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Womannotated – A Poet And Her Anxiety Walk Into The Woods

August 22nd, 2020

A Poet And Her Anxiety Walk Into The Woods

A poet and her anxiety walk

into the woods — the person, thing and place

misunderstood for none of them can talk

adequately to explain how retraced steps

in dirt unburden pain.  Though two depart

just one returns.  Emaciated pines Continue reading “Womannotated – A Poet And Her Anxiety Walk Into The Woods”

Rot by Kevin Farrell

Call up your dead ones,
let ‘em know where they buried their bones,

shit isn’t meant to be,
just manifest what is into being,

muster up the strength to leave the apartment,
anxiety used to be hell without drugs,

now we’re walking clean, clean, clean and clean with meaning,

pretentious former addicts pissing off the weekend warrior drunks who want to piss the bed in peace.

All the apples of the family tree 
convinced they’re not as rotten as me,

drink yourself under the table
playing footsie with sobriety.

  Continue reading “Rot by Kevin Farrell”

Three Poems by Ben Gallagher

Shadowdad

Continue reading “Three Poems by Ben Gallagher”

how did we get here -A Flash Fiction by Stephanie C. Odili

how did we get here

Content Warning – Childhood Sexual Abuse

Continue reading “how did we get here -A Flash Fiction by Stephanie C. Odili”

OTHER THAN DESIRE – A Prose Poem by Courtney LeBlanc

Continue reading “OTHER THAN DESIRE – A Prose Poem by Courtney LeBlanc”

Traces — A poem by Justene Dion-Glowa

Traces

Continue reading “Traces — A poem by Justene Dion-Glowa”

Julia Lewis: Gut Things

Gut Things I

The oral, at the end of one symbiosis is periodontopathic, we think parasitic bacterium to the human we think (symbiosis does not mean only parasitism to the) Fusobacterium nucleatum who has been, (like soybeans to breast cancer repeatedly and broadly) associated with parasitism within colorectal tumors.  Continue reading “Julia Lewis: Gut Things”

On Personal Transformation

by Amee Nassrene Broumand

 

This isn’t an essay. It started life as an essay but then it began to twist & bristle & sprout distinctly unessaylike appendages.

The eyestalks struck me by surprise.

Perhaps it’s an insect or some sort of strange crustacean.

* * * * *

Imagine you find a giant handbag bleating in the corner like a lost lamb. You take it & shake its contents out onto the table.

What do you find?

Take a minute to think about this.

* * * * * Continue reading “On Personal Transformation”

‘Walking Towards Death’ – 5 Essays on Mortality by Arathi Devandran

Part 2: ‘Mixing Memories’

One of my most beloved memories is that of gnarled hands plaiting my long, curly hair, fingers slowly sifting through tangles, gently unfurling errant curls, and tucking them neatly into the beginnings of a French plait. In my ear, the sound of my grandmother’s voice softly admonishes me, telling me to sit still if I want my French braid to turn out properly.

My grandmother was very good at French plaits, and, as her beloved youngest granddaughter, I took it upon myself to have my hair done whenever I could. It was one of the many perks that came with living with my grandmother, who was my principal caretaker during my childhood years, while my parents were off working and doing other adult things.

Continue reading “‘Walking Towards Death’ – 5 Essays on Mortality by Arathi Devandran”

‘Walking Towards Death’ – 5 Essays on Mortality by Arathi Devandran

Part 1: ‘Watching My Father Age’

For as long as I’ve known him, my father has been the strong one in the family. He was indefatigable; during my teenage years, he worked several jobs, survived on three hours of sleep daily, and still had enough patience to deal with an ailing wife and a mildly hormonal teenager.

My father never fell ill. While most of my early memories of my mother are linked to hospitals and needles and antiseptic cream, my early memories of my father are of tireless hard work, and the absence of any kind of disease.

When I was younger, my father would carry me when I was sleepy. I was tall, even as a child, but that never stopped him from swinging me onto his back, hoisting as gracefully as one could a gangly, all-arms-and-legs kid, and striding to wherever it was that we had to go. He would never utter a complaint, he would never say I was heavy, and he would never turn me away.

Continue reading “‘Walking Towards Death’ – 5 Essays on Mortality by Arathi Devandran”

‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran

Part 5: ‘The Everyday’

I am heading home after a long day at work, and I receive a frantic text from S, a dear friend. She has received upsetting news – the father of a good friend of hers has been diagnosed with cancer.

“I feel so helpless,” S writes. “There’s not much I can do for her, except remain available for her, and provide her support.”

I pause before replying.

I had been in her friend’s position before, of being told things that had made my world come crashing down around me. Of facing the insurmountable task of needing to be strong, even though all I had wanted to do was to crawl into a hole, to hide myself from everyone, from myself.

It had taken me several years to come to terms with my mother’s diagnosis, even after she was given a clean bill of health.

Continue reading “‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran”

‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran

Part 4: ‘On Hope’

I could not go with my mother to the doctor’s that day. Something urgent had cropped up at work, and I could not excuse myself in time for her appointment.

The feeling of guilt was familiar, but I had gotten used to it over the years. I had begun to understand that, as a caretaker, as part of a support system for someone with a long-term illness, I had to determine the limits of my capabilities as well. A caretaker was useless if she needed caretaking herself.

And the years of hospital visits and doctors’ appointments had almost desensitized my mother. Almost, because one can never be completely nonchalant about ill-health. But she had gotten used to it, and she had gotten used to dealing with most of it alone.

She rang me in the middle of the day while I was busy with work.

She was silent on the phone for a long time.

“The oncologist has officially declared that I’m in remission.”

Joy is a strange thing.

It hits you unexpectedly, from all directions, overwhelming, all-encompassing, until it settles so deeply inside you that you feel it radiating, throbbing, filling you.

Continue reading “‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran”

‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran

Part 3: ‘The Scare’ 

 

Dearest,

You know what the worst thing about cancer is? Once you’re touched by the disease, there is no turning back.

It has been four years since Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four years since she went through her treatment. Four years of living with cancer, where in one way or another, we are reminded of its viciousness every day.

There is no respite. There is no end. Because from the moment the doctors tell you that you have the disease, it affects every moment of your life thereafter. It becomes a part of you. It is the shadow you can never quite get rid of, the awful feeling in the pit of your stomach that never goes away, the thing that wakes you in the darkest hours of the night, drenching you in cold sweat.

You might think this is only the case for the patient–the person who has been branded with this dreaded disease–but what few people know is that, when cancer touches one life, it touches everyone related to its first victim.

Those things that I wrote above? I go through them too. Cancer has become an indelible part of my life, and I’m not even the one suffering through it. The haunting may be different, but it is no less difficult, no less torturous, to deal with.

A week ago, Mum had a spate of dizzy spells. We didn’t think too much of it. These things happen, and then they go away. But, in her case, the dizzy spells didn’t go away. The alarm bells began ringing, fast and furious.

They did all the tests they could. Dad and I stood by helplessly, watching as she was poked and prodded by needles, wheeled to the X-ray room and then to the MRI scanning theatre.

Hours later, the doctors came and told us they’d found a tumor in her brain. Possibly malignant. Brain cancer.

And then they left us to deal with it. While our world came crashing down, the world outside of that little ward continued at its steady pace.

I think back to that moment – me leaning against a table because my legs had suddenly lost strength, mind racing, trying to figure out how the family was going to get through this again; my father, sitting next to my mother, holding her hand while she cried; and the sound of my mother’s crying, a low keening wail that was coming from a place that seemed so broken, so devoid of hope.

Thinking back on that day, I cannot remember many things. I cannot remember what we talked about after the doctors gave us the news. I cannot remember what we wore, what we ate for lunch – nothing.

But I can remember that single scene, like a tableau etched in a dark corner of my mind, and the sound of my mother’s cry.

***

They came back into the room again, hours later. Only to tell us that they had looked at her older records from years ago, and that they had spotted this tumor then too. It wasn’t new. It wasn’t a metastasis. It wasn’t cancerous.

 

Continue reading “‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran”

‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran

Part 2: ‘The Treatment’

 

 

Note: This interview was written from a series of conversations between the author and her mother over several years. It has been put together to present this part of the series.

Me: Do you remember the day of your diagnosis?

My Mother: Yes. It is a day I will never forget. I remember the doctor telling me that I had a good chance of survival, that the lump they had discovered was small, that there was a fighting chance. The doctor spoke a language of hope. But all I could hear was death, disease, disaster. You know that saying about the world crashing down on you? Yes, that is what happened to me. The world as I knew it came crashing down on me. Continue reading “‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran”

‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran

Part 1: ‘When We Found Out’

 

Dear diary,

It seems silly that I am writing in my diary at this age, and yet –

Mother called earlier today. The biopsy results are in:

A malignant tumor. Breast Cancer. Continue reading “‘Living With Cancer’ – an essay in five parts by Arathi Devandran”

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