Medical Report

Dear friends and family,


Yesterday I had what felt like a new symptom at Inklings’ Books & Coffee Shoppe where I list books on eBay for Eve Brackenbury. The words that best describe it are temporary aphasia, that is, a temporary loss of speech. I could see the words I wanted to say but they came out wrong. Kind of stroke-like. At first, I had the experience of being tongue-tied, I stuttered and jumbled syllables, which I found kind of funny, then embarrassing. Eve pointed out my ears turning red. It stopped being funny but couldn’t get the syllables lined up in determination.


Then Eve had me read from a sheet of paper and where I read girls I said males.


Of course, I thought how am I ever going to do another reading if I can’t read? I was able to improve with effort and concentration. But left feeling very scared. After such a long stretch of no symptoms and no tumor growth, of regular productivity and love of life, I am afraid that this symptom signals a recurrence. After consulting with Dr. Salacz, the nurse of my oncologist suggested what I had “suffered” wasn’t new but another seizure, despite the fact that it manifested itself as a cognitive rather than physical event.


One of the main points of clarification with the nurse was that recurrence of the symptom does not necessarily equal recurrence in tumor, does not necessarily equal new growth. For the optimists among us, this is the basis for the argument that I shouldn’t get ahead of myself and jump to conclusions.


I have an MRI scheduled on July 16 and should know the results at the very latest by July 24. If I’m clear, I’ll throw a Facebook party. We can all get online together.


If not, well, I’ll be fighting tooth and nail to stay with you. Crossing my fingers and arranging my final manuscripts. Speaking of which, look for my second collection, Father Me Again, by summer’s end, and be sure to attend my July 19 reading. For details:



Welcome, Father’s Day, 2018

Welcome friends.

Since my seizure in 2014 and subsequent glioblastoma diagnosis, I have been leading a changed life. It is because of this that I am often drawn in my poetry to the language of renewal, second lives and afterlives. In my poetry I live again in those moments and in those times that most define for me what it means to be alive.

It is for this reason that one night, awake and wracked with steroidal joint pain, hobbling from chair back to countertop, and with only a median life expectancy of 14.6 months, I decided to apply to be admitted into the Creative Writing Program at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Three years later, I graduated with my Master of Fine Arts degree.

Heading into my final semester at UMKC, I came out with my first collection of poems, Fall Risk, from Glass Lyre Press, in Glenview, Illinois.