*** 8/ 21/ 13
Another bit of consolation offered to the sick or otherwise under the gun, over the barrel, or against the ropes: "It's gonna get worse before it gets better."
Often, yes. See childbirth. Note Atomic Fireballs. Behold zombie outbreaks. But do not mistake it getting better for having made it through the worst.
A couple of months ago, I could not talk; I could scarcely swallow; breath was hard to come by; steps were of the baby variety; all manner of things were not well. But things got better. Now I can speak and be understood; I can eat and walk—though clumsily in either case. And a couple of days ago, an MRI showed that radiation and Avastin (fancy new chemo) have reduced the size of some of the tumors and some of the swelling has gone down.
Things have gotten better. Sometimes they do and stay that way. See a fine wine. Sometimes things get better then worse and so on before settling into good. Note the Star Wars films taken in order of release date. But sometimes . . . lick those fingers, the fan in the cash box is blowing, the bills are a'flurry, the crowd in the used car lot is counting down along with the clock . . . pay no attention to the clock, stuff those pockets . . . stuff them good and plenty because . . . buzzer! behold glioblastoma multiforme . . . worse, worser, and so forth.
*** 8/ 25/ 13
[a poem about the ancient and therefore reasonably tired poetic device of likening one's lifespan to the seasons of the year]
Ode on a Cold Conceit
So this is what it's like to be the embodied
Winter of a million verses: the stark deciduous--
Bald, broiling since summer; the mum come lately,
This is December, is it? One last solstice
Before the calendar flops, the last hooray
For Christ before the wise men camel-in—
Gifts in tow. What does a metaphor say?
Feed me my lines . . .
If not . . . peas and carrots, peas and carrots,
From paper to stage, paper to stage;
Horatio, it gets cold. So this is what it's like.
*** 8/ 28/ 13
As a poet . . . well, as a student and dabbler in a soon-to-be former life, I must say, indication of malignity aside, glioblastoma multiforme is a lovely pair of words. Of course not coming out of your doctor's mouth but just to let roll out of your own mouth now and then. More accurately, to let rise from breath to epiglottis then quickly from tongue-tip to tooth. The 'g' and the 'l' are such odd fellows--the first seeming ready to get googly if given another millisecond, the second coming to rescue with its lullaby capabilities. Those first two letters are nearly at opposite ends of the sound-sense spectrum—where our hard 'g' joins 'd' and 'b' towards the strong end (which is stoppered by those crowing bully twins the hard 'c' and 'k') and our 'l' sidles with familial ease into a liaison of 'm' and 'n'.
So pretty is this happy sounding union of ‘g’ and ‘l’, it's no wonder we are pleased to announce the arrival of our second syllable with a pleasurable 'o'. 'O'-- that ode to itself, prelude to some Romantic notion or mythic inquiry. Or, as in our present case, 'O'--that caught-breath to get us through the rest of the word, which we'll need what with the upcoming explosion.
Blast! A jarring syllable reminding us how we got to this frivolous discussion in the first place; we got here by a teeth-rattling diagnosis--the actual words spoken from the doctor's mouth indicating the malignity. Blast! But for the purpose of poetry, a lovely syllable generously donating its ugliness to the cause of our analysis.
As an English-major type in that former life, I will treat you to the following bit of extraneous jargon: juxtaposition. In real life, it means two or more things placed side by side. In literature, it typically means two or more things placed side by side to evoke stronger images by creating contrast or to subtly strengthen the rhetoric of an author's wonted perspicacity.
Bracketed by our restoratively respiring 'O's, the 'blast' ain't so tough anymore and is even more pacified by the final syllable, 'ma'--soft-lipped and maternal.
At last . . . 'multiforme'. A word so cool that when spell-check offers a perfectly acceptable 'e'-less version, it's says, "Thanks but no; I was born this way." A word so smooth it is both self-explanatory and ineffably mellifluent. A word so lovely I can almost forgive its pernicious implications.
*** 9/ 1/ 13
If I have seemed blithe as I wend my way through these terminal thoughts it is because I have always faced life with humor. Find the funny and speak it, do it; if possible, when speaking and/ or doing seems decidedly inappropriate, try to just think it, but don't hurt yourself holding it in.
If I have seemed unconcerned with the gravity of my condition, it is because the reality of it is like a slow leak into my comprehension, but the spigot is being turned by minute degrees and the pool of comprehension is widening and deepening.
If I have seemed unafraid, things are rarely what they seem.