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Here we are, in bed sleeping (well Dan & the cat are) the sleep of all is well and the same ol’ same ol. I’m precocious, I haven’t even gone to bed let alone waited for the sun to come up, slip into my Nice Girl clothes and ride Down to Santa Rosa where Carla says I will be irrevocably changed. She’s right of course, & I’m changed already. Already I am on the Fear Train, BUT it’s not going as fast as it was a week ago.
It’s wimmin. They be changin’ my spiritual aspects, the way the Mds will change the research of the senses I do, and I will mourn for the rest of my life, but we all know it will get less and less, and then one day I’ll forget completely that I only have one breast unless a miracle happens and its not malignant. I can wish if I want to.
I spent a bit of today getting my bedroom ready for a sore person to come home and get in bed, nice clean English rose sheets, a vase of flowers: tuberrose, feverfew, sweetheart rose buds and Bouncing Bet which is such a deliciously bawdy English name left over from Chaucer and Shakespeare and is a magenta flat flower with four petals on a stem of the softest fuzziest imaginable grey-green with criss-crossed flowers on the stem and O! they are just so little girl slipper-sweet as they wave in the sun which isn’t too hot and isn’t too breezy. I am back and forth cleaning and taking out trash and wishing I were stronger so when I Do come home tomorrow, I won’t just
flop in bed and fall directly to sleep, do not pass Go, do not collect two hundred dollars… (family humor : both my sons think it’s stupid to buy me presents because what if they buy me a book I have already read, or a piece of jewelry that I have, they feel terrible and I tell them they have my taste so they shouldn’t feel bad. But I am happy to take the money, because they don’t know if I am out of cadmium red in the tube, or typing paper, or sterling silver on the spool for soldering and making jewelry ot pearls. Sop they are giving me what I want. Even my sweetheart girlfriend in Colorado asks me what do I want because she won a suit against Con Ed when a telephone riddled with termites broke and fell of her car and her as she brushed sand off her feet at the beach… and has Ducats and I can say I would love a first edition of a book by So’n’So and she is delighted to buy it. We’ve been friends since our early 20s and I looked and dressed and was as poor as Patti Smith and she was a long blonde drink of water in tweed, beret, cowboy boots in which she played the C mincing her steel-toes and flashing me delicate eyelash smiles.
I’m not gonna pretend I am not sad, that I am not experiencing sorrow, because I am. And I won’t lie, even to myself. Why should I? But oh! I am Soo sad and soo wishing I could turn the clock back one year to the year I skipped a mammogram. Just one time. So sisters, don’t put it off because some doctor says, “we’re not testing every year anymore, we don’t feel it’s necessary .” It wasn’t my doctor who told me that, it was another one, and I bought it, because around my birthday I’m busy putting in the garden, and I was afraid, and now I’m paying and oh it hurts. AND I didn’t know my
aunt, and my cousin who’s my age have had breast cancer, the cousin going through it right now. If I had known , I would have gone in every year , maybe twice a year… I appreciate every single woman who said doctors are treating it like a chronic disease now, instead of a hopeless one.It helps take a bit of my fear away. Going to Berkeley was the best thing I could have done for my education. Oh, not the University. The bookstores, the cafes, the people, the music! Yes, the grass, the art exhibits, but of course best of all, the poetry readings. I haven’t been to enough poetry readings, even bad ones and I haven’t read at enough, made enough money, I have to treat this like an amusement park and yet I am (excuse the terriby ironic pun), sure I haven’t gone on all the rides I want to go on. Done all the important things that must be done, read all the books I have meaning too Oh and music! And poems that are stewing in the heart muscles that I haven’t written down yet. And I tell you I have four drawers in a file cabinet so full the papers with poems, stories, essays on them and they are sticking out like feathers on a headdress. I want to do so many things, I want to reach my shoulders into the sky as if they were Japanese kites and by lifting my arms into the wide open stratosphere, I want to rise up on the warm air that turns cold against my cheeks the higher I go and will require to hammer ou hhhh will require to hammer out the grandest beat poems that the earth and God ever heard and all shall rejoice because they be no angst, no cynicism, no despair in the poems, only the rejoicing of life. I want to write a poem on each feather as they reach into the sky and carry me a-loft, carry me straight
into the heart of God.