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AlbertJayNock

Poetry Reading After Action Report 4/8/2010

Last night was a very memorable poetry reading. All the regulars were there, including a lady I'll call Liz who had been coming for a few months. She was one of many readers. I believe there were about 15.

Liz's poem is what made the reading so memorable. She prefaced her poem by saying "I'm going to come out of the closet with this poem." I braced myself for some self-indulgent confessional poetry, but soon felt very guilty for this initial reaction.

The poem was called "Aces And Eights" and it was about her very recent discovery that she had terminal cancer. For those who are unfamiliar with the title, it refers to the poker hand Wild Bill Hickock was holding when he was killed.

Wow.

After the reading, I was struggling with what to say to her. "I liked your poem" was right out. "I'm sorry" sounded a little better, but for some reason sounded inadequate. Finally I decided on "Hello, Liz". That seemed to work. She told me a little more about her cancer, and it sounded really grim. It's in her breast, her lymph nodes, and her bones. I don't know if I am going to see her at the next poetry reading.

Another of the readers, whom I'll call Trudy, approached her and asked her if she had considered a bone marrow transplant, or if that would work. Trudy had put her self on a a marrow donor list and hadn't found a match. I didn't know finding a match was that hard when you are a donor.

She also told us that her daughter had recently given blood for the first time, because she was finally old enough at 17. She took her to the Red Cross as a surprise. She blindfolded her to make it a surprise. (I got enough context to know the blindfolding was consensual...it was odd, but not abusive.)

Trudy has quite an interesting family tradition going there.

I feel almost guilty talking about my own contributions after everything else that happened. But I did have four haiku. Here they are:

John Forsythe

Charlie’s in heaven
Among the angels. His voice
Still speaks to them

Johnny Maestro

Your death from cancer
Was the worst that could happen
To all of your fans


Alex Chilton

There’s no replacement
For you. So many fans were
In love with your song


Ai
Your brief book titles--
"Vice","Greed","Sin"-- make your haiku
Quite easy to write


Stay safe everyone. And take good care of yourselves.
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