cancer

Poem from the archive: ‘Pain’s Sweet Tooth’ (May 2008)

Back in this place again

This place of doom and gloom

Bloated stomach passing for womb

Once I was well and pain

Was something felt from a

Prick of thorn or cut of steel

Not as now when it grows

From a live seed

Planted deep, sown down

In furrows, virulent its saplings writhe

For supremacy, squealing for

Sugar and coffee and tea

Cake and wine and syrup and cream,

Drops will not do, bring

Buckets for bowls, Life must

Be strained and stretched to

Feed Pain’s sweet tooth.

Notes on the poem

I wrote this 14 years ago, when I was struggling with a pituitary tumour and acromegaly.

I’m starting to include poems from this period of my life, from my first site : creativecoping.wordpress.com.

I think the past, in all its forms, memory, history, monument, is useful to the present.

By resurfacing these poems, I hope to remember the lessons life gave me then.

A sigh of relief

Today I was told
That, according to new data,
The radiotherapy I had
May actually shorten
My life even more.  

There’s no turning back
There’s no switching off     
What was on
But there is always
Something science has
Yet to put her finger on.  

Cancer sidestepped the norm
Just by being born
And carries on in that vein
Plotting new ways to counteract
Natural or man-made attack.  

Let’s focus the energy, now,
Make our own gamma
Knives out of sheer love,

And when we have hacked the Radio cunning and counterproductive Reproduction with our own sweet lines,  

The bitterness of everything
Will ebb away and the
Body will breathe out

Patience, patient.

If myself were distilled into

A test tube and held up to the

Light now, it would be two feet,

A bit of br ain between the ey es

And the ache where the lungs meat.

 

The rest is being kept

In another cabinet,

Access has been barred

And bureaucracy is quick

To thicken the dust on this key

 

There is the hope of everything

Being in that jar, housing

The organs I once owned.

The promise of wholeness, of

Complete myself, stowed away.

 

I’ll pay whatever it takes, I’ll

Take whatever works and spit out

Whatever doesn’t and if nothing does

I’ll smash the glass and let my guts

Mingle with the mud, set free forever.