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death

Shingles

There is no other title I can give to today’s post. I am in my early fifties, and I have the Zoster Virus, which gives us Shingles. I knew I was at risk; I had Chicken Pox as a kid, the Virus lays dormant, I think at the base of the spine, waiting until it can find the most inconvenient time to emerge. It’s a virus which attacks the nervous system, so the pain is a real deep, nerve pain. The lovely part of it is the awesome rash which appears; It can show up on your torso or your face, usually only on one side, or the other. Mine is on my left torso, down to my hip and butt.

Pain, we’re no stranger to pain down here at The Rusty Prose. The pain is intense, exquisite and all encompassing. Yes, Shingles is inclusive, pain everywhere for everybody. I can’t get comfortable; I can’t sit, I can’t lay down, I can’t stand, and I manage to sleep in chunks of time. I have nerve blockers, which are different than opioids, but they have side effects, for me, I am now flat out tired all the time. I am used to having an underlying fatigue and constant discomfort from my Cancer ordeal, but this is a horse of another colour, a different animal all together. Pain, oh pain. Odes have been written about pain, I think I have another blog post devoted to it, either posted or in a rough draft somewhere.

I’m having a hard time focusing on my tasks at hand, such as writing, blogging, and general upkeep around the place. I am on social media; I think some of my posts were misleading, and some people misunderstood some things I posted or my intent and so some drama ensued, not at all how I like to roll. But, such is life. I had to go about town yesterday for a Dr. Appointment then do a blood test; later I was talking to someone in the parking lot and soon I realized I was almost incoherent. Not quite but getting close to it. This is not a good place to be, unable to focus, unable to communicate properly and besmirching my own reputation online all because my health and my meds have me distracted.

I’ve been off work for one week and today is the first day I’ve had to myself, I don’t need to leave the house so I am devoting some time to my ignored blog. So sorry bloggy woggy, I’ve been neglecting you. I did a thirty day blog challenge which ended two weeks ago, then I took an intentional few days off, was about to get back into it when I got the Shingles. I think it comes on for a week or two before the virus starts to do the nasty on your nervous system; I was noticing something was not quite right, but I was so focus on my thirty day blog challenge that I though I was just over working myself.

I think I have a couple more weeks of this, but now that I’m home, and I am getting used to the pain et al, it’s time to put my focus back to my blog, and to my writing in general. As well as maybe get some housework done and get started or at least prep for a new hobby. I posted something earlier about how writing was a hobby, but now that I am aiming to make writing my side hustle I need a hobby, so I’m looking into model rail. Bu first and foremost, I really need to focus on my health and well being.

Like that old saying goes, if you don’t have your health…

One Lost haiku

I wrote a Haiku this morning, I wrote it on my phone then posted it on Twitter, and yet there is no trace of it on my phone or in my Twitter feed.

I am also working on an actual blog; I know this poor blog of mine has been neglected as of late, but we are back in the saddle, out here at The Rusty Prose.

Here, for a moment,
Eroded from memory;
Ice crystals, or love.

Some Haiku

Here are a couple Haiku I found, I wrote them a few moths after my final Chemo treatments.

 

Wet, Lush, Green field;
Geese flying North, honking loud;
A warm breeze blowing.

A lone frozen oak;
A strong cold wind, one limb breaks;
The pain is silent.

The Forest inside the Trees

From where I sit, I see the forest inside the trees. There is life in there, I see life, I see love. It rolls, it moves, it tells a story. A green pulsing orb, breathing at me, towards me, into me. There is rot, there is litter, there is debris. Only now the trees look back at me, what do they see? Why have I only noticed just now? Are they replying to my love letters? Do they know I sit, and look inside them to see the forest?

I realize, I am only here for but one minute of their lives, oh how they can savour that one minute though. When they let me in, when they’ve invited me in for tea. When I have my invite of dusty bark, and mossy knots. I will accept with honour and grace, I will be so flattered as to be accepted into their ferny realm. I would give them my time, all my time, all but a mere fraction of their day, I would be theirs, I would give them my time.

What is my worth to them? Is my devotion enough? I am, without a doubt, not the only being to pay respect. I am flesh and bone, barely enough to fertilize one of their saplings. Why me, why now? They are looking at me, as though waiting for an answer? What answer can I give to them but to say yes? But, yes to what? What is the answer they are waiting for? They look upon me still, as though they’ve always been aware of my presence, but choose now to show.

I’ll pretend to know what they mean, much like, as a child, I could communicate with animals, they could read my thoughts, and were merely empathizing with me. The forest, inside the trees, is waiting for me, awaiting my arrival. I don’t need to think about it, they’ve sent the invite, I’d be a fool not to go. I can rest, rest and sleep along the grande cedars, their rotted ancestors covered in moss. I could sleep, and be nourished, in my nursery of greens and browns. I will communicate, I will talk, I will be, I will be one of them.

I will no longer sit and watch the love inside the forest, or watch the life in the trees, I will be there. I will be the forest, I will be the trees. I can be one of them, they see that in me, they know, now, I am one of them. I will go, I will be one of the trees, I will be the forest. I will pull the blanket over myself, I will wish and pine, for one, or two to disappear with me, but I will pull the blankets over myself alone.

Nostalgia

Have you escaped from your past? I’ve been able to hide from mine, but there is no escape, no statute of limitations. Where are the people you have hurt, where are the people who have hurt you? Have they escaped their past, are they looking for you? What is inescapable? I’ve reunited with people, from my past, who have not at all been able to escape their past. As a matter of fact, though I do get nostalgic, I think I have moved beyond my past, but I know it lurks around behind me, somewhere.

I push myself when I am tired, I gain some ground. I have phobia’s, but as an extroverted introvert I do my best to be intrepid, within my physical means, and, post Cancer, I may not care so much any more about phobia’s. I am wondering if that is what this is all about, Cancer. Cancer changed me to a degree or two, there is no denying that fact. My Chemo treatments left a mark, but we do our best and we march forth, we carry on, as they say. We all tire in our own ways, I push my self, not to exhaustion, but through the tired.

I look at the trees, I long for the days of quiet solitude, days when there were more trees than people, no light or noise pollution, the smell of horses in the air. I only dream of fruitful and prosperous times. I am obviously not adverse to hardship, I just do not want my pipe dreams to be rife with strife. In my current state, I would most likely stare at the trees as I either starve to death, or I keep a large animal from starving to death. Am I nostalgic for Mother Nature?

When I was diagnosed with Cancer, I went home, had a beer, dialed up some music, some of the ‘get together’ party music from my past, the way way back time, and had a good cry. A few beers, some eclectic obscure music, and memories of all my rather enlightened cohorts, nostalgia. Many of whom were dead, married, disappeared, incarcerated, or otherwise. I was already nostalgic, but the spectre of death, ones life flashing before ones eyes, was quite the event. A few more beers were in order.

Looking back on my life, I, at times, had a lot of fun, and, at times, I did did not.

I notice, when people say they’d like to go back to a certain time period, they tend pick some idealistic, or ideal, epoch, but they might not take into consideration that the hard times were usually austere times, not so much fun. I have an ideal time, and maybe a few settings, but I’ll save those for my pipe dreams.

Music, music in general, always takes me back. I don’t need, or even want a time machine, although that would be a riot unto itself. While physically going back in time has its appeal, I do like our ‘now time,’ our current present tense, with instant access to any music I love, any time I want, I use that as my time machine, music feeds and nourishes my nostalgia.

Humping your Hot Dragon

Okay, here is another gem I found in my files, I hadn’t dated it but it seems like I wrote this only a few months after my final chemotherapy treatment. I was obviously still in pain and reeling from the side effects of the chemo. Once again I have no recollection of writing this, so, without further ado, here it is in it’s raw form. Here at The Rusty prose, we’re unsure where I was going with this, perhaps I’ll revisit this and turn this into something awesome to read.

 

Humping your Hot Dragon

Hot, it was so hot. He picked up the Dragon which immediately set about blowing balls of fire before them. The dragon was so sick but refused to admit so. They had set out early in the morning to avoid the heat, but the birds had warned the sun so the sun had come up earlier that day and was none too happy about the birds waking it up so early. He had been warned about his sick dragon, but as he usually did when people told him about his sick dragon he just laughed it off.

He had, as was his usual, awoken so early as to be the one to waken the neighbourhood. His neighbours had oft complained that while he liked to get up early, the entire neighbourhood did not share his enthusiasm for his hobby of choice. This morning he awoke with an unusual fear; he had been having the oddest dream about trying to line up two or three islands in an archipelago, but they wouldn’t line up and one of them erupted as in a volcanoes creating a fourth island which still wouldn’t line up properly. He stopped trying to interpret his dream, realizing that the gist of his dream seemed to tell him he was frustrated by something.

He was now a recluse, but I suppose by society’s standards he was a pariah, due to the sick dragon. He didn’t even know he had a dragon, some people tried to point it out to him be he was too preoccupied. He tended to be able to only have on single focus, no multi-tasking for this guy.

When confronted by the yoga team, the dragon changed colour and set about inhaling as much air as possible. Dragons at filtering out the oxygen and hydrogen to use for its flame throwers. The battles were epic, some raging for years, entering different time zones as well as different planes of this world.

All too soon he lost track of the time, this particular trek the they had encountered more of the yoga people, who seemed to be on their side. The anti-yoga people had converged on them and now were using the dragon against him. The heat from the dragon was unbearable, so focused to a fine point as though the dragon was enjoying itself. The yoga crowd had jumped on him and were now trying to pull his head so down and forward so as to be standing with his feet on his own head.

This was a problem he thought would never be solved. It was in his nature to do things the wrong way. The heat had cooled off; Mother Nature abated the wars with her cool marine air. The dragon, now cured, healed and cooled was soon gone, leaving the young man to clean up the mess, explain everything to the authorities, as well as go back to his job.

An Ordeal I would not Wish upon my worst Enemy

I have battled Cancer, I’ve endured Chemotherapy and I’ve suffered the indignities of Surgery and yet I have seen first hand just how fortunate I was to be dealing with my particular ordeal. Cancer was a formidable foe to be certain, warranting the battle of a lifetime. Chemotherapy was an out-worldly experience, one that I would never, ever want to go through again in this lifetime; I found the experience to be horrifying, an encounter which exposed me to be the coward that I am. I had Surgery to reconstruct the humerus on my (left) dominant arm after a cancerous tumor ate into the bone resulting in a fracture. Several horrible elements combined for one hell of an ordeal, though I know for certain many others faced even more horrendous situations and they have a faced it with grace, courage and dignity in their own ways.

One year prior to these events, among other things, I had rekindled my passion for writing and had taken up jotting down notes and ideas on a semi-regular basis. I kept it as a hobby, more or less, writing thoughts and ideas, a little more earnest as time went on, making sure I filled any spare time I had with writing. Soon I was writing on a regular basis, albeit for limited time, again mostly thoughts and ideas, and then short story ideas, and some script and stage play ideas. I submitted a short story based on an actual event, then a short stage play, then a fictional short story, none of which were accepted. I felt as though I was getting somewhere with my writing hobby and was looking for creative writing courses when disaster struck, I broke my writing arm and discovered I had Cancer which turned my life upside down for several years.

I was in no state to write, not of mind or body. Six months after the fracture we got smartphones and so that enabled me to start jotting down ideas, all with my right thumb. When, after a fashion, I could prop myself up I was able to write on paper, again with my non-dominant arm. Not an easy feat, to start to write with ones non-dominant arm, try it for a while. I had the added bonus of dealing with the side effects of the Chemotherapy which gave me a temporary cognitive dysfunction to muddle through. Google ‘Chemo brain’ (or maybe I can link it) for a better idea of what that is, or wait a while because I know I’ll have a whole blog post devoted to chemo brain. It took me well over one full year before I was able to even attempt to write with my left arm again, and I am sure my recovery sped up after that.

Though I survived I don’t like that term, ‘Survivor’ or ‘he was a fighter’, somehow, to me, that implies the poor unfortunate souls who succumbed to this horrid disease were not putting in the same effort; we are all different, our Cancers and treatments differ from person to person. Yes, I survived, a victory for me, but it was a Pyrrhic victory

I was not made to devour my fellow man.

I was not put upon this earth to devour my fellow man. It is not in my nature to bend these men to my will.

I am not here to throw them to the ground. These men were not placed here for me to pay for my sins.

We cannot be among others in this state. We do not do these things for our own enjoyment.

All that I can see, in nature, in the trees, I am welcomed into the fold that is the cold ground and the sopping moss.

One only has to look into their favorite mirror to see what is familiar, what is known and what defines oneself.

What are our choices when our mirror reflects an altered vision of ourselves? When we build ourselves, we use our body, our mind, our chemistry, and our biology.

Who do we become when we’ve had our chemistry, our biology, or our specter altered?

What is our recourse when our bodies betray us?

I did invite death in for tea, she refused me. She surveyed my garden but would not enter my parlour.

Death is not a sadist, she is an empath and we love her in her shrouds of deep longing.

We do not deserve her love, we will pine and yearn, but we are not for her.

She will live in my garden, courting mother nature.

These yearnings for solitude will empower the soul. These longings will drive you far.

What your soul has seen, what it is seeing at this moment, your moment, would only serve to drive men mad.

I am a man, I need to be a man. Do we continue to connect the then with the now? When we lose touch with nature what is it we are striving for, what is pushing us forward?

I see us, in nature, and I see us in nature. We reflect our nature back at ourselves, and we enjoy it to be there, to comfort us.

We cannot walk among the trees, breathe of them, see them, and not be part of them. We have lost when they are no longer our friends.

These men, and I am a man, these men, who will not commune with nature, have lost.

I do not wish for the light, I wish for darkness. I am allowed darkness, I am allowed to sleep, allowed to wake, allowed to live for an eternity.

I am no longer my worst enemy, as it is, that is who I am now. We are not looking for that light.

I will leave myself here, where I am, where others would like to lead. We have lost our reference point, I would prefer not one man follows where I may be set to lead.

These things may last, and they will last for many.

I would not know how to die. I know I have a place, in the forest, a place I can see from my chair.

They are not dead out there, they are not waiting for me.

I continue and I will continue on.

When I awake

I need to gather up two or three obscure items, I need to align them, but I can’t quite connect them. I have to gather up two or three obscure items, I need to align them, I cannot get them aligned, I gather them up but cannot get them aligned. I get anxious, but just a little, I need to get them aligned but they won’t go. I get more anxious, then I calm myself down. I try again, this time getting frustrated, no more anxiety, just frustration. Frustration soon turns to annoyance and irritability. Irritable.

I heave a sigh, I am not anxious, I am not frustrated, I am awake. I was dreaming.

I fall back asleep, only to have the same dream loop itself, I then run through the cycle of frustration and annoyance, I realize I am now wide awake. I do not look at the clock, I don’t want to know. But I have to take a guess, have I been asleep long, a couple of hours, a few hours? Do I have two hours or will my alarm go off in two minutes? Why am I awake? Stop thinking, go back to sleep. I am warm, I am safe, I am dry, I am alone.

Oh, that’s why I’m awake, I have to pee.

I have a night light, it is so dark here, I don’t want to turn on the lights, don’t look at the clock, go straight back to bed. Warm, dry, safe, alone. Awake, awake and listening; Ravens, Owls, Eagles, Osprey. Listen for distant highway noise. Is that the twelve-thirty traffic? The two-thirty crew? The three-thirty trucks?

Roll over, snug up the blankets, find the nice spot on my lumpy mattress. Go back to sleep, no thoughts, dark, warm, sleep. Awake, wide awake, listening. No traffic yet. Which traffic will it be? No thinking, go back to sleep. Roll over again, snug up the blankets, stretch, long deep breath, go back to sleep.

Getting darker, warmer, I feel heavy. I am falling asleep, my eyes rolling back into my skull. No thinking, warm, dark, heavy, falling asleep.

Blammo, my alarm sounds four bells! My eyes crank forward, pain, I blurt out an expletive. That’s right my alarm is set for four AM, but I wake up so much earlier than that.

Wow, now I want to make my alarm sound like ‘Blammo’. I’ll have to look into that. Maybe order a special Rusty Prose Blammo alarm maker of some sort.

I jump out of bed immediately, I don’t want to loll about in bed, I need to get up to get ready for work, but first things first. I am creating, or rather, instilling a habit in myself to write for a half hour after getting out of bed. Just another SMART goal to get me through my days. After I write for a half hour, which, by the way, I can now type out five hundred legible words in thirty minutes which is a vast improvement on myself. I go and have a cold shower. Yes, you heard right, this is how I start my day. Well, this is within the first hour of my day.

Yes we are quite proud of ourselves here at The Rusty Prose.

Philosophically speaking

Cancer poetry

The Rusty Prose is in dire need of some renovations, some spring cleaning and I need to plow the back forty, however, we need to make time for writing and reading. There’s always something to be done around here but Real Life (TM) calls for me and, as much as I love it here, I need to pay the bills. I found this while doing some Spring cleaning.

This is a poem I wrote sometime after my ordeal was coming to an end. I don’t know when I wrote this originally, but this version has been edited. I read this at a poetry reading a few years ago and got a nice reception, odd though, there was only one Cancer peep in the house that night and she loved it. The non-Cancer peeps (do we call them civilians?) were a little stunned but appreciative. Civilian or not, they were all poets & writers and I was well received.

This could use a little more work, but I wanted to print out this version first, maybe I’ll keep it this way. I hope you like it. Do you write poetry?

 

Philosophically speaking

Cancer, as a philosophy,
asks the question; what if.
With a period in place of a question mark.

Surgery, as a philosophy,
Asks the question; what was
Without any punctuation mark
What so ever.

Chemotherapy, as a philosophy,
Asks the question;
WTF!!! in bold capital letters.
With three, yes three exclamation marks.

Cancer is a declarative sentence.
Surgery is a dangling participle.
Chemotherapy is seen as a cure for the mundane.

Cancer does not know,
Surgery does not care,
Chemotherapy does not
Think about it.

Don’t know, don’t care,
Don’t think about it.

Cancer, is my frothing and bloodied war horse.
Surgery, is my banner, my bunting, and my crest.
Chemotherapy, is the weight of my armour as I am flung face first down into the muck.