Saturday, June 19, 2010


The recurring image is that I'm on some sort of conveyor belt heading toward chopping jaws -- serrated, hungry -- and I can't get off.

There is too much information. It is too confusing.

The system is overwhelmed.

There is more bargaining.

There is a fantasy of being disembodied, serene. Another fantasy is of being buoyant, tranquil. There is water and sun and warmth.

Today, we walked on the bluffs that overlook the beach. I was iced, medicated. It is our fifth wedding anniversary. I scan the horizon for breaching whales, diving pelicans, otters floating in the kelp. We hold hands and I am so thankful that I am not alone, although I resent the injury and how it has taken over my body, our lives. Later, down the path, a rabbit darts out of the brush and pauses, one paw raised, and then scampers off. Two girls pull a wagon full of pillows, and atop the pillows is another girl. She is lazily eating from a box of fig newtons They're playing a game, they tell us, and I feel happy for them. The ocean air is sweet and crisp and I imagine leaping off the cliff into the waves. I crave the weightlessness of being in water.

The thing is, I'm terrified of having surgery, and today, as I read through the files I'd requested from the doctor's office, I see that all the arrows point to it. I'm worried that if I decline surgery, I will be punished. I've been told the my condition will be declared "permanent and stationary." I took messy notes in shorthand, but how can I remember in this haze? It's happening too fast.

Friday, June 11, 2010


One of the feelings I have frequently is anger. People in pain are often angry. Pain can be invisible, and for a long time, I tried to make sure it remained invisible: suppressing winces, groans, tears. Those things emerged, of course -- one can't hold those things in forever.

There are also the psychological dimensions. I've been told that what I've been doing a lot of is bargaining. I keep coming up with bargains. Maybe if I keep going to work, I won't be injured. Maybe if I don't eat sugar, I won't be injured. Maybe if I do these stretches, I won't be injured. Maybe if I take these pills, I won't be injured. Maybe if I walk to the mailboxes and back, I won't be injured. Maybe if I keep my feelings a secret, I won't be injured.

So I can't be surprised that people don't know. I can't be surprised that people expect me to be operating at full capacity if I don't tell them how much pain I'm in -- if I don't tell them that the drugs make me feel like I'm under water, or in a snow drift, or stippled by pins. I can't count change at the grocery store, or look for a lost shoe, or fold paper evenly, or spell.

I'm angry. I want my life back. I want to be able to move forward with my life plans. I want to be able to write poem, finish a story, visit with friends. I want to be able to sit in a movie theater, drive my car, put on my underwear -- I want to do things without feeling the searing, excruciating pain.

I want people to be nice to me.

Pain has a sort of myopia. I notice things like the textures of clothing: so many things are too itchy and my skin is on fire. The drugs give me dry mouth and everything tastes awful. I'm hyper-attentive to the ice pack, the heating pad, the myriad analgesic jams and jellies that smell sticky-sick and sweet, the dilapidated mountains of pillows upon which I try to arrange my body like a bag a of broken sticks or rusty hinges.

I do not want to feel guilty about building up a tolerance to the drugs.

I do not want to be hysterical.

I hate myself for being so self-absorbed.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

together, we make our reality real.
I forget without you. String little
hellos in the baby's gurgle. Slippers
in daylight, all this gray turned
to sparkle. The stillness
in bedclothes: wondering
wakefulness. The bend
in my spine: still here.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

It feels like it is taking forever: this healing. It takes a long time. It's an orange color, like oil. Liquid gold. Rusted iron in the twirls, marshland habitat. Red throated birds call out to us. We're taking forever: too long.
is this real?