In Limbo

Dancing towards me
He cuts in and I’m removed like a tumor
With his sharpened scalpel
Dripping with the blood of anger.
I do a lonely limbo for him
Bent under my fears and sharp pain
My back broken from comparisons
To exotic island breasts
Atop trained heel high legs.
Sinking into the dance floor
Until my excuses contradict
A low ceiling of clouds
Storming with incurable
Gusts of tropical disease.
My years carried off in
Leeward winds whipping
With purple gusts sounding
The melody of illness. I cast
Anchor over my bough
In the port of safe harbor
Where stillness and calm
Become a starry sky of remission.

Facial Blindness*

Her brittle old tortoise shell prescriptions
Blur a head of softly graying curls
He needs a cut, she whispers, always to herself.
Anyone in or not in the grocery store line that afternoon.
Cantaloupe, honeydew, whole milk
Lettuce heads and newly sprouted wheat, and
Baby spinach asleep in the sway of her basket.
A figure furiously waves from ahead of him,
As if he’s about to shoot the games winning point,
Calling his name
Louder than a fool.
God knows everyone by name.
No one knows how old a person grows
When you meet them again for the first time
Every day grows old the second time.
Meeting a mirror,
Waving at a mistake.

She imagined him drawing
On her insides by
Some mysterious ancient men in the caves
of France with
Sepia stick figures or during the war
Kilroy was here.
Words and pictures.
Guilty of cervical vandalism.
Warm looks exchanged and
Holding him in her
knowing glance,
“Mother, it’s you.”

*Prosopagnosia – a brain disorder of the occipital and temporal lobes that doesn’t allow a person to recognize another person’s face. It’s as if looking at someone through a dense fog. Helpful in recognizing a person by sight include physical quirks and traits, for example a severe limp, large glasses, a very tall person, or bright hair, etc. Without any guideposts even a husband can look straight through his wife in a mall and never know they’d passed one another at all. The poem imagines an anecdote related to me by an acquaintance of mine who has had prosopagnosia his entire life. He could not recognize his own mother in line at a grocery store after she’d gotten new prescription glasses and had forgotten to tell her son. And he’d forgotten to tell her that those old glasses were his only queue…

What’s Eating Me? What I Cannot Eat.

Webster’s New English Dictionary online
Definition of die, for English Language Learners:

  • to stop living
  • to end life in a specified state or condition
  • to have or suffer (a specified kind of death)

What happened to the singular of dice? Even Webster’s occasionally leaves out an obvious definition.

Eat. Even one meal a day to nourish my body and fuel my mind to stay alive and alert. I cannot eat hearty meals of rich tasty foods any longer. Once upon a time my tongue boasted the umami fifth flavor capability using rare taste buds that gave me the title of “celebrity chef” to friends and family. The Japanese describe it as a “subtle savory” and there’s debate among biologists over whether everyone genetically participates in the subtle delicate flavors. These days mostly soup – matzoh ball specifically – gets past my lips and all those inactive taste buds to settle in my stomach. My entire digestive system breaks down and becomes my canary in the coal mine of this body I so love and hate at once.

My intestines are akin to an old car’s cooling system. I know it’s time to get a new car but I love the old one too much to give it up. Pouring more money into it only gets me a few months or a year, or if I’m lucky, longer. But the fact is, deep down I know when it’s time to leave well enough alone and take that last long ride until the engine breaks down and even throwing money into it won’t save the beloved once reliable form of transportation.

Of course, how couldn’t I feel just run of the mill, three-letter “sad” sometimes. Yet I transform my sadness and anger in ways it’s difficult to understand unless you’ve a death sentence requires transformation into another more palatable emotion. Instead of running away from my disease I try to figure out how to strengthen my mind body connection. Still slightly uncertain of my feelings in these matters, I think I may just keep going and going until I cannot take much more or I become free forever. Philosophically, I believe we are not responsible for anyone but ourselves and that this very moment is the only moment that matters.

During the limited allotted time in our borrowed bodies, born to learn everything we can and until we must return the body to release our energy back to the universe where it originated. To think we are the same stuff the stars are made of and every atom was created at the Big Bang along with the galaxies and multi verses, the stars and novae, the planets and moons, humbles me with divine awe and I’m no longer afraid of anyone or anything. Especially not death.

Even with big, mind bending ideas as these, on a more pedestrian level, I have to say that having my parents both die within the past 5 years leaves me with a lonlely sense of not having a place to call “home” anymore. This is a most difficult predicament for someone who has tasted the sweetness of unrequited love. In retrospect I’m probably not alone in my contradictions and imperfections. At least I hope I’m not the only one with scars not afraid to show them to anyone with the courage enough to ask to see them. But just look closely and you’ll see my scars during a meal, my sleeves rolled up in anticipation of another digestible, soothing bowl of chicken soup.

I trip the light metastatic.