Saturday, January 7, 2017

Trying to help a friend deal with cancer


During surgery for something else in September, an old friend was discovered to have an advanced stage of cancer that had been previously undetected, though she had been having health issues for a while. The cancer has spread, and treatments have failed. She and  husband are now talking about hospice.

Many people, including I, have offered her love and well-wishes and prayers. But I thought that if I were in her situation, while I'd be grateful for the supportive messages, I'd also welcome something to take my mind off my troubles, and maybe add a dash of humor. I know I'd likely be cracking jokes to make light of the situation; one of my way of dealing with grief and worries is humor. Heck, I want Three Stooges and Marx Brothers routines to be played at my wake! And I know she has a sense of humor.

So I decided to send her light verse. I don't know if she's even able to read them at this point, but I'm hoping she is able to smile even just a little.

So far I've sent two batches - one more literary in nature (she's a fellow English teacher), and one just plain silly.

The literary ones are among my "slug" haiku:

a slug among weeds
looks forward every year
to fruitcake weather

a slug among weeds

ventured into “The Waste Land”
but found no food there

a slug among weeds
wonders why there are so few
poems about slugs

a slug among weeds
assumes Whitman assumes he'll
celebrate himself


a slug among weeds
dreams of hearing a frog leap
into an old pond

a slug among weeds
conspiratorially
mouths, "Who's your Dada?"

a slug among weeds
never met Harvey, but he
wouldn't mind a drink

a slug among weeds
finds too much time with Prufrock
leaves him etherized

a slug among weeds
unconsciously knows Dada
is as Dada does

a slug among weeds
believes when it comes to fleas
that Adam had `em

a slug among weeds
climbed up the red wheelbarrow
and enjoyed the view

a slug among weeds
begs pardon for the trail left
on the dead wife's comb

a slug among weeds
spotted Ginsberg and Whitman
shopping for fresh fruit

a slug among weeds
watched as Garcia smirked and
crumpled the message
 
I also sent some "bad" haiku I'd written for a bad haiku contest one December (hence the holiday subject matter). 


Clem’s birthday shotgun
provided the Christmas feast –
Rudolph’s final flight

 Aunt Ann’s old fruitcake
arrived for Christmas again
(no, not Uncle Ed)

over the river
and through the woods we scurry –
in-laws still find us                                                            

Next year, Santa, please
along with your reindeer bring
a pooper scooper

finding stale cookies
Santa raids the cheapskate’s fridge –
ah, a pecan pie

folks in their beds with
visions of credit card bills
dancing in their heads



half-eaten cookie
clutched in Santa’s stiff fingers –
wicked witch cackles

prone beneath the tree
an unconscious Santa Claus –
Ned’s booby trap worked

Christmas morning Mass –
during Father’s homily
beeps from new game boys

practical joke with
Ex Lax explains why reindeer’s
nickname was “Dumper”
 
I don't know if it's wrong to send the poems or if they are appreciated. It could be my friend and her husband are wondering what's wrong with me. The intent is just to make things lighter, and as I said humor is one of the ways I deal with stress and grief.
I plan to send more poems, unless I hear a request to stop.
And I will keep praying.
UPDATE: I JUST GOT WORD THAT THE FRIEND DIED YESTERDAY. I'M HEARTBROKEN.

Pax et bonum

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