a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Big C

A man drives up
drawing deeply on
his last cigarette
before he joins
the room of people
with one thing in common
The Big C

From young to old
they sit as if alone
not sharing
No comradery here

Angiosarcoma
Testicular
Ovarian
Melanoma
Colorectal
The words lay
in the middle of the room
no one wants to own them

I imagine
what might be said
"I lost my breast"
"Damn stuff took my balls"
"With only one lung I still smoke,
yep, one after another"
"Gotta die some way.."

They didn't get to choose their death
unlike suicides of great variety
Through little fault of their own
Cancer chooses them
as if a Grim Reaper's
bony finger of death
points
you by cancer
  and you
     and you
        and you

The room of silent people
solemnly wait for their trials
and their sentences
"Two months"
"Nothing we can do"
"Remission"
The Grim Reaper
stands here unseen
but they know
his name is Cancer

Poets United

36 comments:

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Always such sadness associated with this word..it's taken too many lives.

Sandra said...

very good poem about a very horrible disease...

Saucy Kodz said...

This poem just takes your breath away. Very well done. Having had family go through this and survive, I felt each and every word. The grim Reaper will have to try some other time cause the Big C is gone in this place. There is great sadness associated with this word, however; there is also hope and those that win the fight. Well written my friend. lol to family, hugz to M and healing to M
p.s. We dawned our outdoor gear yesterday and set aboot raking the roof of the house, barn and mini barn. I did the two small barns and then helped with the big roof. The snow on the back roof of the house was well above my waist. You know what - its the most interesting sound when snow comes sliding down the roof once encouraged with a snow rake. There is almost a gutterable rumble and then A MIGHTY BIG THUMP when it hits the ground. It is a sound that amazes me and captures my attention. I don't know that you have ever heard the sound of moving snow like that - perhaps you have, but its really sharpens your ears. Have a wonderful day.

Buttons said...

WOW WOW I have no words to close to home. Hug B

Terri B said...

It is the word I most dread to hear- all of us do. My grandmother, both of my grandfathers, my aunt, my husband's grandmother, my grandkid's Sunday School teacher. I used to hear this word maybe once a year..now I hear it weekly. I don't know if it is just better diagnosed or if it is environmental and we are suffering right along with our planet.

Delores said...

You have nailed the helplessness and hopelessness perfectly. The most hideous of diseases.

TexWisGirl said...

loved it all, except for the 'through no fault of their own' - hard to apply that line to the person with one lung left that's still smoking up a storm. *sigh*

georgeplaceblog said...

What strikes me are the cancer names-all so scary and impersonal. You have done a magnificent job with this poem!

Susan said...

Is it any wonder that cancer names are so beautiful on the tongue? They hide horrors. Your poem is so "right on" it left me breathless. It's progression, it's masking phrases, it's lies, and te figure of the grim reaper are all too familiar. Bravo to an exquisit poem about a silent killer.

Karen S. said...

If you asked me what one thing I could banish from this world, Cancer would be it. I lost my mother to this dreadful disease.

Mama Zen said...

This is really, really well done!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is it, in a nutshell. So well done. I knew there would be stories, with this topic. Amazing stories, when it comes to cancer.

Brian Miller said...

in the end I am glad they have each other...not to live in their pity but that they can support one another on this journey....it is not an easy one....

Kenn Merchant said...

I've always wondered if there was a better way to treat cancer than to use radioactive therapy. You'd think that it would make things worse. Apparently it works though. Still, why can't they make some kind of laser therapy? Or, something else that is harmless and without side effects. Medicine comes with its own tortures I guess.

Sandy said...

Gail,

Great words! So many people have cancer and continue to use the chemical that caused the initial problem.

Sketching with Dogs said...

Very clever and interesting poem. You can almost see those people.
Lynne x

Brother Ollie said...

gritty piece! Thanks for not pulling your punches today.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think that is your best one yet!

Moonie said...

grim and truthful

Arkansas Patti said...

Very well said. I have danced with Cancer for 15 years and so far I am leading. All my close friends are survivors. Neither the righteous nor the rich are immune. Perhaps some day maybe we can remove it from our language.

Gabriella said...

Very powerful and compassionate lines. You have encompassed a lot in your poem, Gail. So much we can relate to.

Mary said...

You have said it as it is, Gail. Reality, stark reality. We all face death sometime, and you have given us a vivid picture of those dealing with cancer. Not an easy poem to read, but a very good one.

Linda Wildenstein said...

your words are so raw and gritty. They speak quitely and loud at the same time of the horror that is cancer.

Barbara said...

Certainly takes too many, it has touched all our lives..

Jae Rose said...

I love the verse with the 'real' thoughts..i wish we said them..i am sure it would help..very assured poem

Truedessa said...

Gail, this is a very powerful write we don't choose cancer..cancer chooses us and it doesn't care who we are..the reality of a terrible disease.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Cancer sucks big time, I wish it would leave the little kids alone:)

Magaly Guerrero said...

Powerfully sad...

rallentanda said...

Depressing but powerful poem !

LindaG said...

A lot of truth in this really great poem, Gail.
Hope you all have a blessed day. ♥

Lynne said...

You put it out there "Spot On!"
Why can't we find a cure for the C . . .
Why . . .
I think I know part of the answer but hope it isn't true!

Susan Kane said...

Too true. So well written.

G L Meisner said...

Great poem. Kind of unsettling.

Jyotsna Bhatia said...

"They didn't get to choose their death
unlike suicides of great variety
Through little fault of their own
Cancer chooses them"

Powerful lines here !!

Inger said...

Very powerful. It will be 16 years soon since I sat in on of those rooms waiting for my radiation appointment, so blessed to have had mine caught very, very early, so sad to see young people, sitting there, dying.

Thanks for stopping by, as you saw, my husband is fighting liver cancer, and no, he never drank or did anything bad, just got HepC from a bad blood transfusion. This is so much worse a battle for me than the one I had to fight.

DesertHen said...

WOW! Fantastic writing!

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