A Memory for Mother’s Day

this is a couple of years old but it’s one of my favourite “Mothering” stories

 

I married a bass player when I was seventeen.

He had such confidence. His presence filled a room. His laugh was beyond contagious. It cast a spell over you and you couldn’t help but laugh with him. He was sexy and funny and loved by everyone. I adored him. And I loved him long after we parted ways because we both left pieces of our hearts behind.

He was also one of the most talented musicians, singers and songwriters I have ever met and he gave me my little boy.

But this one isn’t about him really. It’s about me again.

One hot Oklahoma summer, a guy with a banjo and a guitar and a guy learning to play guitar and two hippie chicks, with long hair that would catch in the breeze and float like feminine banners to the Goddess, decided they needed a weekend in the country. We drove to Madill, Oklahoma. On a few acres of land was a dilapidated two room farmhouse belonging to the guitar player’s grandfather. We wandered the hills during the day, making grand plans of communal living with music and art and organic farming and ovens baking manna from heaven.

However, that night the two boys played guitar by the light of the moon and a few kerosene lamps while the chicks sang along. One of the songs they played was this one. They always played this one. The guitar player was a perfectionist. I suppose most good musicians are. The hippie chick with the long dark hair had a tendency to go a bit flat or run out of breath. It frustrated him.

So she learned how to stand perfectly still in the moonlight in a pair of low slung bell bottom jeans that dragged the ground, a thin magenta halter top that exposed her belly, her baby boy in nothing but a diaper perched on her hip with one hand reaching for her long dangling earring while the other pulled on her soft, straight Cherokee hair, and sing softly to the one being who possessed the most amazing ability to love her unconditionally.

And in that moment in a deserted piece of countryside under a moon filled, starlit night, with her baby in her arms, a shy mother sang to her little boy and the world could not have been more perfect.

 

 

 

 

More thoughts on blackbirds: Chemo ramblings

I think
but I could be wrong

It’s a hard choice to make

but I think
my favourite thing
about summer
is the sound
of blackbirds
singing
just outside
my bedroom window
early in the morning

They’re nesting
in the plum trees
just across
the road

and in my heart.

10 May 2018

A word or two…

I have started a number of posts attempting to describe where my head’s at these days but I get bored with them after the second paragraph.

They tell me cancer takes over your life. They’re not wrong but it doesn’t mean I want to talk about it. It’s just so boring.

Yet, it’s everywhere, impacts everything.

I’ll just say the chemo drugs and my body are not getting along. I have mysterious fevers and blood work indicating I’m fighting an inflammation of some kind but they can’t find a source.

Until those inflammation indicators come down chemotherapy has been deferred which means cancer has been given a reprieve which is depressing.

Unfortunately the high fevers are exhausting. I sleep a lot. I’m spacey a lot. I read a lot of poetry.

I find my writing a bit banal. I’m never happy with it. It seems off in some way. Sometimes I think I try too hard.

So I just read more and sleep more.

That’s where my head’s at.

Blessings.

William Shakespeare

Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday. Actually that’s not entirely true. We don’t know the date of his birth but this is the day we celebrate the birth of the Bard and also the day of his death.

One year I spent an entire day wandering the streets of Stratford-upon-Avon. It was Shakespeare’s birthday. In the  afternoon I sat in the garden of his place of birth and reflected on the magic of life and the adventures it affords us. And I took the photograph below.

Here’s a short song from Henry VIII that I like:

Song: “Orpheus with his lute made trees”

(from Henry VIII)
Orpheus with his lute made trees,
And the mountain tops that freeze,
Bow themselves when he did sing:
To his music plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.
Every thing that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads, and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
Blessings
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I married a man

I married a man
sixteen years ago

today

One day I left him

He let me go
and waited
and rescued me
over and over again

Now
I’m dying
or fighting death
hard
with more death

And I wonder
about Love
and constancy
and patient
persistence

Yesterday
I told a few people
who remember me
still
that sometimes
I think the true healers
are those
who can hold our hand
in silence

I’m tired
I’m tired a lot now

But there is a man
who never lets go
of my hand

And there’s a kind of
magic in that

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Finding yourself between the pages of a book…

“The shadow past is shaped by everything that never happened.” ~ Anne Michaels

My therapist gives me assignments. Sometimes poems to write and sometimes books to read.

We talk a lot about my cancer diagnosis these days. There aren’t many people that can bear talking about it. My thoughts and feelings have reached a crashing crescendo of intensity. Yesterday she said when you are faced with your mortality in the way I am, the sense of time just falls away. You are left exposed and raw. So I don’t talk much. I think and feel… quietly.

Yesterday I was told to read this book. “I think you will find yourself in its pages,” she said. It’s another kind of grace, I think.

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Another Word for Love

They say
that cancer
of the breast
is a path

you walk

The truth is
nothing
will ever
be the same
again

Maybe
nothing
ever is

It would be easy
to look at it
as just another
problem
to be solved
but there is
no solution

There is
treatment

It keeps you alive
a little longer

It isn’t a cure

there is no cure
for death

The truth is
we are always
walking towards
death

Cancer is
a not very silent
alarm
reminding us
the end of our path
is near

And so
all those things
we put off

Healthy foods,
exercise for the body,
solace for the mind
becomes a need
not a choice

And then
there are days
like today

Where I sit
slumped
on my old
beat up sofa
looking out
the window
at a gray English
winter day
with a bright red amaryllis
blooming her heart out

While my mind
catalogs memories
happy ones
forgotten ones
curious ones

but no sad ones
no angry resentful ones

They haven’t
been invited
to this party

With the pain
my mind tumbles
in slow motion

I remember
the smell
of a vegetarian quiche
and the smile
on my little boy’s face
and the feeling of pride
in my fatigued heart

and love

I remember love

This path
of the woman
with half a breast
is always moving
in the direction
of love

There is fear
and pain
and isolation
but always
the mind and heart
join forces
turning my face
in the direction
of love

This cancer of the breast
is just another word
for love.

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