Cancer, Vacancy, and the Observer


It felt like one moment
extended forever,
walking down that hallway.

The elasticity wrapped
‘Round the earth was hugging me to extinction.

I sat in a wooden chair,
the kind built for yard sales and grandmothers.

I spent the night in the emergency room e.r.
following a ‘cancer attack” in Portland Maine.

A kind friend was willing to drive me all the way
to Boston– I knew I could no longer live on my own.

I opened my mouth too assuredly when the docs asked
if I had a history with drugs.

And then it’s the hallway.

I’d been doing very well staying away
from the things we like to stuff up our noses,
but at this point i was ready to start snorting
the ancient rug under my feet.

What, then, if death is the hollow vastness,
swept up from nothing, hurtling towards
the everything that is nothing…. does it matter,

when I just wanna know who I am?

And, lastly who is this presence
that sees the no presence that is it

and is literally dying to touch it?


I admire a belief in nothing, the latent courage of atheism. I don’t have it.

To assign no other-worldly interest
to the everyday beauties in our lives-

the sunset reflected off the window across the street,

the faint sound of children’s laughter in a park,

– the call

the calling –

from seagulls in a loose protest against loneliness,

stubborn trains moaning across the continent,

half snoring, half swearing grandmothers, stumbling through dreams like a child learning to ride a bicycle,

the raindrop dance of fingers on a keyboard:

All these things,

and so many more

call out to us

each moment

whispering to us

that oblivion is not the father of the universe

and we are connected in an ineffable way that can’t be understood.

Back to the the atheists-

the idea that Santa Clause is God
is equally as absurd as the idea
that there is no God.

So don’t wait
for the placid little park bench
to invite you to the callings-
pray with every cell that you are alert to them;
that you yourself are a calling-

Telling the farthest star that you can see
that it is not alone
and that its light is part of your love.13654477697821

angry haiku

charging people to die slow-
fuck you and money


let me have my peace,
god finds me in sleepy places.

Doctors, go away.


i’ll take death in months
with dignity and peace, love-

flush your chemicals


i stood for nothing
but my death will ring out loud-

stand up and live free!20121117_192536

The Train

My feet are strapped
to steely cold train tracks.

I am naked and shivering.

People come to bring me food
but I can’t eat.

The train won’t get here for six months;
I’ve long since stopped trying to free myself.

I reach down and the metal around my feet
which has been used to kill millions of others,
hold their memories in rust.

When night comes I get on my knees and pray.

To what, to whom?

TO Jesus Christ, the one in my heart,
not the one who casts people into hell
for finding a woman who isn’t their wife attractive.

Not the Jesus who says the only way
to the father is through him.

I pray to the Jesus
who washed the feet of his disciples.

I pray to the Jesus
who healed all who came to him.

But cold steel on my feet
has a way of keeping me from prayer.

The trees around me reach
out with barren fingers,
wishing they could rip
me away from the steel.

The shackles tell a story;
they tell a story of countless
people who stood on these same tracks.

Some people were here just a few weeks,
others- years before the train came.

six months.

What I can best hope for
is that the sleeping spirits
in the rusted clamps around my feet
come to life
as the two lights approach

and the lights turn into stars
lifting me to heavenly peace.
to the healing arms of Jesus.13665913659171

Whale Songs

I lay down on the couch- my mother
eating plain toast because she
lost the jelly.

My father, of course, couldn’t find
the jelly. My mother told him he was
rude when he says he couldn’t find

Music from the apartment upstairs
filters down; it sounds like whale songs.

The music has no edges and
the song itself has a blurred quality.
It is dissipating the anxiety in me-
the doctor says I have about
six months to live.

I’ve had 40 years to live
and what has come of it?

Well, I do have a host of friends,
good relationships with family,
and a whole bunch of phones
and computers!

When I walk in my room,
it’s like I’m walking on the bridge
of Star Trek’s ship.

But besides the blinking lights
and the whale music that appears
to be omnipresent in this apartment,
filtering down from upstairs,
there’s little else
but a sadness like a half-written
sentence and no writer to complete it.20121117_192536