it that my hands don't work

The turtles heard me and they ran
All over the world little doves cried
You're not supposed to say that
There's too much noise and it's mostly mine

These things bother me
once in a while

This is the second of three versions of this piece. This is most unusual for me, I am not usually inclined toward versions, as far as my pieces are concerned. Tomorrow's version, the last, is decidedly different.

Well, we'll see.

I am narrative-poor tonight, but wanted to post the poem anyway. There's tension that I can't cut through - a MUGA test tomorrow to see how my poor heart is doing with all this Herceptin.

We shall see.

Lulu chased squirrels today, in spite of the heat. I remembered Hunter's reminder: "Any day I take Lu squirreling is a successful day." There's more to tell about where this declarative came from. Tomorrow.

Let's just see, shall we?

Good-night, sleep well.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

For Lo

So, here we are, three days later, four? Well, certainly more than any lapse that I had hoped for.

I can offer excuses, I suppose. I can tell you the truth: that the Gemzar #2 session yesterday was a little more difficult than the first. I had a bad reaction at the end of the session: started by realizing that I was suddenly very, very tired, then weird sensations in the roof of my mouth, running up through my head, waves of nausea, chills. Quite unpleasant. And it was the end of the day - luckily two nurses, the pharmacist and my oncologist were still around. It worked out, they worked it out. It's ok.

But I was scared. And cried. And was embarrassed. And reminded how utterly powerless I am in this situation. They say, over and over, how strong I am. I do not feel strong. I feel weak and broken and afraid that the already existing damage to my body, the cancer damage, the chemo damage, the damage that my liver must have undergone even in the last two non-chemo years from the support medications, that all this will make it impossible for me to tolerate the chemo that I need to survive.

So, I'm afraid. But what happens, what actually happens, one day at a time, is that I do not fail, I tend to flourish. This makes no sense to me, but it's true.

I've been in bed for the last thirty-some hours, recuperating, gaining strength, trying to get nourishment past my mouth which, for some reason is in a ridiculous amount of pain, even though The Doctor was not impressed with the appearance. And I have been enjoying myself for some of that time. Michael made smoothies. Lauren brought the first disc of the Nova Earth series. Lulu is utterly, utterly happy that she can just lie next to me on the bed, belly-up, sometimes between me and Lolo, for god's sake! I mean what could be better than that?

AND, she got to go squirreling with Lo today. And in my notebook, on 7/15/10 there is a note, "Hunter says that I said: 'Any day I take Lu squirreling is a successful day.'" Yes, I did say that, and going out with Lo counts.

And then, on top of this entirely successful day, complete with a dinner of chicken and baked potato and broccoli provided by, enjoyed with and cleaned up by my most kind, generous and loyal friend. I mean besides all that and stupid jokes and chocolate and coffee ice cream and clean laundry - I mean good lord! - besides all that, I read some of my poems since the diagnosis to Lo, and she picked two to put in tonight's blog and I picked one, and that's what I'm going to do. And, then, tomorrow, I'll resume that bird book. I promise. So, here goes:

Three poems from these days

could you believe his

the birds need
to learn

just one day
just one


if art then not

these magical creature

I'm searching
for someone
who's missing

a fire escape
another way out

but the words
got stuck in traffic


What happened?
How did we come
to this world?

And he liked it
all the time
he liked it
the wet cold air

and he sangs
needless songs
always needless songs
once or twice a day

terrorizing villagers

incidentally you do

a planet plagued
by catastrophe

a time known as
the heavy bombardment


So, with that, with dreams of the time of the heavy bombardment, I'll leave you for tonight. Good-night and I love you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Too tired to title

xi. a.

I burnt down a small forest

I walked in a blizzard of pain

I wish you were here to tell me stuff

oh what the hell, I just lay down

I made waves when the sea was still
I stormed into the rooms
My hands don't work
I hate it that my hands don't work

the turtles heard me and they ran
all over the world little doves cried
You're not supposed to say that

There's too much noise and it's mostly mine

Aaagh who cares

Our eyes were branded by the news

Surely goodness and mercy reign

I wish you were here to tell me stuff

There's too much noise

but it's mostly...mine

This is the first of three versions of the "I burnt down a small forest" poem, xi. a, b and c.
Please don't ask me why. Maybe burning down small forests requires more than the usual attention. I don't know, I can't remember. I did give away a bunch of matches to my family today. No, I am not an arsonist, just a very incompetent consumer.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thank you for waiting


a silent reproach
a western tanager


these are what you're not
the Nashville rambler
the yellow breasted chat

what you were
that certain slant
that flash of gold
that daring high wire of a
power pole angel

talk to me
tell me a story of salvation
quote me scripture, I don't care
scratch at leaf-mold

crease the gnat-speckled air
and we might catch the
most elusive prey of all
until I have some hope

Sorry for the delay. I have been thinking about you all this time, and I wanted to get something to you, wanted to get this to you, since it is a little less bleak, and I think I owe you that. Or simply want to give you that. Anyone can be bleak right now, it's trying to catch these other moments...

Like yesterday when I was sitting in the chemo chair and the new chemo, the Gemcitabine, was silently dripping from the bag to the tube, through the tube to my port, from my port to the vena cava, and I knew, just in that moment, that I had hope again, that I trusted this Gem of a drug in a way that I could never trust the razor-bladed Xeloda. I knew, all in a moment, that I could live with it.

The chemo nurse, my friend C., had said, "We have people that have been living two years on this Gemzar." Two years! My old friend two years! That's all I want, just two years, an eternity. And I thought, "I can live with this."

I can live with this. I don't know how yet, but I know I can. So far, Lulu and I have done it by getting in bed last night, Friday night, and basically being there ever since, letting other people take care of us. "The main side effect is that your counts will drop," they said. My RBC (red blood cell) is already below the normal range - I'm anemic - but not below the cancer range. I can do this. My liver can do this.

I can do the dead-man's float.

More later.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This might have happened


this might have happened
and this might not
while you were out

be upstanding
as always

don't be afraid
of the jays

just let us love
as always

carefully concealing
the cries

waiting, waiting

laughing with jays
at the very idea

counting crows

this might
have happened
this might

while you were

the other shoe

be upstanding

as always
don't be afraid

be of good cheer

I'll start new chemo in two days, something called Gemcitabine. I mean really! Who names these drugs? They even sound heartless and cruel! But I am being self-indulgent and melodramatic and not respecting the superstition of the cancer-ridden - it can't be wise to call the substances that are saving your life, buying you days, "heartless and cruel." Right? I should be sweet-talking them instead. Ah, the brilliance of, I don't think I can pull it off.

I started to write about chemo, there are some things that I would like to share with you, but I think that I waited too late and am too tired. Everything I wrote was sounding brittle and defensive - not really the sound that I'm going for, in general. So, I'll just say good-night, for tonight and catch you tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For Carolin's morning


Around the spit
Sunday afternoon?


no, no, no

There's nothing left
but doggie sighs

Ich habe genug
Ich habe genug

I give you that

dear man

The thing of things
you gave me, us

Enough, enough

what is

Give them until
there's nothing

then everything