Circle of Sisters


Photo courtesy of Morguefile

I look beyond the horizon of my soul, searching
for connection in the vast wasteland of my being.
Restlessness, agitation rule my waking time.
Dreams, insomnia tick away the hours until dawn.
The tears come suddenly, frequently.
They anger me, these unbidden rivulets
of misery and weakness.
I have no right to wallow and complain.
I did not lose my hair.
I did not lose my breast.
I have a scar – not enough to bear the title
of “Survivor.”

I bottle up inside the negativity,
watching helplessly as it seeps across the barriers
I carefully construct. These promises of safety failing
miserably, leaving me exposed.
A year has passed.
Get over it you drama queen!
Are you simply vying for attention
with your sudden outbursts of rage and anguish?
You don’t need anyone. You have the tools to rise
above this. You studied this, this disease.
You know it well,
all its intricate, poisonous traps and evil intentions.
I spin my wheels helplessly, hopelessly unsure of myself.

The Noble Circle
The what?
A cancer support group. Just try them.
I think you’ll be a fit.
I agree with hesitation, convinced that it won’t work.
I don’t need anyone. I have the tools to rise above this.
I have studied this, this disease.
I know it well, all its finest details.

The time has come to meet them, this group of survivors.
A weekend retreat- but I decline…knowing I’ll be fine.
A season passes.
Desperation and despair permeate my being.
My spirit leaves and watches from the distance.
I fear it’s lost for good and spend the days disheartened.

Another call. We have a spot, a September retreat.
I cry and grasp the opportunity but worry I won’t fit. They’ll have more in common
with each other than with me.
They’ll have lost their hair, their breasts, I think, but
feel relief to see they don’t look any different than me.

I feel guarded this first day and hide behind a collage of images, creating who I am, or who I think I have been.
Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! I lose control and cry.
Angry at my weakness, internal punishment and promises of control rein emotion in.
Benevolent gazes cause discomfort,
unfit for the attention.

A day of meditation, of food and interaction.
My essence hums with energy and excitement,
embraced with positive acceptance, fortified with
vows to dominate emotion.
A sharing circle brings epiphany.
I chew my tongue to focus on the physical,
refusing to break and bow to humiliation.
A woman speaks my heart,
and restraint buckles beneath a wave of hot tears
filling my soul with shame.
Soft touches and kind words of consolation
caress the pain away.
Sisters, they say. I squirm, unfit for the attention.

Drums pounding catch me in their beat, beat beat.
l play and dance in rhythm, two steps away from freedom,
not quite leaving memory and pain.

A final meditation,
the sharing of a story in poetry and art.
I look at those who came before me
and wonder who has passed and who I’ll meet.
A final day begins my transition to a sisterhood
and long-deserved attention.
Sister.
I practice the word, testing its boundaries
and fine lines, embracing long-awaited peace.

 

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com.


Lessons


This week someone told me that I can be a bit negative. I didn’t particularly like to hear that, but it did make me stop and think. And the more I thought, the more I realized that person was right.

It’s been nearly three years since I was in a hold up in a cartel town. I and the people I was with thought it was a cartel hit and that we would die that day. I fled back to the U.S. This week as I looked for military pictures for my work, I had a panic attack. The pictures of soldiers and guns did not bring good memories, and I realized I was still affected, still a bit scared.

It’s been one year, two months, three weeks and four days since I finished my last radiation treatment. This week as I sat waiting for my surgical oncologist to see me, I couldn’t breathe. I realized how angry I still was.

I think often of the fact that I was homeless and jobless, that I can’t find full-time employment now. And then I get angry.

People have told me to look at the bright side- I didn’t die in that hold up. I left Mexico safely even though I had to drive through some of the most dangerous areas. I got cancer, yes, but it was the easiest kind to cure. And when people have said this, I have gotten angrier, and asked them, Why did any of that have to happen to me in the first place? I quit believing that things would work out. I lost my faith in happy endings.

I have raged at the universe for a long time now, asking why. Sometimes, though, the answers aren’t clear. Sometimes you have to create your own so you can come to terms with what life throws at you.

Maybe I had to dance with death a bit to appreciate life.

Maybe I didn’t get that full-time job, so I could learn to slow down and get to know people around me.

Maybe those people were put in my path to teach me a bit more about myself, teach me that maybe I am likable, maybe even lovable. Maybe they will teach me how to trust.

Maybe that part-time job was put in my life so I could discover a career that I love and that I do well.

Maybe circumstances have conspired to teach me that things can work out. When I stop to think about it, things have worked out for me.

And maybe I have it all wrong about happy endings. Maybe it isn’t about endings at all. Life is a continuum. Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad, but mostly, it’s neutral. So maybe the key to contentment is to embrace the neutral.


Perfect Poet Award Week 46


Thank you Jingle and Company and all those who nominated me for this award!

As part of my acceptance, I nominate Liveonimpulse for next week’s award and offer a lighthearted haiku:

Feisty kitten leaps

attacking dog who turns and

growls her discontentment.

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com.

Happy Rally everyone!


The Bottom Line


Photo courtesy of Morguefiles

Last night I read an article online about the 10 best tasting hot dogs in America.  My favorite brand, Coleman hot dogs (no added hormones or antibiotics-ever), was on the list. Number one was Hebrew National Franks.

Now I am always looking for a good new hot dog, but because of my recent bout with breast cancer, I like to make sure they only contain beef that has never had added hormones or antibiotics.

I checked out the Hebrew National site. If they’re Kosher, does that mean no added hormones or antibiotics? No information was on the site, so I wrote to the company, Conagra, that makes the Hebrew National line.

“Are your beef products made using beef that does not contain any added hormones or antibiotics?” I asked.

Here is the company’s response:

“Thank you for your email concerning our Hebrew National Franks.

The animals are tested to assure there is no presence of antibiotics. This is a requirement of the USDA that livestock and poultry flocks be tested for residual antibiotic after the specified withdrawal time.

It is prudent to assume that if a beef product is not marketed as “contains no growth hormones”, that it may contain growth hormones.

There are no regulations that require the disclosure of any use of growth hormones to be indicated by a beef supplier.

The USDA is a great resource as well for this information:
www.fsis.usda.gov/food_safety_education/USDA_Meat_&_Poultry_Hotline/index.asp

Your comments are extremely valuable, and they help us make the food you love even better.

Thanks again for your feedback. We’re listening!”

It’s a very pleasant email. It’s polite and addresses my concerns. So why the hell did it piss me off so much?

It’s a bit like coating poison in honey. Someone who wasn’t paying attention, who didn’t notice an off taste or smell, might ingest the full dose and drop dead.

Take a look at the first sentence, addressing my question as to whether the beef contained antibiotics. Notice how they reassure me that there is no presence of antibiotics in the beef and then end the sentence with “after the specified withdrawal time.” In other words, yes, the cattle WERE fed antibiotics and the beef did (and possibly still does since every steer and every ounce of beef cannot be tested) contain antibiotics, but that information is downplayed by the very positive, “The animals are tested to assure there is no presence of antibiotics.”

Note their response to my question as to whether the beef contains added hormones. They don’t deny that it does, but then they brush over that fact by reassuring me that there are no “regulations that require the disclosure of any use of growth hormones to be indicated by a beef supplier.”

Well, I feel better now because we all know that the regulators, the FDA and USDA, would regulate something that was dangerous to humans right? They wouldn’t allow a substance in the food supply that was suspected of increasing the insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which in turn is suspected of increasing the rates of colon, breast and other cancers, would they (Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), Oregon Chapter)?

So why have almost all industrialized countries, except the U.S., banned the use of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in beef and dairy (Dairies Nix Artificial Hormone)?

Could it be that other industrialized nations care more about the welfare of their people and the quality of their food production than the bottom line?

No, it couldn’t be, right? The FDA is on our side. After all they didn’t let red dye 2, which caused cancer (REGULATION: Death of a Dye), into consumer products, did they?

So it must be ok to eat Hebrew National franks.

Thanks, FDA and Conagra, for caring.

For those of you who are concerned about consuming beef and dairy that contain rBGH, here is a resource for finding rBGH-free products:

rBGH (rBST) Free Dairy Processors: Top 100 List (as of 9/15/10)


Restless


Photo courtesy of morguefiles.

Slumber breaks
Fleeting thoughts dance around the periphery of consciousness.
A befuddled mind grasps tangled memories of stories left untold
propelling thoughts of panic, of what and where and why.

Slumber breaks
Fragmented former selves clamor for attention.
Ephemeral moments between sleep and wake become the platform
For lives once lived and loves long lost
for unfulfilled dreams drowned by stark realities and brutal circumstances.

Slumber breaks
Consciousness bears the demon of unrest on shoulders heavy with despair,
Despondent thoughts hallucinate alternative realities and bearable fictions,
Twisting tales riddled with reprieve.
Frustration dissipates and dreams dominate.

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com


Outstanding Poet of National Poetry Month Award


Thank you Jingle and all who voted for me. This is great!


White trash


Photo courtesy of Morguefile


White trash sitting on the patio, flicking cigarettes into tall grass.
Junk strewn about the yard
A camper rests on cinder blocks, sending roots into the ground
slowly rotting into the littered landscape.

White trash collecting cans, every penny helps.
Old man throws back a beer as kids scour the roadside for aluminum.
Old man looking like a fool, trying to be cool
with a cowboy hat wrapped in snakeskin, skin dirty, clothes dirty.

White trash dumpster diving looking for a score.
Amazing what folks will throw away. Just wipe it off and eat it.
Dinners made from government cheese and church hand outs.
Those rich folks don’t know what they’re missing.

White trash I was born to but never was.
Reaching for the stars, brushing off the dirt, the grime.
Staying one step ahead of myself.
Spent a lifetime trashing that.

©2010 frayedges and http://www.frayedges.wordpress.com


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers

%d bloggers like this: