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?

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About Ben Dooling

I began this blog shortly after being diagnosed with terminal rectal cancer. It has since begotten a short book of poems, most of the poems came from here. Cancer has taught me more than it has taken. It has shown me my gifts, and what an examined life is.

One thought on “Cancer, Vacancy, and the Observer

  1. I do not hesitate to speak of death…mine, yours, my mother, my dad. You see…we LIVE to DIE. The time in between now and “the end” is what matters most. Memories of loved ones burn bright…no ashes to ashes or floating dust. A single flame glowing in the darkness that we call- Grief. I do not believe that death will lead to a “hollow vastness”…fragments of love and your spirit will remain. Let these days…weeks…months fill you with warmth not the coldness that you crave. I love you Sweet Ben…I really do xo

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