Monday, April 25, 2011

I lied when I said I don't write poetry...

... I guess I should say I don't write poetry per se...

As I've mentioned before, I try not to let this site become a place for me to unload my feelings. But I just discovered something I wrote in December of 2009. It's not a poem, it's not a story... it's more of a journal entry that is all mushy, gushy, and about my feelings. But it is relevant to the blog of a writer, because it is one of many, many notes and scraps and tidbits I have that I hope to one day piece together in some coherent fashion that pays adequate tribute to my mom, and to all of the other mom's fighting their butts off against cancer. And to all of the daughters holding their hands through it.

It made me sad to find this, but it reminded me that when I am ready, hers is a story that needs to be told. She was too amazing not to tell it-- I just hope I can do it better justice than this, but I was distraught when I wrote this... I have an excuse, really! ;)

I hope everyone had a good Easter, and that you avoid getting sucked into my melancholy, as it were. It's usually a transient phase for me anyway!
I can feel the grey of the sky seeping in. It’s on my coat, my hands, my face, as I struggle down the street, propelled by this guilt that has swept in so quickly. I shouldn’t have gone for a walk, no need to stretch my legs now. There will be so much time for that later. After.

The rain falls in fits and bursts, cold and shallow and angry. We are all torn, those of us that scurry down the street, between this primal urge to huddle together in some futile protest against the weather, and our lifelong training to walk with a purpose, head down, and keep from letting anyone unfamiliar into our world.

The familiar screech of an ambulance siren echoes down Baltimore Street like a drop of water in some dark cavern. I can’t help but shudder—how quickly I’ve learned to associate that sound with the dread of wondering if this is the moment when the constant flux, the wondering, ends and the grieving begins.

The square in front of the entrance is a buzz with the musings of these living dead. Can you spare a dollar, I’ve got to catch the bus. Everyone seems to be going somewhere, laying tracks up their arms.


The blood hangs scarlet from its perch on this dark pole. We’re sitting in the land of quickly worn Bibles and carefully veiled terror. Don’t worry, she says, today I just need blood.

Today I just need blood.

Half a world away, it spills on battlegrounds. We spend so much to kill, and fight so hard to live. I try not to think about it now. The irony is overwhelming, and I understand those dog-eared gospels. We all just want to know that someone gets to decide.

I remember my first trip into this jungle of IV poles. Here, poison comes in carefully weighed out pouches, bad news in rivers, and good news packaged with so many Surgeon General Warnings. Warning: Hope Has Been Known To Hurt.

Yesterday I shot the cork from my champagne across the living room, and cried freely over a perfect match. I grew drunk on this feeling, this knowing that we beat them, with their white coats and terrifying statistics.

And yet, here she sits today. I wonder at it now, the source of so much teenage angst, the target for my screaming and railing a mere decade ago, asking me to walk her to the bathroom. I hold her hand as she toddles, chide her for not bringing her cane, and despise myself a little for not knowing then that I would need her so much now.

The sobering news, reminder of that warning, perhaps I uncorked that champagne prematurely. I jinxed it. It’s an old trend, and so I should have known that being drunk with that power would mean this—they took it back. They added the “ifs.”

But now, the IV is beeping, the blood is done, and its time to head home. Give me your hand, I’ll walk you out. She has to stand on the corner while I get the car.

I watch over my shoulder anxiously before I disappear into the parking garage to make sure she is still OK. How many times did she do this when I was young?

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