Last week I worked very hard on the introduction to this poem. Unfortunately, technology glitches happen and it was lost forever into wherever it is that lost things go. It was the most vulnerable, honest piece I would have ever posted on here (the introduction). I’ll just say it was about ‘purpose,’ and the importance it has on us as human beings. It was also about being human and losing that purpose, especially as we lost physical abilities in our body. The heart, the body, and the mind are not always aligned in regards to breaking down. It was about what happens when your mind is full of hopes and dreams and your body isn’t able to carry them. It had so much more in it and to it, but it drifted away. I was so angry I couldn’t even look at my computer for a day or two. Then I came home on Friday and rewrote it probably better and definitely more personal than I did the first time. As I was writing it, I realized it was something I really needed to say; however, maybe I was not ready to share. Perhaps, some divine intervention drifted that away. Maybe it will remain something I just needed to get out and maybe it will somehow find it’s way on here. Oddly enough, when I was going to post this poem, it did not have a title. I read it and named it “Autumn,” because I felt the feelings I was writing about in this poem were sort of about embracing an autumn in life. Being it’s the start of “Autumn,” I felt it fitting that I share it today. I wrote this over a year ago. There is a lot of it that rings true still. So to all, Happy Autumn! It’s my favorite season, as I love the way the air feels. I also feel like symbolically it’s the season of change. It’s the season of death and dying. Some people find that sad. Throughout my entire life, maybe it’s because I’m a Pisces, I’ve been super interested in death and in birth. You can’t have one without the other. Fall, to me, is both. It’s the season of dying, but it’s also about reflection and change. The old is giving way to the new. For the past three weeks at lunch the teens I work with have been obsessed with this very large spider outside the window. They talk about her all day. She’s huge and clearly about to give birth. They call her “Tilly.” Every day they look for her. She has a favorite color, a career, last week she went to invade Area 51 to look for UFO’s. For weeks this (rather large) spider has given these kids, who are going through a lot, so much joy and hope. They can be in tears and you say, “Let’s go check on Tilly and they brighten up. She’s eased the fears of new kids on their first day as she’s brought tons of conversation to a table that can be quiet a lot of days. The thing about Tilly is we know she’s going to die soon, as spiders do once they lay their egg sack. In that, though, she’ll leave her egg sack and possibly in the spring, we’ll be blessed with another Tilly (or maybe a few will stick around). I’m sure the day we lose Tilly will be hard, it gives us peace to know that her egg sack is right on the window and there will be lots of Tilly’s come spring. I feel like fall brings all the elements of Tilly. It’s exciting, things begin to change, decay, and do die; however, we reflect on what’s to come, what’s to be again.
The mornings grow darker,
Ink from last nights news on our hands still.
It is cold enough this morning for hot mint tea.
Virus’ can’t wait for the temperature to drop,
To invade my chest and lungs. My voice
Is sore and not ready to face the day. My throat
And I have said nothing of the hurtful subjects
I will have to address today.
In this room, I am an engine
A soft noise. Nobody has heard it,
But I’m sure the car’s last drive is not far off.
In this room, I am still a son,
My mother’s voice confirms for another day,
As she informs me I’m no longer a cousin to a cousin that lost
His fight with the leukemia they shared.
In this room, I am an anxious pigeon
For crumbs to fall. Hungry for confirmation:
Cancer is not eating the inside of me.
In this room, I feel foreign.
One year of stillness,
Just illness and a body that dreams of how it used to get up after a punch.
In this room, I had to determine
to forfeit, to finish, to put up a good fight.
When you’re in pain how hard that decision really is.
No one wants to end life a shitty novel,
Be the board game that goes on forever without a win,
Be the puzzle so close to completion with the gaping
I love learning new words. They are one of the only things I hunger for.
I am trying to teach new ways of speaking and tasting
To teens who only know
How describe their love of starving.
I want them to spell out their feelings in poems
Of razor marks on their arms and legs.
It’s hard to watch someone ignore a body that just fosters forgiveness.
Mine has never been so kind.
I go from one disease
To the next,
Every sound I make is sometimes my only feeling of grace.
I am drinking this tea,
All I have to talk about today.
My voice fading fast, my throat disdaining swallowing.
Still, I know in this room
What bodies diluted to young look like.
So I will talk and talk and talk
Until there is no voice.
And if there is still body
I will act until I can no more. To show
A body can find it’s holy
As long as it can make it to the chapel doors.