of what he once was
are all that sustain him.
He has no hope. His aching
visions of what should have been kill
comfort. What could have been is a lie.
He has no hope. He has no future. He
has only now. Life took revenge for a
life too well lived. He was a man out
of time. Now, there is nothing but
time. Resilient, he bears
it. He will not die. He
will suffer, always.
He will not die.
He does not,
Pain stitched into each
joint, he withers and fades. A
The way the scent of the air changes as the day goes on: the warming sweetness of morning; the sharp resin of fir trees as the sun heats the day; the cool, soft evening air with the ground and lake and all the waving leaves mixed in. The way the early evening light strikes the birches and makes them chiaroscuro dramatic. The way my feet burn. The smudged charcoal underbellies of terns over the green water. Their sliding paths through the air. This deep, stabbing pain in both temples. The buzzing flight of sugar-fuelled hummingbirds. The way my entire body is filled with pain and unable to move from this chair. Heavily, here, just so. That bird, there, hopping from branch to branch. Almost hidden. The feel of my skin as a gentle breeze touches the side of my face. The things I long to do. That dragonfly, there, and the sun behind its wings. Every dancing leaf. The air again: changing.
Maybe me still being here is as random as someone else dying. Maybe my decisions and actions only worked for me and cannot be replicated by anyone else. I honestly don’t know. My mind is dwarfed by life’s mysterious ways. … All I know for certain is that as much as I would like to live in a cancer-free world and help anyone who is struggling with the disease, all I can really do is to share my story.
That is all I have to offer. A story. My story. And I would suggest that rather than copying mine or anyone else’s, make sure you’re comfortable with yours. Feel it. Articulate it. Own it. Live it. No matter how shitty you think it is. Because ultimately your story is the only thing that can and WILL help you deal with both – life and the loss of it.
| Deeply submerged in the melancholy of the dying summer with my knees telling tales of the approaching cold and winter. My bones, surrounded with tumor necrosis cytokines causing acute and debilitating inflammation are dreading it.
My body is a place of pain. My body is also a place of unutterable solitude, longing, and love. Love holding my cells in place. Love feeding them and helping them communicate better. I must find that place every time the system that keeps them in check collapses. I must remember it is here, all the time, ubiquitous and ever present.
I need to embrace my disease and live with it as best as I possibly can.
But most of all, I need to find a sustainable source of warmth and store it into my bones, so that they can sing songs of sun, warm breeze and golden evenings like this one all year round.
There is too much light
in the air today.
My eyelids won’t retreat;
they’re the heavy squad,
repelling all invaders.
from a day too heavy
for my chest,
I can only lie
Breathing takes will.
Push, push the invisible hand
feel it press back
Fibres tug against their tense kin,
stiffening, a shudder of spasms.
Nerve endings return fire,
trajectory dipping from collarbone
till fingertips vibrate
The throb, I ache.
My feet go AWOL – no –
now they’re back with a burn.
Television assaults me,
sound and vision launch
attacking my senses.
My brain scrambles to keep up.
In silence, the soft pillows embrace me.
I lean in.
Let them tend my wounds.
(After Tennyson’s ‘The Dying Swan’)
In this wasting plain a
Wedge of swans
Tangle in water
So deep her eyes
In the gyring ferment
I am impotent
Warming blankets only burn
I cannot touch her
I cannot reach her
To this berth I cannot go
Drop around her bed
Swans wedge her in again
Their bowing heads
This churning of webbed feet
In water I cannot enter nor fathom
There is no present no past no future
Only some existence that is now and not now
She would wish to die
I would wish to die
Explicitly she does not wish to die
The room is swirling with the rotation of swans
Specters with no beauty
Shape-shifters leading to another world
No end no beginning
Still outside we hear
In thunder birds
A swirling of swallows
- by Mary Marie Dixon
On Scarborough beach, I played football.
This image is one of my new paintings. It is autobiographical and consists of two halves. One half reflects my early life growing up in Neepsend, an industrial area of Sheffield. The other half depicts me, as a child, on the beach with my football.
Eight months of pain, guilt.
Losing my movement slowly,
Affecting my work.Pain in my hip, back,
Encroaching on everything.
Physio: please help.Boss can’t understand,
Pretended it wasn’t bad.
I used to be fit.
Trying to be kind to self.
But some days that’s hard.
[This image shows my legs in better times, when they were still able to take me on a 15 kilometre hike through the Rocky Mountains. Summer, 2017.]
Lie in the car, stiff as a bell’s tongue, and just as mute. Pain in aspiration stage – still hoping I’ll hurl myself against walls, eager to chime.
After a blurry episode give looking another go. Burgess Park is not itself right now: tiny, lifeless, the green of grass and foliage moulded in the same garish tones. Clouds, birds, a plastic sun, tacked on a smudge of blue. We too minuscule and stuck mid-move in a scale-model some architect should have improved.
Bed, at long last. Limbs scattered like mikado sticks; palms so painful they seem large as cities. Must have crashed across the continent, one hand throbbing in Reykjavik, the other limp in the Aegean Sea. Each crumple in my sheet a mountain ridge or carved out canyon, nuzzling the gash of me. A chore to breathe.
Days shivering in sleety weather zones. I pine for hot. PEMalaise me not!
Blog and book: Sublimely Supinely