My Words

Understanding the World through words

Tag: Cancer

Smith Rock-Poem

Heading up north closely following the Deschutes,

we’re going out for a trek on a warm winter day,

out with my nephews and sons;

our lunches are safely stowed away. Driving towards Smith Rock—

if only you could see it glimmering against the back-drop

of fresh air and Oregon western blue skies.

My brother-in-law racked with pain, cancer eating him away,

bedridden on his front-room couch,

yells at us to—“climb away, but watch out for the snakes”

his eyes wishing he could go, if only once more.

Every-time you climb a mountain,

you follow in the footsteps of great men,

those who ascended—making their aliyah, and

leaving the corrupt world behind.

I told the boys—“I’m getting older”,

don’t you dare leave me behind,

wait up for your uncle, I’m the one with the struggle

and its not just about climbing towards the pinnacle this time;

but of seeing my dearest brother slowly wasting away—

Finally, we reach the summit, I want to let out a scream.

Instead, I just sit and stare at the boys youthful-gait as

they climb around and around, exuberant, vigorous,

fired up and aglow;

forgetting for an instant that their father’s moments

are slowly ticking away.

And against this extravagant landscape,

so clean—an Oregon still pristine,

with a vantage point of heavens front door,

a sacred place where eagles make their craggy nests,

I let out my scream:

Daniel, I wish you be here with me and the boys!

My Second Home 

  

Home Alone

  

Ramble On

On my way out today,
I started my hybrid
nothing but a hum.

Not like the cars I
grew up with, loud,
gas guzzlers. This
one is quiet—

silence
is golden and if
I had a gold sticker
I’d give it one.

My wife is having cramps;
non menstrual, she said,

“The pain comes in waves.”

Waves are the heartbeat of our world,
I could listen to them for hours, I feel
centered with the
rhythm of the ocean’s sound.

Somehow, the conversation was
redirected to constipation,
but she said that she
had a bowel movement already,
so constipation was ruled out.

Andrea asked me, what kind
of medicine I was going to get at
Safeway
? Sarcastically—I replied,
stool softener.

It became a heated argument, I don’t
Know
, I finally replied.
I’m not a doctor.

I’ll ask the pharmacist?

I took three boys, Alex, Levi, and Drake.
We loaded up on my grey Prius and fired up
my playlist. It’s nice to start off with,
Cab Ride For Cuties,
“Soul meets Body”,
loud and acoustically clear.
Every drum beat crisp.

We drove in silence down 20,
Listening to the sound of music
Juxtaposed with snow capped mountains,
It was visually fantastic audio ecstasy.

When we arrived, I went straight to
the pharmacist, told her all that I knew
of my wife’s condition. She recommended
stool softener.

I laughed and said, that’s what
I had prescribed, earlier. If I get that
they’re going to think, I didn’t even try.

On the way out of the store,
a heavy set man was panting,
trying to catch his breath.
I knew he was in trouble.

He was frozen,
holding onto his cart
and breathing exceedingly
loud.

I heard people’s commotion and someone
said, “the paramedics are on the way.”

We walked to Whole Foods, to get
lentils.
Whole Foods is across
the way from Safeway.
I found Spanish Brown lentils,
I checked out as I smiled at the cashier.

On our way back home
the song, Ramble On,
came on.
The sound was clear
with Jimmy’s guitar riffs,
John’s precision drumming and
John Paul’s rhythmic bass—
complementing Robert’s sensual voice.

I commented to the boys,

“They don’t make music like
that anymore, that’s why
they’re gods.”

In my thoughts, I was thinking
about that poor man, gasping for air.
I wonder if there was
anything I could have done?

When we left Whole Foods,
the paramedics were already
there. It was the second day of
January and already for him it
was a bad year.

He was old and heavyset.
I told the boys, when you’re
old and heavy you’re body
can’t take the pressure
.

Then I remembered that
actor from Spartacus.
He was well built,
trim, athletic and handsome.

He died after the first season.
He was in his 30’s.

I spoke to the boys, “see, it
doesn’t matter if you’re
old and fat, you can be
young and trim.”

When it’s your time to go
nothing can stop it.

There’s no secret to life—
You just have to live everyday
as a gift.

They’re familiar with the topic,
Their father is battling cancer,
as we speak.

You never know when your time
will come? We all agreed.
We all said it solemnly,
under our breath.

A profound conversation
about death, my nephews
and I had:

Existential dilemmas—
a topic Sartre would’ve

been proud of—
a discourse about mortality and existence:

A perfect contrast
between honest
questioning, a magical song,
and a country drive
in snow covered fields.

while Robert’s voice
sings about
moonlit autumn trees
and
rambling on…

For Daniel

20140505-133406.jpg
Hey brother, I’ll take that walk,
walking in unison with survivors and the family members of the dearly departed.

All walking to the beat of the drum;
boom, boom; boom, boom
The sound of multiple heartbeats,

yet because of this
unwanted trauma
unwittingly made one.

I’ll walk with you,
like one walks through a
Pharmacy, a little slower
now; while, trying to find the right remedies.

And if you can’t go, I’ll walk for you:

I’ll take that walk
through tree lined
canopies—eucalyptus and pine.

I’ll walk through narrow dirt paths avoiding muddy puddles;
Yet, admire all those pretty pink Lapacho flowers lying on the ground.

Trying to soak in all the beauty of God’s green earth.
While thinking of you—

Lifting you up
The way I lift up my son.

Wishing you were here,
My brother
and
Seeing what I see:
That
life is beautiful,
a precious
journey.

with
vital awareness—
That
You’re never really
going through any of this alone.

We are family
marching
united
under the
Banner of love.

***

Daniel Harris is my dear brother in-law who very recently was diagnosed with Glioblastoma stage 4 cancer.

As a result, his once normal life has become fraught with frequent hospital visits, insecurities, and fear.

Rightly so, he has a loving personal and extended family who needs him to survive; and the rate of survival with his predicament is unfortunately slim, statistically speaking.

He’s having difficulties financially, as a business owner, because he’s had to let go of his only means of provision, due to his lack of energy and frequent doctors visit.

My dear wife and Daniel’s loving sister, Joanna has set up a personal community-giving charity site at “you-caring.com” for donations to help Daniel ease the burden of medical costs.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/save-harris-father-of-8-fighting-brain-cancer/164437

Daniel, is the Father of eight beautiful children who are daily praying that their daddy would survive this ordeal. Please take some time to visit the site and do what your heart guides you to do.

This humble poem was inspired by the Bay Area Brain Tumor Walk. An event that we, including Daniel and his loving wife Andrea, were scheduled to attend.

The Walk is an awareness and fundraising event for people like Daniel, who are fighting this horrible disease.
Suffice to know, that at the last moment Daniel could not make it.

My wife Joanna, my daughter Hannah and sons Levi and Isaiah went on his behalf, in support of Daniel.

The walk was full of loving and dedicated people made up of; survivors, families of survivors, friends, of loved ones and those who have lost their loved ones to this awful battle.

Daniel, is fighting for his life right now, like many who are fighting brain cancer, people who we met at the Bay Area Brain Tumor Walk, not only here in West Coast but throughout the world. Normal people, who like Daniel one day woke up and their lives are forever changed.

This poem goes out to them too…

Know that you’re not alone!

20140505-141621.jpg

I Remember | Tito

20140315-100806.jpg
I remember, that warm
Day in spring you had
Important news to share.

I remember, the tears I
Shed knowing your life—

Suddenly became an hourglass
Turned over for the last time.

I remember, the final time
You called me—son.