19 August 2011

Poetry Moment

You all know that I love to read and I have a soft spot for poetry but, believe it or not, there is more to me than that. Another fascinating aspect of my personality is that I love quilts and quilting. So this little collection appeals to me on more than one level - the cover makes my eyes happy and the poetry inside makes my heart happy. Here's the cover of 'Soul Clothes' by Regina D. Jemison:
Pretty, eh? (yes, I am Canadian!) The following poem is long but it touched me in a very personal way as a woman and as a family member of breast cancer survivors. I hope you enjoy it.

WOMEN WAITING: breast cancer, a story

My time is passing
Without regret
                          With struggle
Without love
                        With Passion
My time is filled with purpose
                                     intensity and passion
                 (Without glory and recognition)
My time is passing
full of hope, promise, and direction

I. Once upon a time: SILENCE

Women sat waiting 

with shooting throbbing pounding pain
radiating in the cavities of their breasts
and minds

Once upon a time

Disfigured by silence
Maimed by complacency
We were quietly vanishing
No one talked
            to share comfort, commonality, and fear

Once upon a time

there was no awareness
            no commercials, infomercials, or psa's
            no month set aside, or money for research
            no pink ribbons
            no marches or walks

Once upon a time

there were no reminders
            no hanging shower cards
            no breast self-examinations
            no informational pamphlets

Once upon a time

Women suffered in a cultural, physiological, sexual void
asking why?
generations of women and mothers and daughters
alone and afraid

Women, faded away, disappeared
into blinding flourescent lights
of diagnostic rooms, x-ray rooms, waiting rooms

breasts lopped off


Symbols of growth/from child to teen to woman
Symbols of power/perky inviting nipples, sexy valley deep cleavage
Symbols of wealth/silicone valley for the rich
Symbols of burden/heavy, harnessed breasts in bondage bras 
            causing shoulder scars and bent over backaches
Small breasts, symbols of inadequacies

            fairy tales and myths

Eyes hollow, shoulders shrugged, hesitant hugs
would anyone know, if our breasts were gone?

Would anyone know the wrenching pain
in the cubby hole of our armpits
the inability to lift our arms or our voices?
Would anyone know our loss in the attic of our emotions?
Would anyone know the hole in our heart
the rejection of lovers, the confusion of husbands, the dismissal of 
Would anyone know the humiliation in locker rooms, public 
restrooms, and airports?
III. Once upon a time: my story

I am the Woman waiting

for the results of my second mammogram and
bilateral ultrasound at Sinai Grace in Detroit, Michigan
waiting with women
old enough to be my mother or grandmother
they don't look like me, but

our breasts are gone

Once upon a time, not so very long ago,
I shopped for prothesis,
prothesis that didn't come in my size or shape or my brown color

                       prothesis, the word doesn't even sound natural,
                       doesn't sound like me
foreign like the scar it was supposed to cover
or the facade it was supposed to create
so I wouldn't remember
the scars, the scars that I was afraid to touch, afraid
touching would make the absence of my breasts real

scars that debilitated my self esteem
ignited my anger
confused me
reminded me of the
cold detached treatment of doctors and nurses
             medical professionals turned insurance pimps

IV. Once upon time, today

Women speak CANCER
we look it in the eye, know and dismantle facts from myth and
share our knowledge, demand honesty and respect
straighten our backs, lift our songs


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