A Retrospective

As I iron out the layout and finalize the cover of my forthcoming collection of sectioned poems that derive inspiration from the stories of fellow GBM patients in the online brain tumor community, Bad Astrocyte, a poem surfaced as artifact and testimony to my long-term survival and the prolonged investment I’ve made in this personal project, this writing my way through cancer (as if there were an other end to this tunnel. There isn’t). Here’s a glimpse of the new cover:

What I want most to say about Bad Astrocyte is that I would not have been able to write it any sooner. In shock when diagnosed in 2014, I couldn’t even google glioblastoma without falling headfirst into depression.

So, here’s what I found today: Feb. 4, 2019. A hidden poem, unrecollected by me, tucked under these two that I’ve collected once or twice in books: Cameron Morse – The Poetry Village.

Ketogenic Diet

In the end, I eat nothing.
I starve myself to kill my cancer.
Closing my eyes, I listen for the cheep
of baby sparrows, eager,
insisting on new life. I could sit here
for a thousand years and never see
beyond this moment, this sweet breeze
of heaven, sunlight glancing
among the amputated branches.

In the meantime, I live by faith,
faith in the ketones I lick off my fork
and spatula, faith in the omelet
it takes two hours to slurp and swallow.

I infuse spoonfuls of olive oil into my blood.
The omelet that floats atop my plate
like a pontoon boat in the healthy natural fat
its eggs cannot absorb is my rescue.

At Chinatown Food Market,
I throw up the yellow shell, clumps
of mushroom, the leafy slime of spinach.
I retch and up comes the coconut
oil you blend into my coffee. Dumpster flies
flurry on the loading dock.

The manuscript referenced, Sinophile, I’d nearly forgotten about, too, so long ago scraped. Rejected by my first publisher, Glass Lyre Press.

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