Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Cancer Chronicles, part one

Sunday Morning (a day in the life)

The radiator spews heat and
there is no cool  breeze
coming through the window.

Shifting between time and days
I am unable to make sense
of the days,
Having been trapped like a bug
in amber

The bed sticks to my thighs
as if encasing me
in the slow drip of time,
A thick gush of resin
suffocating me.

No blue light of dawn
wakes me gently,
But rough transitions
of light to dark
with no twilight song
to welcome me

No pink tides across the sky
No violet hues or powder blues.

My legs stiffen and swell.
My movements stiffen and swell.
There is no release.

It is like glass cracking
beneath my skin
Creating a mosaic of flesh.

The hair on my body recedes
like an old woman
balding from head to toe,
A rapid demise of youth,
now just a memory.

Re-entry, Stage 4

Here is the prisoner of Cancer
unable to free herself
despite good behavior, and a
plea for pardons
sent up on the voices of prayer
by family and friends, and
even the most innocent of children.

We do not bend over and spread
our ass cheeks in search of contraband
But we are naked and exposed
Standing helpless as
not-so-magic markers
define the areas that will be incised and
Leaving your chest flat and scarred and
seemingly Cancer-free.

And yet
The doors don't open,
the prisoner must return
after months of freedom,
Suddenly unable to defend herself
to even the highest court of God and
all his angels.

The cell grows smaller,
Spaces close in
as disease overtakes the prisoner,
Bit by bit
Encroaching upon her Lungs
with  no space to breathe;
Occupying her bones and
replacing it with pain
Like a punishment
for crimes
She can't remember committing.

Appeals fall on deaf ears,
Bones grow more brittle, breaking
her will to live 
at times, 
in this small box of lies.

"There must be some mistake" she cries.

"No', they say, 'We found new evidence
(of disease)  -  You're a Lifer now,
like it or not  -  Join the others
on Stage 4."


  1. I can never or will I ever understand this disease that has taken and stricken too many of my friends. This month is two years since I lost my girlfriend who was like a sister to me. I raise money for Making Strides each October and used to walk at Prospect Park until my knees gave out. My prayers are with you Barbara.

  2. Wow. Very powerful Barbara.

  3. This is such a perfect description, as best as I can understand it from where I stand at the moment. Well done, Barbara. <3 Hugs.

  4. Ahhh, now i breath after this, an escapee, but only for a time. This voice you have found now. Found in slow painful days of starkness. Flies on electronic wings. Corwin it calls a wailing wolf in the wild, I have found it, it is here. Come, come to the feast. There will be black feathers and red blood scattered in the snow. This is what we know. A binding without end. A bright spirit that insists on speaking. Clarity barred from action. Buddha torn apart by unknown demons in the bones. I wrap a dark wing of comfort round the wolf to no avail.

  5. Barbara 💜
    Your expression is haunting in its stunning detail and ironic richness, if this struggle can ever be called anything rich. I am so sad and sorry you are enduring this. It is so unfair. I hope you can and will keep writing and sharing. It is a gift to others, unfairly earned.

    I hope you will not be alone through this ever.
    Love always


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