Not an Open Letter to Miley Cyrus

They said the third cycle would hit harder.  They were right – the last few days I was pretty wiped out.  I may have set a personal sleep record with a good 19 hours of rack time on Sunday!  My energy level is better today and I’m looking forward to the end of this week when my immune system and energy levels should be in a good place.  Funnily enough cycle 4 is supposed to be better than 3 – you would think the cumulative effect would carry through but this is the word from the chemo nurses (and they know!).

KR’s sister Anna stayed with us last week which was a great gift.  She drove me to chemo all week and helped out around the house. She even took on some deep organization projects (pantry, closet).  She is deeply qualified in all things home as the owner of THE FOUNDRY HOME GOODS.  Thank you, sister.  And thank you to everyone for the continued unflagging support – the notes, the visits, the intentions and prayers, the soup and the love.


…and for those with time on their hands, some poems:


we stood by the river in silence

rotting pier pylons like the teeth of
an ancient grey leviathan

neither of us could say goodbye

we waited until the cold and dark
drove us back into the city


i dreamt i became salt,
was thrown, a fistful,
into the ocean, dissolving,
returning, remembering

today i will nod at acquaintances,
open the mail and be disappointed
by corporate come-ons,
eat my tuna salad sandwich

i will move through the unsuspecting day
wondering how a man can become a
fistful of salt


these crisp nights bear heavy dew,
enough for winter oats
to sprout and root.

geese honking south over my head
remind me of you in the darkness
before dawn today, preparing
to drive to the hospital

we heard an adolescent creaky crowing from
the shuttered coop – weak, earnest, unsure

“I told you one of them was a rooster!”

I shudder at what other truths you have said
that i have brushed aside.


late afternoon gauzy filtered light

the crack between thought

the moment in between doing

amber stillness

float me there

after the breath in

before the breath out

let me dwell there

and find my heart

10/7 – I

the trees are undressing quickly now,
hastened by wind and rain

the landscape of Winter is almost here,
to be filled with space and cold and
flickering dreams of Spring

a handful of holdouts:

cosmos,         aster,         dahlia
pink,              blue,          purple

refuse the scene change to

    red, yellow, orange

reluctant students caught in the eddy
of a Summer dream

10/7 – II

whittle me to the grey bone
drain the red pulse out of me
peel back the pale skin
untangle the tendon and muscle

release these frozen tears until
they pool at my feet and
turn to incandescent joy


p.s. we have also discovered some of the less-documented side effects of chemo:


 (thanks to Rosy for the head bling)


  1. Russell B. says:

    Keep up the fight Jay. We appreciate the updates and hearing how you are getting along. You have a big team on your side for support! The poetry is inspiring! “Tree’s are undressing…” great analogy and keep up the writing when you can. Clearly everyone loves it!

  2. Deanna Sue Sucsy says:

    love the poetry, love the spirit!!!!

  3. Love the do.

  4. Know that we are sending love and healing energy to you from MN.
    Libby, Morse, Johnny, Sage & Cubby

  5. play “Only In Dreams” by Weezer, as you dance… THRIVE DURING CANCER BABY!

  6. Cruise, Jay….

  7. Mark Hanson says:

    I never knew that I liked poetry. Not so sure about the wig. Keep getting better, you are an inspiring guy

    • Karen Erickson says:

      Cuz, I’m so glad you’re going on this journey with us. You’re in Atlanta, but I feel you’re family like I did when Mom and you played bridge and she’d tell me about it the next day. Karen

  8. patty giesecke says:

    Love the poetry it provides the ‘glasses’. Amazing fashion statement. You faced cycle 3 with your gifts and tools (OK…some great help from family) and……prevailed.
    We send love and hugs

  9. “The trees are undressing.” <– Awesome. Inspired by Miley? :)

  10. i love fistful of salt! i love YOU! i love the title of this blog post!

  11. wow your poetry has gone from very very good to amazing, it is untouchable, incandescent. it skyrockets.

  12. Theresa Ryan says:

    Forward-moving news, lovely musings, crazy headdress. xot

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