Untitled # 506

my shit chases me
sometimes
and I run so fast
trying to keep ahead
and you
and you
and you
and the cancer
and the BPD
you all keep finding ways
to catch me
to trip me up
to pull me down
when all I really want to do is
stop for a little while
and look at everything
and celebrate
where I have been
where I am
and how I got here

— GB

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reason

when I got my
diagnosis
all I could think about
was you and how much
I wish you were here

to hold my hand
to walk with me along the beach
to kiss the fear away
to sit and cry for hours on end

but there was no way
those things could ever happen

there’s no way for me to tell
whether crying on that bench
was because I was just told
I had cancer or because I
wish I had done more for
you while you were here

— GB

metastasis

it metastasized to your lungs
more chemo, more radiation

it metastasized to your bones
more wasting, more weight shed

you looked sullen, you looked drawn
you looked resigned to your fate

treatments go on
seemingly without end

I imagined you were fighting
I imagined you were giving everything you had

it metastasized to your pancreas
nothings more to hang my hopes on

you gave up
I think I am starting to understand that

you metastasized to me

— GB

good and GREEN

I’m feeling good and GREEN this evening.

Today is the 11th anniversary of having surgery to remove a Stage IV Malignant Melanoma from my upper back.  I’m not exactly sure how big the tumor was but I do know that the scar reaches from shoulder blade to shoulder blade and down to my spine.  The good doctors made excision until the margins were cancer free.  I had several more months of tests but today is considered my cancer free day.

Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone!!!!

My only big regret is that I can’t hoist a Guinness with everyone.  I will however raise and imaginary one to all.

/G

afterall

when I glimpse the scar
out of the corner of my eye
I imagine the sound of the
knife splitting through my flesh
cutting death away from me
bringing me back to life

breathe out
empty lungs
there is no more….gasp!!

breathe in again
for the first time
hold it
is it the last…sigh…
NO!!
it goes on
I am alive again afterall

— GB

California

“…and it’s California, where everything is powerfully strange. Everyone wants it to be home.  Everyone left where he or she was from with dreams of transformation.  Everyone runs away to California once, or at least all the lonely, hungry people do.”  “Madness: A Bipolar Life” by Marya Hornbacher

California, I can’t say it is where all my problems started, but it is where I started to experience the most prominent and life changing events of my existence.  My move to California was preceded by my two best friends moving out there.  One, with his growing family, to San Diego followed by the other and her new(ish) husband to the L.A. area.  Before those two moves, California never occurred to me.  But I visited him in San Diego and drove out to L.A. with her and I guess it was just a matter of time before I was on my way West.

Now, it’s not as though I wasn’t leaving anything behind.  I had lived Virginia Beach for seven years, my parent’s were in Southeastern North Carolina and my sister and her family were in the Washington D.C. area.  On the other hand, Northern California from Sacramento, to Petaluma, Elk Grove and well all over Northern California was packed with relatives.  Let’s see, two grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, a third cousin twice removed or, I don’t know, just a load of relatives that I never spent a whole lot of time with.  There was that opportunity as well.

So, my friend talked to some people he knew, and then I talked to those people and after a bit of time I was on my way to San Diego.

Virginia Beach is a Navy town.  Everything is geared towards the Navy.  There is a Naval Air Station there.  Jets fly directly over the beach, and houses and the mall.  Right next door is Norfolk, a Naval Base, the across the river is Newport News and Hampton, where Navy ships are built.  To me it was a big place with a small town feel.

San Diego, on the other hand, is a Navy City.  There is so much more going on there than Navy or Marine Corps.  San Diego is where “Top Gun” was set.  The Naval Air Station is now a Marine Corps Air Station.  I think the biggest shock for me was how big it was.  There were so many freeways, 8, 5, 805, 15, 163.  So many things to do.  Sea World, The San Diego Zoo, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, I could go on and on.  That was just San Diego.  The other friend I mentioned had moved to the L.A. area.  You can just imagine how overwhelming could get.

I was a bit overwhelmed and to add to that I had a brand new job I had to excel at. (I don’t think I knew any other way to work)  Not to mention, I was looking for a way to transform my life.  I was hoping I would find something in California that would be different, better, something else.  I was looking to escape some of the horrors Virginia Beach held for me.  My friend J, overcome by breast cancer, my own bout with cancer, starting to deal with depression.  It was time for me to leave.

After moving and finding a place to live (I stayed with my friend and his family for a few months) things started to settle down.  Work was good and not too hard, I started exploring the city some.  I was getting to know the people I worked with.  We were going out to bars and restaurants, pretty much having a good time, I didn’t drink so I was commonly the designated driver.  At the time, I had a blue Ford Expedition and everyone loved to pile in.

A few years later, my friend and his family have moved away, my relationship with my friend in L.A. has soured.  I was spending too much time at work and with the people from work.  The next couple of years are a blur to me.  When I concentrate hard on what went on in those two years all I get is working way too many hours at the office and at home.  I see going out a lot, in spite of all the work, and I see my mentor and now friend being diagnosed with cancer.  The cancer diagnosis is very clear in my mind, the rest is just a flurry of activity which ends with me in the hospital having just come through a psychotic episode.

Some days I have clear memories of sunny skies, a light breeze and a feeling of well-being.
Others are roller-coasters of faces and noise that are completely terrifying.  Those days I feel like California, at least San Diego, chewed me up and spit me out.

I loved living in
San Diego but it did
not like me at all