I’d avoided the website for close to a year
instead keeping my eyes open
my gaze on the future
whatever that will be
so that I could start to think of myself
like everyone else
not like a girl with a time bomb
strapped to her chest
But it’s nearly June
so it’s MRI time
and the last two years
come back at me
so here I am again
late at night
filling out the online form on Cancer Math dot com
listing my age
lymph node involvement
including if the node involvement was
IHC or H/E staining negative
and hitting update graph
agreeing to the disclaimer that this is for research purposes only
and that Cancer Math dot com cannot guarantee survival outcomes
and that treatment options should be discussed with my oncologist
switching the chart from a line graph to the pictogram
that shows green smiley faces for the percentage of people
still alive in 15 years
and red frowning faces for the ones that have died
running a finger over the screen
as if they were real people that I could touch
and celebrate with
or touch and mourn
trying not to think about which face is supposed to be mine.
He looked as though he was dead.He had fallen asleep with his mouth agape in a closed up car. Resembled a dog locked in a broiling van in the summertime. He puffed overheated, stagnant air like a cigar. I should have knocked on his window to find if he needed assistance; summon help (if needed) for this dying man. Instead, I got my nails painted a yummy copper to match the pennies on his eyelids. As my nails dried, I watched from the salon window for movement.
“I wonder if he’s dead?” I pondered whether exercise or beer will win my heart for the evening. The smell of the chemicals in the salon made my nose twitch. The Vietnamese nail technician scrubbed my ugly feet; massaged them as if I were Cleopatra. Made me feel important for my 15-minute sit in the vibrating chair. They spoke amongst themselves in Vietnamese, then made a quick transition to English for an occasional comment to me.
Two young women pass where he sat lifeless. Into the tanning salon they head, arm in arm, laughing loudly at a private joke. The smell of his corpse rises into the heating summer sky.
The lingering shadows/ long silences
Blank spaces in urban relationships
Can deaden within.
The frost-bitten fields
A cruel white reminder
Of the love’s labour lost
The hard work of the past few months
Of the earth-artists, creating a
Green masterpiece out
Of an unyielding land and a changing climate extreme.
Let us resolve then—
To rupture hovering silences
That separate folks like an ocean.
Let us cut the Arctic with a verbal knife and allow some motion in arid region!
Let us resume talking
Dry landscapes inside
Each robotic body controlled
By a mad post-modern machinery
Nudging us towards excessive eating
And destroying the beautiful earth for
Unbridled greed, a planet
Once home to a Shakespeare and/or J. Alfred Prufrock
Searching for meaning on muttering streets and saw-dust-covered places
While a cat purred in a lonely spot somewhere in the England of the 1920s.
Conversations: cyber, mobile, e-mails, visuals
Neutralize the slow poison of atrophy, passivity, stupor
By opening channels of communication, essential for
A lonely age and are meant for recovery of our original poetic selves.
Just off work, 5:30 on a Friday, driving up Penn Avenue
to meet up with some friends for a few happy hour beers
at a Primanti Brothers that once was an old Picway Shoes.
I’m at the point where Penn becomes Ardmore Boulevard
and splits off, sending you downhill towards the parkway
and driving up Ardmore towards me comes this stunning,
great white whale of a classic car. And even though I’ve
never been a car nut, this one gets me—it’s breath-taking.
And I want to be able to say with authority, “Wow, look
at the ’54 Chevy Corvette!” or, “Ah, a Bentley Mark VI!”
but the truth is, not knowing my cars, I don’t know what
it is that’s coming towards me, that’s impressing me so.
And I like to think maybe this one moment will change
the way I go about things and will make me care about
makes and models of automobiles from their inception,
though it’s more likely I’ll just carry on the way I have
been carrying on, using cars when they are necessary,
not going to classic car shows, not collecting replicas
of ones I wish I could own. I like that there are these
moments though, when one object or one comment
can open up a new world of possibility, a new realm
of knowledge of what’s real or important in the world.
That I have the option to pursue it if I am so inclined.
And that even if I don’t, perhaps my reality is altered.
In a shuffle
Of the cards
So I chase the moon
A sea of shards
Mark Antony Rossi’s poetry, criticism, fiction and photography have appeared in The Antigonish Review, Another Chicago Review, Bareback Magazine, Black Heart Review, Collages & Bricolages, Enclave, Expound, GloMag, Gravel, Flash Fiction, Japanophile, On The Rusk, Purple Patch, Scrivener Creative Review, Sentiment Literary Journal, The Sacrificial ,Wild Quarterly and Yellow Chair Review. http://markantonyrossi.jigsy.com
I got these tattoos when
George W. Bush was President
When there was a war on something called
The Patriot Act, WMD’s and Guantanamo
And nobody knew what the fuck was going on
The leader of the free world
Didn’t care about black people
A singer said
And was secretly glad to see them getting washed away
His brother liked to hang with a guy named Chad
In Florida or something
And together they pulled off the greatest robbery
The country had ever seen
Hadn’t he been an alcoholic in his youth?
A waste of skin and space?
Someone best thrown onto a Nascar track
At the Indy 500
And left to fend for himself?
A man who, when faced with the prospect of war
In some place they called ‘Nam
had ran to his over indulgent Daddy
Who told him with experienced conviction
Don’t worry, son
Money will get you out of this.
I my mind I see him in a classroom
Reading to kids all seated beneath him
Kids who probably read at a higher level
Than he did
All wondering who the fuck this old guy was
Who couldn’t get his mouth around
6th grade words.
Who held the book like it was a foreign object
And kept stammering like he was caught in a lie
I see the aide lean in and tell him the news
The news that changed everything
Changed the world
the news coming out of New York City
something about two planes and the World Trade Centre
and he sits
and he sits
a glazed look on his face
wondering if Spot the dog
is ever gonna catch that ball
before someone in the Secret Service
says to him in a whisper
Don’t you think we’d better go?
I can still see him standing at Ground Zero
Stood atop the rubble
Of concrete and steel
Revelling in feeling like
One of the boys]
One of the regular joe’s
Who’d buy him a beer
If he ever wandered into their bar
On the corner of some cold street
In the middle of downtown Pittsburgh
He’s crowing into a megaphone
Arm draped around someone
Hired from the lines
Of a Bruce Springsteen song
In order to denote authenticity
And how he’s one of us
His bemused look has faded
Now he’s enjoying himself
He thinks it’s a deleted scene
From a new Bruce Willis movie
As his head cranks up
He’s playing to the crowd
He hears us, he says
The rest of the world
Can hear us too
And the people who knocked these buildings down
Will hear all of us soon.
Somewhere in a room that wreaks of leather furniture
And the vilest abuses of power
Dick Cheney is laughing his ass off
Slugging 100 year old whiskey
And abusing the Thai houseboy
I got these tattoos
When George W. Bush was President.