Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heat Wave

It's coming from the center of the country; it's already here, and mounting. Humidity makes it worse. I hesitate to complain, since I have the privilege of living in air conditioning. Thinking about those who don't, especially the elderly.

I've been writing, working on the new manuscript. Here's one from it, written after I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks :

Henrietta Lacks, like Rose Red

kept her nails short, but painted them crimson.
Toes, too, so that even at the autopsy,
the assistant saw the chipped red on the dead toes
and knew this was a woman who loved beauty and color,
Who loved Clover, Virginia and its fragrant foliage,
Who loved to cook spaghetti for her hungry cousins,
Who loved to go dancing.
From what furnace of hell did that cancer come,
That viscous vicious virulent voracious purple grape
Called Adenocarcinoma?
Was it radiated by her husband’s philandering
Before the Hopkins radium tried to kill it?
Pearls of it studded her insides
By the time it blocked her bladder
and poisoned her with her own fluids.

Here's a draft of the poem that gives the title;

A Vexed Question

Said the witch,
Preferring a hexed one,
A vixen caught by the paw,
Chewing her foot off
To set herself free.
Vexed question
Vexing, missing, shifting
From why to how
Point of law
Often discussed or agitated,
Never determined or settled.
Difficult and troubling
What is not forgiveness?
What is not to forgive?
What’s the virtue in resentment?
Send again the sentiment?
The sediment?

I know... they both need more work. Working on it.

Did I say that many of these poems come out of my experience of cancer/cancer treatment?
After two years, I am finally able to tackle this topic.

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