[My first attempt at spoken word. Rough cut and raw. A poem for my beautiful friend V, who put the V in living sincerely.]
When Reality Takes a Bite
Sometimes reality is sweet
LIke a Gala apple
aka a party in your mouth
if you do the semantics.
Here’s some antics
—When my mother-in-law eats an apple
She doesn’t just eat the apple
She eats the core
Which is pretty much the definition of sucking the marrow
When it comes to eating apples.
(Hard core to the “Outlaw.”)
—My husband dressed up as Johnny Appleseed once when he was a boy.
All he did was stick a pan on his head
And he went trick-or-treating like that
But boy he raked it in.
Sometimes life is sweet like that.
And maybe there’s some genetic predisposition to it all?
I don’t know this but
I do know #thatawkward moment there’s a worm in your apple.
Neither half of the apple
Nor the worm in your mouth
And there ‘aint enough tequila to knock that sucker back.
Cuz sometimes reality
And you try and spit it out
Cuz it’s too hard to swallow.
Like when the doctor calls and you feel the tug of the rug
Pulled right out from under your reality
With ONE word.
My word began with a big damn C.
I don’t know what your word begins with.
All I know is…
Sticks and stones my ass.
That one God-damned word
Knocked all three of my kids down
To the ground
on August 20, 2008
at 5 o’clock.
We were huddled around the phone
When it rang.
I dropped the phone
After the doctor said the word cancer
Because my kids fell sobbing, to the floor
And I needed both hands to do the math:
1 lap, 2 arms, 3 kids
but they’d have to go
but they did their job.
And if you read my book then you know they were hot
Like the tears falling down my kids faces
When I gathered them up off the floor and drew them into my bosom
One last time.
And I wanted to pay the archer to shoot the crab
Cuz it’s God-damned pinchers woke up my babies
To this reality.
I’m a Libra so this seemed a just-ified sentence.
Oh, for the gavel big enough to take down the big damn C.
(Rock-paper-ROCK) bigger stones have been rolled away.
(Rock-paper-SCISSORS) don’t stop believing’! Let’s cut this shit out!
(Rock-paper-PAPER) show me the CURE.
And not just the pink one
But the greens and the blues
All of the hues
Even the Walter Whites.
Everybody trying to Livestrong.
But especially the kids.
Oh brother where art thou gavel?
Cancer is a
I’ll drink to that.
I can testify to that.
Cancer. is. a. bitch.
But especially, when it picks on kids.
A couple of weeks ago I went to a little girl’s funeral
She was 8 years, 7 months, 9 days YOUNG.
The Piano Man said “Only the good die young”
And on days like that I believe him.
Days like that I wanna slam that damn gavel down
God (slam) Damn (slam) Cancer (slam)
She’s resting now.
But there’s no rest, for the rest
Till we make war on cancer
—All the cancers
And knock them all down one by one
That same day
The day I witnessed that gross injustice
Of a young mother beside herself beside her little girl’s casket
And I’m here
—If I’m here for any reason
—And there has to be a reason
—I’m. still. Here.
That same day
That. same. damn. day.
(he happens to be my age)
And has a son
Who hangs out with my sons.
Well that day that boy lost his daddy
To the same damn cancer that poisoned Apple.
Because there isn’t an app for that yet.
The evening of that same day
I visited a beautiful friend of mine who is dying
from the same damn pink elephant of a cancer
that doubles as a pink monkey on my back.
I took her some groceries
But no apples.
She didn’t ask for any and I didn’t buy any.
Her husband said maybe some Lucky Charms.
So I brought the biggest damn box I could find, and some milk.
And since Valentine’s Day was around the corner—
Which feels very far away when your friend is dying—
I found a Dorie from Finding Nemo Pez dispenser—
Which seems like a funny Valentine—
But I never ever saw anyone keep on swimming
Like she kept on, keeping on swimming.
But I know how this story goes and I know she finds Nemo.
I’ve been taking my time
But my Pez dispenser is empty.
Oh, my heart.
And this scar
Beneath the pink ribbon
Beneath this big c
(I copy”write” that shit)
I used to suck on a green apple Jolly Rancher
To keep me from the hurly burleys
From the tin taste when they accessed the port
To pour in the poison
—24 chemo cocktails
Still…paying that big damn tab.
You’d think I hate green apple Jolly Ranchers by now
But I don’t.
They remind me I’m alive.
And that sometimes even when reality bites
It can be sweet.
And I’m thankful they “handled” the aftertaste”
Of accessing the port
Cuz that poison “handled” the cancer.
God damn cancer.
Where’s that gavel?
My beautiful friend died at 8:04 yesterday morning.
I can try and spit it out all I want
—And I want
But there it is
on the floor next to me.
I can try and wipe away the bitter aftertaste
But I don’t have any sleeves.
And even if I did,
The spooge would be on my sleeve.
I’d still smell it.
I can try and step on it
Smash it into the ground
This same ground
But we’ve been there before
It stuck on my shoe
And all I did was make a little
I can try to kick it.
Been there, done that
Made a mess.
And it’s going to take more than Bounty to wipe up this mess and put it
In the trashcan.
I wish it were that easy.
But fuck easy.
If Dorie can find Nemo
Surely we can find a cure.