The Last Poet Standing

For Melissa Blank and Ben North 


Lasting longer than the rest
The final poet stood up
Amidst thousands of books
Burned down around her feet
Now ashes to ashes, now complete.
Dust to dust sunrise to dusk
She asked the gods to slip
Into her mind what she couldn’t find
Descriptions, colors, thoughts
Flowers she’s never seen, people she
May never meet.
And instead of bursting into flame
The room cried a storm of tears
And their ashes washed away down to the street
Where they sunk into the earth
Melting the soil leaving only
The voices behind with her to hold.

Yet only the words “death”
And “afraid”
And “cancer”
Came instead.
She cried out loud
“You don’t even know me, yet you defend me.” Pleading,”please. Give me back my words, please.”
Their brilliant brains battered them.
Now in their silence and rest,
The fates leaving her alone to give some reason.
Resonance of what happens now,
What do we do today
Now they’ve gone away.
A child asks these stupid things
Adults respond without a clue
Nothing to say, less they can do.
Yet,
She persisted and insisted on their behalf.
It’s no good, to herself again
Another crumpled page atop
The mountain piled high.
That night she sat
Opening and straightening and reading
But throwing each into the stove.
Her words cremated and remain forever unheard.
Her heart beat hard in her chest
Under the thousand pounds of weight.
She’d heard a ton of stones
Weighs exactly the same as a
Ton of feathers,
Rocks kill quick
While feathers from an unseen bird
Float into her mouth taking her breath and
Slowly suffocating the poetess.

The world turned again
And written in her hand the morning after
She picked up the papers reading
Only “death” and “fear” and “cancer”
Not one the right answer.

The poem, it’s complete
Yet one simple question remained
Unanswerable. What’s there to gain
By knowledge, here anyway?
But why choose me?
In her head a baritone voice said:
“You tell me why.”
And then she did.

This video dedicated to Melissa Blank whose death took a toll on me – not nearly what her husband and loved ones feel…but doesn’t every death from cancer feel harder and more personal the longer we go on with our own diseases? Thank you Rudy, for your friendship and for these memories for us for everyone when we die, too. Cancer friendships burn fast and bright and I’m grateful for ours. The Brain Cancer Diaries Music Version Stevie Wronder Higher Ground

Findness

“Let go of your ego.
Send it up up and away!
For a while, anyway.”
Opening my each
Of my eyes I wonder
Did anyone even notice
I’d gone up
Ascending into the clouds
Like a bird or a plane.
I’m looking down
At unmapped topography.
Memories of me:
Images of a wolf running
Through unknown forests
Below the tree canopy;
A blue heron
Flying from the pine tops
Without much energy.

Alone I melt
Like ice cream
In a root beer float.
Red polkadot swim suit,
Yellow rubber bathing cap
Careful eyes look out
Upon blue pools.
Back in the days
When the evening news
Was on paper and
When a date meant
Sipping from the same
Soda with two straws
Across a white and
Gold booth table.
As our eyes lock over the
Last sip, how the
Sweetness lingers
At the tips of your
Tongue and fingers.

I search for my
Self in the daily mirror
But the image is
Backwards and not
Of me. So I peek behind
The frame for a part
Of myself I’d left for dead.
Forgetting to write up
The homework of my experience
Innocence in ink,
Double spaced on lined paper:
My interview and questions.
I won’t forget to
Acknowledge and thank
you in my notes.
But the postcards sit
Unstamped and unposted
I’m at home, heart forever
Elevated above my head.

Dense Breasts

Recondite illnesses of fateful obscurity

A snowball in a snow globe seen yet difficult to see

Unusually dense I failed each test

Winter settled in leaving flurries in my chest.

Scratched and scarred and moored by a port

I laid there waiting in pain and contorted.

“Go home get your affairs together.”

But there’s too much to tend to, my nest still to feather.

A future unknown with three tumors unseen

Cut my life down the center right in between

My eyes through the site of a two barreled gun.

The results signed by a doctor reads, “yes my PET, life’s over and done.”

But I raced away until I could no longer breathe

And decided that my life was too valuable to concede.

But when density was a meaningless number

Nothing to report no information for the owner

Secrets and lies and then one day a surprise

When the ultrasound found what the snow had disguised.

So here I sit nearing six years later

Among my affairs and hoards of paper

I decided that day I wasn’t through living.

And not doctors or nurses but I who needs forgiving.

It’s no ones fault when their born to possess

Two ticking time bombs planted in their chest.

There’s a gene a mutation that no one can find

So my kindred spirits in body and mind

Please look at me, doing well enough I hope

It’s cancer – not God’s punchline to a killing joke.

/https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2020/10/19/your-daily-word-prompt-Recondite-ydwordprompt-October-19-2020/