Thursday, August 16, 2007

Poems Published, Summer 2007

I just back from two weeks camping in the northwoods of Superior National Forest in Minnesota. I sought rest and rejuvenation, and partially accomplished my goal. I wrote a great deal each morning in my tent, including some new poems.

In the meantime, I've had six more poems published. One poem was just published by The Externalist. I have also had five poems published this past month, in two installments, over at Monsters & Critics, for which I'm very grateful. Most recently posted at M&C is a prose-poem about my father, his cancer, and my being with him this past year as his principal caregiver. I moved back to his home in the Midwest to be his caregiver in July 2006; he died in June 2007, after one good/difficult last year. The last few months were particularly good, as he was feeling strong and fit, until his final illness caught up with him. We had traveled to Michigan so he could show me ancestral and family gravesites, and visit several relatives. I've written extensively about that trip, with photos, here.

Below is the prose-poem that was just published, repeated here as a memorial to my father.


A blue afternoon. A clear blue sky, paling to white at the horizon, cloudless; a March sky, though it's still December. No more snow since that first big storm after Thanksgiving. If we don't get more snow soon, it's mean drought come summer. Dust in the air will mean topsoil blowing away before rain or young shoots can hold it down. It's easy to feel hopeless. The light coming through the bare branches of the oaks seems to filter to brown as it passes through the ghosts of acorns and turning leaves. Come sunset, everything will seem gold and amber and brass, painted mellow by the sun's tilting lantern.

We stagger into the radiation treatment center at the hospital; my father is going to get shot five more times with fast protons, and high-energy hadrons. They take more x-rays, to center the targeted region, a little lump that grew on that spur that sticks out to the side of the spine, the lump that grew larger all through months of chemo. They call that a mixed result. Blue crosshairs are painted on his torso, alignments for the accelerator's aim. The radiation oncologist says to my father, after today's session, Our goal is to make sure you die of something other than cancer. That's a successful treatment, nowadays, for an old man who's dying anyway. It doesn't keep from us from sleepless nights and worry, but it's the most hopeful thing any doctor has said to us in months. We can try to choose our deaths, our times to die. We can still struggle to try to control our fates: our liberations.

I drive home while Dad naps. The light is getting that gold tinge. The sun skates through bare orchards on the horizon. The land here is flat and gently rolling, with lines of trees along the roads, at the edges of fields. Tall machineries mark territory and home boundaries, insectlike. Crows fly from silo to silo, searching for loose grain, fossil corn, something the barn-dwellers missed. We are silent. Perhaps I can sleep, tonight; finally. Near the rim of a bowl-shaped sink, not really a valley, deer move slowly from out of the trees, turning blue with final dusk.

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger runnerfrog said...

My belated condolences.
Many memories came to my mind, almost melancholic but not quite; like your memories you described in your road journal about that night, of sounds of nature while you were a teenager; soft memories like that one, attached to the beloved ones, sleeping near.
I'm reading the blog since some days already. Aside from this particular prose poem, I admire finding a person that can have musical systems in perspective, while I'm only a music appreciator, not a musician.

3:30 PM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Thanks very much for the kind words.

I was interested in the generative algorithms and art on your blog. I've worked with fractal art for some time, and also with algorithmic music composition. It's interesting to encounter someone else interested in it.

Thanks again.

10:26 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home