writersam

Sam Rose - writer, geek, music lover, cancer survivor, optimist, Buddhist.

Category: Poetry (page 1 of 19)

Poem: The moon behind the church

Happy bank holiday! For me, this long weekend is appearing between scans and checkups, as snatches of joy often do. I had my PET scan on Wednesday, which was a breeze – it’s always easier when you’ve done something before. I had a nap during the scan last time, and this time was no different, except this time my leg didnt jerk in my sleep and wake me up panicking that I had unintentionally moved. The results should come back in a week or two. Next Friday is my gastroscopy, at a completely different hospital, so Peter and I are continuing our tour of the local medical establishments.

Anyway, I wanted to share a poem today, because I haven’t posted one for a while and I haven’t submitted much to lit mags or had anything published for a while, either. Here’s something I wrote on the way home from a friend’s house last week, and the photo that follows is my terrible attempt at taking a photo of the moon that same night.

The moon behind the church

I want to live where I can see the moon. I want to be
with people who can see and nod and agree with my
assertions about the beauty of the moon. When the
traffic slows, I like to think it’s because every driver
is trying to get a really good look at the moon.
I want us all to turn off our own moons – headlights –
and slow to see the moon behind the church.

I pull over to take a picture. Get my good side, it says,
keeping its cheek turned. I comply, the photo doesn’t
turn out quite right – I don’t have the tools – but I am
happy to sit, forget the day the sun had burned, and let
my head cool as I admire the moon behind the church.

Several Seasons Later

Did it snow this winter? I can’t
remember watching flakes fall
from my armchair but really,
wrapped in recovery,
I was not here.

It was hot last summer. I remember
roasting watching the football,
sweating walking into town for
drinks to help me forget that
I was too much here.

I’ve spent sporadic seconds each
season wondering what the point
is in seeing the next one if illness
and fear is all there is for me, if
nothing I expected to happen
is waiting for me, wishing
I wasn’t still here.

Summer is slinking around again and
the bio oil I rub on my scars smells
like a Floridian hotel in a way I can’t
quite identify, but is surely a metaphor
for how Orlando in four seasons’ time
can heal, can erase, can smooth out,
can soften me, can help me remember
why I am still here.

Disney Springs, Orlando, Florida

Brightside Moths

I feel old
and torn apart
tired and torn apart
torn and tired apart

I tried living
alongside moths
brightside moths

they tell me to
always look on
the bright side too

but the chipper
clip of their wings
gets in my face
they always fly
towards the face

I was the patient
making the anaesthetists
laugh before we went
into the operating theatre
and I still am

but I have a library full
of memories now
and all the books
have been checked out
by me

I open one
and a brightside moth
lands on the middle pages

I slam it shut
the wings stop flapping
there is still no peace

The Sun

Socks #2

radiation

we take the afternoon off work to visit the nuclear

medicine department of the hospital

and in the evening I try to access some feeling and I ask
myself

if I cry, will that help flush the radiation out of my body?

or will it just give the bags under my eyes a buttercup glow

as if my pupils had become suns

stop

I say

stop

It was just a CT scan, just a tiny amount of radiation

and you are just melodramatic

you are just a girl, not spiderman

and nothing is happening

but that’s what burns

that still, nothing is quite happening here

no going nuclear, simply stoic

script-sticking

I compromise and just a couple of drops slip through

that is all I can offer

that is all life offers of anything

just a little at a time

just a little glow

to be close

these are not tales of wanting to be close
but tales of need
tales of nothing else will do
tales of we are losing anyway
I tail off when we try to make sense
of what is happening
when all we have is positivity all the while
listening to others complaining about
the mundane, the unimportant, taking
suggestions from people who have
no idea pretending to make notes
in my invisible notebook – my no-book
wearing an invisible grimace as they speak
they don’t have to travel an hour to
talk to an expert, they don’t have to prepare
their bodies for impact, their brains for
impact, their nerves to be wracked
but we pretend that is okay
all the while wanting – no, needing –
to get away, to return home,
wherever home may feel today –
home is where I can tell these tales
before we trail off and stare into space
lost together but tied together
in the want – no, the need –
to be close.

Park Floor

Concave

My heartbeat makes my loose-fitting
t-shirt flutter rhythmically
over my chest. I stop breathing
so I can see the full effect,
watch the fabric
fall in, fall out.
Braless breasts separated as if
in argument, creating a cavity
at my centre. Each tiny shudder
makes me feel thinner
than I am, more fragile
than I am. Makes me wonder
what I am.
Every pound of my chest disturbs
the white cotton, reveals my
torso as empty. A trampoline
for tiny ghosts, only the bounces
to be seen. Only the tremors
of the canvas to be found, the concave
and the rebound.
I am only little,
I am only gentle,
I am only nothing.
But we keep going. One organ at a time,
one anomaly at a time.
Keep cutting it out until there is
nothing left.
What will be left of me,
in the end?
Only tiny ghosts jumping,
only a tiny heart thumping wildly
at nothing.
Fall in, fall out.

The Longshort of June

June, d’you know
when you will end
can anyone tell me
when it ends
if it ends
I have been searching
for the tail of the thread
but it disappears between
my fingers
the month so short
already gone
yet not
never-ending
but not
where does it end

in July
what lies ahead
what sinks beneath
the surface of calm
the surface of thirty
degree heat
of sweat
of sweet words
of meet again soon
of I love yous
of ways we amuse ourselves
press the panic down
press ourselves
into each other
grapple for something
resembling reassurance
resembling advice

we must voice
what lurks beneath
the fear that penetrates our skin
the worry we absorb
anxiety we bathe our muscles in
desperation that resides within
something akin to over-feeling
that overwhelm that sinks between

our skin and bones
and bones
and bones

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