No introduction no knock on the door no polite cough or tug at the elbow
Just creeps in unseen, insinuates itself invisible and microscopic
Bides its time lurking darkly a chancer, a spiv looking for a break
When it finds a good grip it clings on for dear life my dear life
I have cancer.
Three words you never want to have to say.
3 small words, so hard to get out, you want to spit out, wish I could shit out.
I have cancer.
Uninvited, unwelcome. Yes, so fucking what!
No, cancer has me. Cancer has me to deal with. Going to make it regret finding me.
No taste on my tongue, my skin tastes different everything's like eating mud, don't recognize food, sense of smell deceives me, eat to fuel myself
Exhausted, waves of tiredness, drop to sleep at a moment's notice, finished by a walk wake up at all hours peeing for my country
Can't concentrate for more than 15 minutes, feel rimbambito nausea creeps up unsuspected, fear of swallowing anything, food, the tablets that are curing me, even simple water
Side aches, the wound is closed and healing well but reminds me it's not done my wife cries when she sees me down, what am I doing to her? 16 days to go, just 384 hours and then? Freedom or doubt? Up to me now I guess
Blood vitally viscous coursing crimson through the miraculous labyrinth of my body
Surging, racing, pumping, eddying, oozing through every artery, vein and vessel
Carrying oxygen, life, DNA, family, nourishment, energy, warmth, healing, and identity to every cell
Giving form to my soul spark to my neurons flight to my thoughts
Blood lines blood ties blood brothers blood thicker than water blood and guts blood of Christ blood that sustains us from one cell to a billion
Carrying disease, poison, bacterial and viral invaders smoothly and quietly to ambush life's processes at any and every stage
Serving two masters, knowing and unknowing, willing and unwilling, helping to kill me as it surges to keep me alive
Blood and anti-blood
Come again -Come again? Yes, come again -You what? I said come again -Eh? You heard, come again -Pardon? That's right, come again, it's back, your cancer
The poem "Cancer" was featured previously in Ultrasounds.
Charles was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in September 2010 during a routine check for something else. After surgery and chemotherapy, Charles returned to work. Recently his cancer has returned, and he has resumed chemo. "Cancer no longer defines my life," he says. "Instead I have found new purpose and inspiration to write and create art, which help me in my fight. The fight of my life."