Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Finding My Waist After Breast Cancer Treatment

[After chemo, Magaly] “grew to become a wise old Kelda, [to whom] the word ‘belt’ would no longer signify something to hold up her kilt but just something to mark her equator.” ~ Terry Pratchett [and moi]

 the poem:

My waist lies
(between hips and ribs)
peach pie-clad,
waiting to be baked
on a trampoline.

As always, my Luvs, if you are visiting from the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, and are here for the poetry alone, then your fantastic selves are already done: the rest of this post is all about finding my waist after cancer treatment.

the wee notes:

I have started exercising a bit harder. Not as hard as I wish I could (yet), since as soon as I was given the go ahead (after radiation therapy), I was visited by an eye infection that refuses to go away. As eye infections go, this one isn’t terrible. Just irritating. But compromised immune systems require extra help, when it comes to healing even the tiniest things. So, I’ll wait until Beltane (May Day feels perfect).

In the meantime, I’ve been readying myself for the epic journey that will be the search for my waist (a mythological creature that tends to hide under peach pies and the steroids used to help with the side effects of chemo). I am already at the point where powerwalking no longer takes my breath away… My next move is running on my trampoline and doing easy hikes, in the company of my walking staff (my neuropathy-induced lack of balance still suckeths very mucho).

This stunningly red piece of shoelace measures 35.5” (the circumference of my equator). I will enjoy marking off the inches (maybe with a black stitch) as I go.

I am linking this to Blogging around with Rommy, where she invites us to chat about exercise. So, I did. You should, too, if you like. Really, give it a go.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bright in the World’s Dark

“Sometimes strangers are the best persons who indirectly sort out everything for you…” ~ Paurnima Partole

It was all her bright, in the world’s dark,
that balanced my chaos. 

“You make me so proud,” the stranger said,
my hand cradled in her hands,
her thoughts on my scar, “so proud to be
a woman, a woman now… with you.”

It was all the truth in her eyes (galaxy size),
as fluid as wild dreams, strong enough
to feed my ink, strong enough to feed me.

the wee notes…

- partly inspired by a stranger who approached me (while I was out for a walk)  and said exactly what I needed to hear then. I was so startled, that I said nothing. Not even “Thank you.” I hope the universe whispers this poem into her dreams.

- a bit on Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero: a Pantry of Prose, hosted by moi, over at Poets United. The theme for the 3rd month is Phobias. We can also choose to take one of our old poems and turn it into a new story of 313 words or fewer.

Milky Way over Lassen National Park, by Thomas Ciszewski

by Josiel Miranda

for the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Photographic Images Reimagined, option 2), The Sunday Muse (53), and for Poets United (Poetry Pantry 478)

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Ribbons and Pins

Ribbons and pins (secured over a breast)
remembering the sacrifice of flesh.

Or, after a third glance:

Pretty ribbons and pins
remembering sacrificed flesh.

for the Imaginary Garden with Read Toads, where Toni asks us to write a 2-line poem which conveys some startling image, an image that juxtaposes tow images

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

After a Mastectomy, Months of Chemo, and Weeks of Radiation, My Flesh and Bones and Spirit and I Can’t Wait to Start Tightening Our Chunkaliciousness and Writing a Magical Realist Memoir

I nearly added a wee bit about underwater basket weaving to the title, but figured that one can only push the Title Police’s patience so far before something vital starts to bleed in regrettable ways. Speaking of wild tangents if you are visiting for the poetry alone, just skip… skip skip… skip skip... to the thinner-tanka.

So, I’m done with chemo and radiation. And I have a couple of weeks before I must start hormone therapy and regular lymphedema therapy. I plan to use that time for, well… planning. I will also make lists, lots and lots and lots of lovely lists: a fixing my blog list, an unpublishing-and-rewriting-and-republishing my shorts list, a plants-I-must-grow this year list (like I said, lots and lots of lists).

Next week, I shall start outlining the cancer book. I know I’ve said that I should stop calling it the cancer book. But... since dear Dumbledore said that “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself”, I will continue calling it the cancer book. It might not be the book’s true name, but that’s exactly what it is: a cancer book, through my heart and eyeballs. Yes, m’ Luvs, I’ll share progress notes as I write.

Cancer treatment left me with 21 extra-pounds of chunkaliciousness. As soon as my chest wall stops looking like it was kissed by the sun (on a day the latter was feeling particularly frisky), I’ll start working on tightening my sexy flesh. I want my strong legs back. No, I do not need to get my sexy back, Mr. Timberlake, my sexy never left. I just want to be able to do 39+3 well executed push-ups without huffing and puffing, or very likely forcing a sweet Little trio of fairy-told Pigs to squeal, “Does Wolf(y) need her inhaler? Does Wolf(y) need a piggyback ride?”

All this translates to… me boring you to tears (and, perhaps, rather uncomfortable giggles) with prose bits (like this post), and poem bits (like the ones that will soon follow), and short stories (like this one), and pictures (like the one accompanying this entry). Because, well my dear muse and I prefer to ink (tales) and melt (fat) while friends are watching. Hm, that sounded a lot less creepy in my head.


My hands and feet are still being tortured by neuropathy, but I’m alive. And while I’m alive (and grinning with lots of teeth), the rest is minutiae… (plus list making, let’s not forget the lists, lots and lots of lovely lists).

a thinner-tanka for Wordy Wednesday With Wild Woman: Natural Wonders
In my bones,
the darkest of reds
scream of taint,

but nature’s green will

always chant me clean.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Under a Clear Black and White Sky


The night was neither dark nor stormy. If I am honest (and I am, I am, I am), the hourglass had just dripped noon. The midday sky was a clear shade of black and white, and my favorite park bench and I had felt no storm drop since last spring. Still… the air was thick and murky with the kind of weird that urges the eye and soul to search for chamber doors, to see if black birds or dismembered hands are knock, knock, knocking on the door.

“Knock, knock?”

“Who’s there?

“The Raven.”

“The Raven who?”

“The Ravenclaw who can’t answer your riddles for you. Because you alone know the why under your skirts or pants... the why behind two breasts or one. Also, this line of questioning can lead to lawsuit-land: Poe’s dead, but J.K. Rowling tweets.”

No dismembered knuckle has knocked on my door (this isn’t that kind of movie). But in the paper, the world burns… while chests and skulls (hearts and brains not always included) pray for the power to understand the art of blackout politricks.

the wee notes…

- this prose poem (although I am extremely tempted to call it “story-told poem”) contains the words hour, park, spring and power (from The Sunday Whirl). It was inspired by the photo above (from The Sunday Muse) and a bunch of other stuff.

-  linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, where Sanaa invites everyone to “Gather around for some ghost stories”.

- and, of course, I borrowed a word (or 3) from “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling.