Fighting the Fight and Lighting the Night

I saw my doc yesterday and good news on two fronts: 1) my immune system is back in the green and on the upper end of normal ranges and 2) my tumor marker is down to 1,765 from 3,143 a week ago (details here).   A part of me was a little disappointed in the tumor marker number because it seems like the pace is slowing BUT a) it is continuing to go in the right direction b) it is a significant decrease c) my doc wanted me in 4 digits at the start of cycle 3 in a week and we are squarely there and d) i can still make lots of numbered lists of i) anything i like ii) items i am afraid will lead to a run on sentence or iii) all of the amazingness for which I have to be grateful (including all y’all).   We will get to zero, stay there, and then dance.

Tomorrow night my colleagues and friends are participating in a “Light The Night Walk” in NYC at 5:30pm to raise awareness and funds for cancer.  If you are interested in joining or help the team reach their goal of raising $3,000 by visiting the team page and donating – we are 82% of the way there!  If you would like to join the walk you can contact for any questions/coordination.

…and now for your dose of attempted poetry…


I watch the gold and crimson blush move slowly
into the tree line day by day.

couples will plan and drive
and argue and make love under
this leafy banner of Fall

what single bloom of Spring or Summer
calls such acolytes?

it is not the hum of life
exploding into the world.

it is the retreat of
the sun’s sweetness
into the roots,
the draining of oceans of green
into the wood and earth,
leaving these hallowed weeks
of dry wonder at what is left

this clear air and arboreal fire
wake us from the
sticky drowse of August,
chills us until we
sink into old grey sweaters and
a warm tongue of cider
down our throats


are the hardwoods and the evergreens
aware of their difference in Summer?

or is it like circumcision and men?

unaware of their stark and unimportant
divide until the naked winter?


let us drench ourselves in smoky
ceremony and wise women
who can speak to the earth

let us walk into dark spaces
unafraid and find the tunnel
that leads to that meadow filled
with black-eyed susans

let us whisper so softly
neither of us can hear

let us never stop consecrating this land
and blessing the bones of this house

let us wash our feet in dirt
fold ourselves upon the altar
and call on all of the directions

let us pray


you come home at lunch and
quickly sip the carrot soup
i had warmed – no time to
change out of your
schoolteacherly clothes

we slide South on the hutchinson

(when i was young i had a globe.
i always wondered why gravity didn’t
slowly pull the whole world South)

we slip into the beehive of manhattan,
park in what is now our usual garage
with a now familiar attendant

we exchange pleasantries

i wonder if he knows why we are here,
if the compassion in his eyes is
because he knows or it is always there

he must know

he has seen my hair go,
seen many of us pilgrims
on the Cancer Road

one day he doesn’t see us anymore

he never knows if the absence is
confined to his subterranean
realm of vehicular chess

the medicine men take
blood out and put in
that magic alchemical poison

we rise North against gravity

you are holding my hand
in your freckled fingers
conjuring, healing,
leading me home


  1. Jay, your poems are so moving. Thank you for sharing them. Thinking of you. The OLDER Philly Howes

  2. Ann Bresnan says:

    These are such beautiful words- they bring tears to my eyes…

  3. hi Jay,

    this is awesome news. And the poetry, divine!

    Love Nadiya~

  4. Run on sentences and numbered lists rule. They’re almost as fun as incomplete

    Maybe since we’re working our way down to zero, the next numbered list should start at the high number and count down as you work your way through listed items? Practice counting down?

  5. Sharon Friedman says:

    I await your poems. They are more than real. Thank you .

    Sent from my iPhone

  6. By the way, do you need any more apple sauce or just apples?

  7. 9/23 is the most powerful of your poems so far. Keep all the good vibes and strobes alive! XXX NBH

  8. The last poem is particularly beautiful and chilling. The “dance”…. well, I think you have a kindred spirit. That was spectacular: the underwear tucked into the back, the “twerking” before it was even called such, the mash-up partner dancing. Much love and appreciation from the Philly Howes. xoxox

  9. Betty Sargent says:

    Jay dear,

    Your poetry is so beautiful. Sounds like good news on many counts. I’m thinking of you all the time.


  10. patty giesecke says:

    I am liking the numbers. The poetry fills my heart. How strange the gifting….should it not be me to you??
    Love from the Giesecke’s

  11. love these, jay. <3

  12. Dr. Robin Lester says:

    One day at a book fair, I was discussing what is truly holy and beautiful with Jules Feiffer. He suggested the great churches of Italy. I offered the soprano recitative after the Hallelujah Chorus, and he immediately said, “Jesus Christ, that’s beautiful!”
    Jay, your poetry is holy and beautiful.

  13. Deeply moved by your poetry Jay. Laughter and then tears, you are an artist with words.
    And hey, great numbers report!

  14. Theresa Ryan says:

    Beautiful words all around! xot

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s