Tag Archives: Inspiration

Beautiful Letter From Sam

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The following letter was written by my niece, Samantha. It was a school assignment to write about someone with whom they would like to have dinner. Most of the students chose presidents or pop stars, but my niece chose me. I was surprised, honored and the letter brought tears to my eyes. Thank you, Samantha.

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Doorway to the Dark

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Rocky and Roman, 18 months old, standing at the doorway 

I remember
Their tushies
And the rolls of baby fat
On the back of their eighteen month old thighs
Rocky and Roman
Stood naked
In the doorway
To our back yard
Pointing at the night sky
Excited
Dark, Mommy, dark?
Ann just told them about
Darkness
And even though
They had seen it
Many times before
This was the moment
Their new brains
Put a name
To that marvelous phenomenon
Dark, Mommy, dark!
Yes, yes, yes!
I sat motionless
Taking mechanical breaths
In awe
Blessed to
Be witness
To their discovery
I wanted to jump up
Hug them
And tell them about
The moon and stars
Instead
I silently cried
My boys
Had discovered
The darkness
Ann asked if I was emotional
Yes
But I couldn’t explain
Why

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My Dark Sci-Fi

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Still photo from the movie “Johnny Got His Gun”

I imagine
A science fiction
Where someone’s mind
Is transferred
Into my body
Suddenly
They can’t move
A muscle
They send mental commands
But nothing responds
They are frozen
They can’t make a sound
Utter one syllable
Or even click their tongue
Their eyes feel open
But they can only see
Shadows
They can’t smell
Because they are breathing
Through a tube
Attached to their throat
They have a catheter
Stuck in their genitals
And coming out of
Their stomach
And all the dull pain
In their ankles
Butt and lower back
I hear them
Screaming
In their minds
Trapped
Helpless
Baffled
Wondering
How they fell into this
Johnny Got His Gun
Nightmare
I hear them screaming
So loud
I can’t tell
If it is them
Or me
Screaming
Let me out
Let me out
Let me out
Then it hits me
Just by the slightest
Quivering of my lips
My last literal possible
Muscular movement
I wrote this poem
I got out
I hear myself
Screaming
I am free
With this science fiction
I am free
I escaped
I am free

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Happy 50th TFGYWBD, My Love!

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Us, on our honeymoon, June 2000

People don’t know
By looking at you
You have ALS
They don’t see
The mental stress
Of wasted muscles
Not being able to
Move
Eat
Talk
Breathe
All of which you have
Because you bravely chose
To take on this horrible beast
With me
They don’t know
That nearly 3 years
To the date
We were married
We were diagnosed
And that was
13 years ago
They can’t possibly understand
Your justified
Anger and frustration
At the unfairness
Of life
Which you feel
So strong
Because you have
The most beautiful
And generous
Soul
I say
I love you
But that is not enough
Months ago
I was in the hospital
Dying
I said
I release you
And instead
Of running away
You said
Not yet
And you helped
Save me
Incredible
Today is your 50th birthday
There is no gift
I can give you
That can ever match
The sacrifice
You have made for me
I don’t even want to call it
Your birthday
I want to call it
Thank Fucking God
You Were Born Day
So Happy TFGYWBD, Crab Leg
Together
Let’s shake our fist
At the cruel
Universe
And laugh

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Double Whammy Horror Story

 

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The windows into my soul

The doctor was grim
She had horrible news
I had dry macular degeneration
An incurable disease
Of the retina
It was causing my blurry vision
And in five to ten years
Could cause blindness
I was one of the youngest people
To whom she had ever
Given this diagnosis
I think she expects a bigger reaction
But I’m sitting in a wheelchair
Unable to move
My arms and legs
Taking sips of air
From a ventilator
Looking nonplussed
My wife explains
I’m already four years into a disease
That has a life expectancy
Of five years
Dry macular degeneration
Will need to get in line
Behind the big baddy
Plaguing me
Lou Gehrig’s disease
I think the doctor was relieved
Not to have a hysterical patient
In her exam room
And she was right
That was nine years ago
Today
On top of only
Being able to move
My lips and eyelids
I’m almost
Blind
My vision is bad in both eyes
With spots where everything looks
Like squiggles in a fun house mirror
And bright lights
Hover in discs
And sometimes shoot like stars
Across my field of view
My right eye is stronger than my left
But ALS has weakened my right eyelid
So I can only open it
With great effort
Imagine the odds
Of the same person
Getting double whammied
By two very rare
Neurological diseases
If there was a genetic lottery
I would have won
A billion dollars
I’m that lucky
I feel buried alive
In a sarcophagus
Of my own body
But just when
I want to give up
I hear my boys
Returning home
From their latest adventure
“Hi daddy!”
Their voices ring
Like bells
Calling me
Back to
Life

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Letting Go

The nurse pulled about fifty small dolls from a dryer under the sink
Which I hadn’t noticed was there
She clutched them gingerly to her chest
Making sure not to drop a single doll
As she prepared my food and medication
I saw
On the counter
Two little people
A cartoonish man and lady in a dress
Who were having a violent argument
Then they would make out
Kissing passionately
Then they would stop
Start over and repeat
The routine again and again
I saw the shadows of what looked like muppets
Having a conversation
I could not hear
Fantastic purple birds
Were flying in and out
Taking perch in tree branches
That would suddenly appear
The cables around me
Of which there were many
Would explode
Into graffiti bombs
Of squiggly lines
Then go back to normal
And all of this insanity
Was going on at the same time
I had a flash
My nurse was evil
That she slipped LSD in with my food
But then I saw her
On her back on the floor
Trying to kick a man off of her
Who was tickling her
While she continued to hang on
To all those crazy dolls
I realized I wasn’t drugged
I lost my mind
I couldn’t move a muscle
I couldn’t make a sound
And my grip on reality
Had been shattered
I was terrified
It was my brain telling me
I was going to die
I had been hospitalized seven days
For a mystery infection
That stopped me from being able to pee
And turned my blood septic
Not sleeping
But taking two different kinds of sleeping pills
Skipping many meals
Because the nurses were too busy or tired or confused
To feed me
I was kept in painful stress positions for hours
Then moved into a different
Painful stress position
Any time I would try to communicate with a nurse
They would think I was agitated
And shoot me up with
Morphine and Xanax
I was crumbling from the inside
But because I couldn’t move a muscle
I couldn’t make a sound
Nobody knew
Except my wife, savior and guardian angel
Annabel
Who didn’t know I was seeing
Puppets, dolls and birds
But could sense I was in trouble
She went through Herculean effort
To bring me home
That day
Ironically it was
July 4th
She saved my life
Now I face a new reality
Funny as it sounds
Or not
I am too sick to be in a hospital
If I get another infection
I will need to
Ride it out at home
And if I die
I will not move a muscle
I will not make a sound
But thanks to my guardian angel
I will have peace of mind

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THIS BODY

Me, Enjoying the Ride

Me, Enjoying the Ride

I wore this body out
Past walking
Talking
Eating
Breathing
I wore this body out
Beyond being able to
Move my
Arms hands fingers
Legs feet toes
Shoulders neck head
I wore this body out
Can’t laugh
Can’t smile
Almost no ability to show emotion
Except cry
A strange substitute
For laughter
I wore this body out
Exceeding my expiration date
Of five years
By eight
Thirteen years of muscles melting
I wore this body out
Lost my sense of smell
When I got trached
Lost my vision
When my eyelids stopped cooperating
The left won’t close
The right won’t stay open
I’m slack jawed
And drooling
Like a harmless zombie
I wore this body out
Until my tires had no more tread
Or rubber
Or even tires
I wore this body out
And had great fun doing it
Got to make some movies
Inspire some folks
Feel immense love
And joy
And loss
Got to see my boys
Grow from babies
To people
With hilarious adorable minds
I wore this body out
And there will be
No crawling from the wreckage
Only enjoying
The ride

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