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judy smith Jun 2015
Fashion, fun and entertainment will feature on August 1 when Hospice West Auckland and national business networking organisation BNI New Zealand partner to present the Absolutely Fabulous Fashion Show, proudly supported by major sponsor Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

Returning due to popular demand, the outrageous fashion fundraising event features upcycled outfits sourced from donations to West Auckland Hospice Shops. Included in the evening is a ‘Designer Clothes Sale’ featuring garments seen on the catwalk, which will be available to purchase on the night. Modelling the clothes will be celebrities, prominent Aucklanders, Hospice staff and professional models.

Award winning ‘Comedienne of the Decade’ and celebrity host for the evening Michele A’Court was delighted to be asked to MC the event. “It just sounds like tremendous fun and I am a sucker for Hospice fundraisers, so I jumped at the chance to be involved. Also, I am a massive fan of op shops, so how could I resist?”

CEO of Hospice West Auckland, Barbara Williams said, “We know the audience is in for a very special night for a great cause, with lots of laughs. We also want to showcase the fabulous range of designer clothing that donors so generously give us, and to highlight the quality of garments available from our Hospice Shops. Op shopping is good for your wallet, the planet and your community and we are keen to show that it can also be brilliant for your wardrobe.”

Barbara is delighted to welcome Douglas Pharmaceuticals as the major sponsor this event. “Douglas is a key supporter of Hospice West Auckland and Founder Sir Graeme Douglas has been our Patron since 1996. We are thrilled to have Jeff Douglas, Managing Director, continuing their support and appreciate his commitment to this event.”

Barbara acknowledges the support of long-time partner BNI NZ as a major asset for the event. “BNI’s networking groups up and down the country have supported Hospice for many years and raised over a million dollars for Hospice nationally.”

“Our long standing relationships with Douglas and BNI NZ and are very important to us, not only financially but also in terms of engaging with the communities their businesses operate in.”

Graham Southwell, National Director of BNI NZ, says BNI has a strong presence in West Auckland with a lot of local businesses participating in its networking groups. “Hospice West Auckland approached us because they know that we have active local business members in the community that could provide resources and help make this event even bigger and better this year,” Graham says. “It’s exciting to work with Hospice and use our expertise in BNI to help collaboratively put on the event. At BNI we are all about creating strong relationships in the community and Hospice have come to us because of our network and assistance with logistics as well as getting the word out about this fabulous event.”

Guests will be able to purchase some fabulous fashion, bid on a range of exciting auction items as well as enjoy wine, canapés and live music. All proceeds from the event will go to Hospice West Auckland, who provides free palliative care and support to patients and families living with terminal and life-limiting illness.Read more |
judy smith Jul 2015
Fashion designer Dame Trelise Cooper is holding her first show in Wanaka to help raise funds for the town's planned hospice.

The September 30 Theatre of Fashion event is being organised by Wanaka fashion store Escape Clothing owner Lucy Lucas and the Upper Clutha Hospice Trust and organisers hope to raise up to $30,000.

Trust fundraiser Bev Rudkin said the show was "such a coup for Wanaka".

Wanaka hasn't had anything like this before and we know Theatre of Fashion will be an exciting event."

The event will be held at the McRae family's Glendhu Station Woolshed and will showcase the Trelise Cooper Summer 2015/16 collection. It will also feature three Trelise Cooper 1950s-inspired installations.

The event includes an auction of donated items, with all proceeds going to the Upper Clutha Hospice Trust.
Lucas lost her mother to cancer two years ago and says the hospice facility is especially important for the local community.

At the moment, Wanaka cancer patients and their families travel either to Clyde's Dunstan Hospital or Dunedin Hospital for hospice care.

The Upper Clutha Hospice Trust will be a tenant in the Presbyterian Support Otago and Mt Aspiring Retirement Village's proposed aged care/dementia facility on Cardrona Valley Road. Construction is scheduled later this year.

The trust is raising capital and operating costs for its patient rooms within the larger facility.

Lucas stocks Trelise Cooper in her shop and approached Dame Trelise to see if she was interested in helping the trust.

"Dame Trelise is incredibly generous with her time. She does a lot for community causes. Wanaka is so lucky to have her agree to holding this event, and for her to attend is even better. Guests are in for a treat. Trelise Cooper shows are always fantastic, with plenty of 'wow' factor," Lucas said.

Dame Trelise said she was only too happy to help: "Giving back to the community is something I have always believed in. It means a lot to me that my passion and the work that I do can be put towards something that really makes a difference . . . I have some very loyal customers in the South Island who have supported my label right from the beginning, and it feels great to be able to bring an event like this to them."


What: Theatre of Fashion inaugural show

When: 6.30pm, Wednesday September 30, 2015

Where: Glendhu Station Woolshed, Glendhu Bay

Cost: $65 per person or $75 for front row seats. Tickets from Escape Clothing, Ardmore Street, Wanaka, or the Upper Clutha Hospice Shop, Ballantyne Road. All proceeds to the Upper Clutha Hospice Trust.

- The Mirror

Forty Days

A Season of Grief, a Season of Rejoicing

November 9-December 20, 2014

For Barbara Beach Alter 
It is Christmas morning in Saco, Maine, where today Bett, Aaron, Emily, Thomasin and our beloved cousin Marie find ourselves gathered to celebrate our first Christmas without dadima (our name for Barbara Beach Alter).  Brother Tom writes that already in India he and Carol with Jamie, Meha and Cayden (the only of her seven greatgrandchildren Barry never held) have celebrated.  Today Marty and Lincoln join us in Maine.

This gathering of documents—notes, drafts of memorial services, poems, homilies—is my christmas present to each of you.  It is a record, certainly subjective, of grief and rejoicing.

John Copley Alter
1:14 a.m.
Saco, Maine 
November 9

Loved ones,
Barbara Beach Alter died peacefully at 2:55 Sunday morning (today).  Bett and I had the good fortune to be there for the final beating of her good strong heart.  She murmured charcoal.  The nurse who was bathing her afterwards noted how few wrinkles there were, and it is true.
For those of you nearby you may if you want visit Mom in her room at hospice this morning (until noon).  Visit? Darshan? Paying respects?
Bett and I plan to be there around 11:00.
Much love to all. A blessed occasion.

November 10

Matthew 5:13-19
Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
"You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

yesterday in the early hours my mother died her saltiness
restored all that had through the months of her old
age and convalescence obscured the lens of her life cleaned
away so that for us now more and more clearly
as we hear about her through the memory and love
of so many people her good works shine forth in
their glory but it is to the days of her
convalescence the days of her dementia I would turn our
minds those of us who spent time with her at
Wingate long-term care facility remember that Barbara Beach Alter became
at times fierce in her commanding us that ‘not one
letter, not one stroke of a letter’ of the commandments
should be altered do you remember that those of you
and us who were given the work and gift of
spending time with Barry in those days in that condition

remember for instance how fussy she became about the sequence
of food on her tray how impatient with us for
our trespasses and violations how adamant that we look forward
for instance and not back at her how she would
say stop holding my hand and saying you love me
you have work to do o she was almost impossible
and certainly incoherent and demented in her obsession with law
and procedure fussy impatient imperious I do not forget being
scolded reamed out put in my place for having somehow
failed to do what the ‘law and the prophets’ demand

Barbara beach alter in the days before hospice in the
nursing home and hospital and even if we are honest
in the final years of her life found herself caught
up in the rigidity of her anxious desire to be
faithful to the laws and commandments of her life and
that made her at times extremely demanding to be with

amen and the epistemological confusion of course the clash between
her reality and ours it was all an ordeal for
her and for those of us who kept her company

and yet and yet through it all and now as
that ordeal for her is no longer paramount as she
dances in heaven all the wrinkles and discomfort of her
life removed and forgiven Barbara Beach Alter kept the faith
living in the midst such that those who cared for
her most intimately the strangers all professed your mother blessed

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

So, brother and sister, here are my thoughts about the memorial service(s).
Let’s find a time when we three can be present; that’s the most important thing.  My life is currently the least constrained by agenda and schedule.  And then the grandchildren, recognizing that Jamie may not be able to come.  So, our work is to find our when our kids are able to come. Bett and I are exploring that with our three, each of whom has some constraint: Emily, the cost; Thomasin, the piebaking demands, Aaron school.  But we are flexible.

Much love.


Walking in my mother’s wake today some trees
a gentle breeze some dogs a little boy
the neighborhood and I took joy from interaction

we are at best a fraction in love’s
calculation after all heaven I realize is not
above or below cannot be taught comes naturally

as death does walking in my mother’s wake
I found new allies learned yet again not
to take myself too seriously to be caught

off guard as a matter of principle and
not to insist that I understand but live
in the midst of forgiveness

in my mother’s wake I am reading these books for
some way to continue to knock on her door Wendell
Berry he can tell me some things and William Blake
he can take me closer and I remember she described
me once as an unused Jewish liberal so I am
reading about protestant liberalism but ham that I am also
reading Carl Hiassen’s Bad Monkey and Quo Vadimus that my
daughter left behind and mythologically Reflections from yale divinity school
no fooling Denise Levertov David Sobel Galway Kinnell’s translation of
Rilke some wake

November 11

Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus said, "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

this morning in the wee hours my mother died one
of the wise bridesmaids whose lamp to the end was
full she carried always the flask of oil that is
joy that is the love of the kingdom of heaven
and of the bridegroom a flask always replenished by prayer
by devotion by a humble courageous living in the midst

she expected every day the bridegroom to come in other
words and she was also one who would never refuse
to share even the last drop with somebody in need

and at the end it is so clear the door
into the banquet hall was not closed to her as
it is not closed to any one of us foolishness
is to believe otherwise to believe that the bridegroom will
not come today in the early morning in the wee
hours that is when he comes in the midst of
other plans is when he comes even when we are
doing what we assume to be good work when we
are doing what gives us pleasure our duty joy comes
then unsummoned unpredictable random even according to all our best
laid plans my mother loved so many things her pleasure
included dancing late in her life terminally unsteady she invented
what we loved to urge her to do namely the
sitting jig and we grew up with images of her
Isadora Duncan dancing with white scarves in an enchanted forest

Barbara Beach Alter aka Barry aka dadima bari nani aunt
and daughter wife missionary is now I know dancing a
rollicking boisterous jig on the shores of a lake that
is as her grandson once confided to her god in
liquid form spilly Beach of course also dyslexic executive function
compromised she was but one who loved to be always
in the midst surrounded by loved ones some of them
absolute strangers she shared her oil because for her it
came welling up from an inexhaustible source a deep eternal
well of such illumination and laughter such giddy divine chuckles

for her there was to be no exclusion she would
not find the awful idea of being one of the
foolish applicable to anybody but happily she welcomed into her
midst so many it is hard to imagine how many

so there she is now a bridesmaid dancing for joy
in such elegant clothing with such perpetual brightness

amen hallelujah rejoice

sometimes I think she pulled us all out of the
magic hat sometimes I think she knit us all into
one of her theologically impossible sweaters and then with a
wink she passes through the eye of the needle and
is gone and we are left to play in her
honor endless hands of solitaire sometimes I think we are
no more than the hermeneutics of her life the epistemology
artless she was not her heart like one of those
magical meals for her then a doxology praise then praise
she knows salvation

what is a life’s work it is like a landscape
dotted with oases and gardens for the thirsty and the
lost it is like scraping through dry barren ground and
finding there suddenly not only the theology of paradise but
such seeds your hands ache to begin the planting what
is a life’s work what has been shut for too
long opens what has been shut for too long opens

a life’s work renews itself then with death the kernel
of hope that dies in springtime sprouting is what a
life’s work becomes

November 12

John 21:15-17
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.

I know my mother very much enjoyed having breakfast with
god and that the meals of her nursing home drove
her nearly crazy and that when at last she found
hospice o she again could imagine the feast of heaven
at which Jesus breaks bread with us and speaks with
such clarity do you love me more than these I
know it was questions as simple and overwhelming as this
that dominated her final days do you love me love
being  one of the last five words she attempted to
speak do you love me she wrestled in her last
months with epistemology and psychology and theology and all had
to do with whether she could answer unequivocally you know
that I love you and that she could say of
her life that she had broken bread with god we
all remember in her life those moments when there was
a great gladness an innocent acceptance of what lay immediately
in her presence now those months in the nursing home
tormented her in precisely this fashion that it was hard
to accept to be in the midst of such mediocrity
and woe to be innocent and accepting but now praise
god there she is a happy guest at the great
feast and we left behind bereft can acknowledge that she
loved god in her own fashion as best she possibly
could and do you remember being with her there in
hospital or nursing home and she commanding us to move
beyond holding her hand and saying we loved her and
to feed the sheep to do that work which will
make of this earth this here and now an outstation
of heaven Barbara Beach Alter loved god in her own
fashion as best she possibly could we remember that and
that memory is today like a great network a web
of love and inspiration o we would gladly one more
time hold her hand and say I love you but
we know also clearly I think today what the work
is to love our neighbor as ourselves to work for
peace and justice I think of my sister with her
colleagues in WEIGO and how her sisters have understood her
grief  let us break our fast together then glad for
the worldwide web that in these days is reading the
gospel of the life of Barbara Beach Alter praise god

in exchange for his three denials Peter is given three imperative verbs
this is the commission Jesus after breakfast on the shore of the sea of Galilee gives to Peter
twice he says feed
in the commonwealth of Massachusetts 700,000 people are hungry
1 in 6 americans are hungry
living in uncertainty about their daily bread
more than 18,000,000 in Africa
842,000,000 around the world go to bed hungry

Marty and Tom
The thinking about the memorial service is taking this slow and cautious turn, namely that we have three services (at least), one in Sudbury, one in New Haven (allowing Stan and Chuck and others to come) at First Presbyterian (with Blair Moffett we hope), and of course one in India.
The date frame appears to be somewhere between December 17 and 20, unless you have other thoughts.
The actual cremation happens tomorrow.  Lincoln, Bett, Alexis and I will attend, and then of course there is In the Midst on Friday.
Love you more than tongue can tell.

the thing with a life well lived is that many
people have partaken the way let’s say a river moves
down through any number of different lives all the time
sedulously seeking the shortest path to the sea to steal
a line from somebody or other meandering a watershed within
which so many of us find a way to live
our own lives nourished and for each of us the
river distinct and different white water the slow fertile meander
the delta and we say to each other this is
the composite river

sometimes I feel like a sleepwalker trying to run a
marathon sometimes I feel like a speedbump in a blizzard

an arrow in a wind tunnel sometimes I feel like

a hazard sign in an old age home sometimes I
feel like a tyrannosaurus rex trying to ride a tricycle

and sometimes those are the good days when identity is
strong like an icicle in a heat wave is strong

I try to read wisdom literature at happy hour scotch
and Solomon can’t go wrong I think and sometimes I

feel like crying

November 13

four days ago we were left alone there with your
body after your breathing ceased and the proud stubborn beating
of your heart and in those four days beloved mother
so much I would love to say to you and
share the antics of the squirrel late leaves on the
neighborhood trees music Orion the network the atlas of love
your life has left behind and all the words we
are the gospel of today and I would sit with
you there then in silence as I sit now four
days later vigilant insomniac aware that the kingdom of heaven
is not more complicated than singing than love than dancing

we are all dancing the dance lord siva teaches and
the s
The room was sparsely furnished

But the room was very clean

"I think my mum will like this"

said Veronica McQueen

"The bed, folds up from both ends"

"And it's heated too, you'll see"

"there's a dresser in the corner"

"With a spot for a TV"

She walked on to the window

Looked on out to see the view

She could see a little chapel

With a pathway out there too

"The residents...they're treated well ?"

Veronica asked Joan

"They're given the best sort of care"

"But here, they're not alone"

A tour around the grounds then

settled down poor Ronnies nerves

She was sure her Mum would feel at home

It's the best that she deserves

But, before she signed the papers

She chose to walk on down the path

It was gravel with some thyme beside

Part way down...a small bird bath

She saw a man just sitting

On a bench...all by himself

He was dressed up all in green

He looked like a little elf

He was talking to the wind she thought

For no one was around

But, she realized whom he spoke too

When he rose and looked around

He walked up to a marker

And stooping low on his old knees

He kissed the stone so gently

Beneath the lowing trees

Veronica then left him

And she hurried to the house

She did not want to scare him

She was as quiet as  a mouse

She said "I'll sign the papers"

"It's so nice and peaceful here"

So the two finished their dealings

With a solemn "Thank you dear"

Ronnie's that's a story

single mother all her life

Ronnie never knew her father

Her mum was never someone's wife

She worked two jobs for quite a time

She was always working hard

So Veronica could grow up with

A nice house with a yard

A few years back the doctors said

ALS had ventured forth

And that Ronnie would need expert help

They said, for what it's worth

Well, two years in...past what they said

Ronnie had to find a place

Where her mother could close out her life

With dignity and grace

She'd found the perfect hospice

At St. Albans by the shore

It had all that she needed

She just couldn't ask for more

By the time they moved her mother in

Her voice was lost inside

But the staff could see, this woman

was full of love and pride

She knew where she would end up

Ronnie took her down to see

Her mother's voice box spoke out

"I'm so glad you're here with me"

"You've become a strong, young woman"

"One I'm proud to call my own"

"You're a woman in my image"

"You're more special than you know"

Veronica, looked out to sea

And she thought of the old man

Who she saw such a short time ago

On the day she turned and ran.

She picked a spot and wheeled her Mum

Beneath the bending, willow tree

She stood behind her and she looked

At the view out to the sea

There were sailboats, seagulls, beachcombers

She could see from where she stood

She would lay her mum to rest right here

And she thought, "yes, this is good"

Two weeks past by and Ronnies Mum

Was taken in the night

They said she didn't suffer

And that all would be all right

A service was held down the path

And they laid her mum to rest

There were staff there, and Veronica

And this old man in his vest

He said "My Mary's over there"

"Beside the bench, beneath the tree"

"I'm sure they'll be the best of friends'

"And if they can, why don't we?"

Ronnie stared at this poor man

and she said " That would be nice"

He then said "now, we're friend my dear"

"Come with me, we'll have a slice"

He'd brought some ginger cake along

For his vistit to his wife

Now, twice weekly he and Ronnie

Spend time taling 'bout their life

Now these two could share their stories

And give the dead what they deserved

At that small St. Albans Hospice

By the seaside  round the curve.
louis rams Jun 2013
Hospice is the rest stop between heaven and earth
They care for you for all your worth
They are with you in your final days
Taking care of you in so many ways.
Relieving many burdens, and helping family and friends
Consoling them till the end.
The care givers are with them thru their pains
And they don’t do it for fortune or fame.
Finding care at the end of life
For a husband, sister, brother, or wife
Or a family member who may be alone or in pain
When needing help there is no shame.
They are health professionals and volunteers
Who help the dying from their fears!
It takes a special kind of person to help others
In their hours of need, and on their help the dying do feed.
A little smile, a kind word, a gentle hand
Are things that they understand!
Let them leave this world with a mind full of memories
And a heart full of love, given from you as they travel above.
W A Marshall  May 2014
W A Marshall May 2014
hospice is the admission
they bring morphine
the good stuff
it’s six months or less
a one way flight
of hosts and guests
now numb from the blast
there’s no turning back
it’s inside out
and your hardwiring  
is resiliently engaged  
to move you forward
into this final encounter
day after day
drinking red tea
with spoons and cups
of Bonanno and Kubler-Ross  
their ghosts slurp
with you -
in your prepped room
your James Dean role
now flickers with light
on the ceiling
and you dream
a third stage bargain
that your son had been hit
instead of you
with this wicked sickness
then coolly counseled
by your wife
that it was no dream
just your mind  
regulating - processing
you slump there
dying there
in front of a familiar wall
where you once taped
painted olives green
and sipped scotch
with your books
at night.
Got this out of my head today, and onto my machine gun/laptop, after seeing a friend dying of cancer. (Last night).
Judy Ponceby Jul 2015
It is not "giving up"
It is not "giving in"
It is not "the end"

What it is
Is the acceptance of
the cycle of Life.
The appreciation of a life lived.
The celebration of that life.
The time to examine the meaning of one's life.
To revel in the joy and the sorrow of living.
To find the peace one needs to move on
To whatever the next realm brings.

Hospice to me is life.
Day 2 of the 5 Day Challenge
Taylor St Onge Dec 2014
If “dying is an art,” you do not do it well.  I do not
have words, do not have thoughts; there is nothing inside
of me anymore.  I am vacant, hollow, and if this is what
time travel feels like I do not want any part of it.  Racing
past the stars, past the planets, past Andromeda's spiraling, galactic force,
I am light-years ahead and then light-years behind—I am
                two years                    too late.                  

You cannot know, you will not know, how
Auriga is waiting in the sky to whisk you
                                                                 away,                away,                            away.

Th­e bubbling of your oxygen sounds like the water fountains
you used to pass as a child, but there are no pennies at the bottom
of this.  And I wonder, with your eyes closed, if you feel like you
are swimming.  Barely treading water, fighting to keep your head above,
choking on salt and brine as you try to kick your feet, try to
swim to Lake Michigan’s shoreline.  I want
Poseidon to spit you out of sea like a cork, want
Neptune to come alive through the mosaics of your bathroom and
lead you away from the great, black, wave of stars that is
breaking and crashing and barely brushing your bare feet.

Some fish were meant to drown.  You are
not one of them.  Pisces is meant to swim                   forever.

This time machine has dropped me back into my nightmare again,
but it is not only mine, it’s yours.  I am trying to read
the constellations, trying to map the planets, trying to figure out
the moon cycles, but I fear that this is a language I had learned once
and tried to forget—we are now digging each others graves.  
The nurse in blue, the doctor in white, the sun in gold, and you,
red as dead and clotted blood, have merged into a new dialect
that does not mirror what I know the way the
Gemini twins mimic one another in the cosmos. (I think
                                 I have lost my ability to speak with angels
and this terrifies me.)

Is God whispering the secrets of the world into your ear yet?  Is Jesus
showing you how to be holy?  Are you tearing the bread for communion
and feeding it to the birds?  Are you taking shots from His heavenly blood,
getting drunk off the possibility of closing your eyes, leaning back, and
watching Perseus fight your battles for you?  
                                                        Do you want to be a constellation, too?

I am eighty miles away from you, but it feels more like
eighty light-years.  I am watching you through someone else’s eyes and
choking myself with my own hands as I try to show you
what you mean to me.  My hands are cracked and bleeding from
pounding them against the wall you constructed around yourself, but you
don’t have control over that wall anymore, do you?

You are too young to ride Pegasus in the night sky, too young to
build your own wings, too young to fall and drown like Icarus.  You
know how to swim.  You are learning how to fly.  There is no
reason for you to shake God’s hand yet.  Put the halo down—
                                                           ­                                                you are not ready.
For my friend, who I fear terribly will lose his battle with brain cancer soon.  I have never had more tangled and conflicting emotions over a person before.
JM Romig  Apr 2014
JM Romig Apr 2014
Her eyes are so deep set now
that in a certain light
they are just holes in her face

She is so thin now
from the chemotherapy
her skin seems little more than
an empty balloon stretched over her skeleton
and tied off at the scalp,
to keep what’s left of her from falling out

She shakes so bad now
that she needs assistance
to cease the drought
on the jagged landscape of her lips

Now, her days are spent
in an endless sleep
punctuated by a waking sleep
in which she does a lot of staring at walls
and vomiting

That waking sleep, or living nightmare,
is itself punctuated by the occasional friend
come to mourn at the gravemarker
that is her hospital bed
She now has sympathy for the zombie
knowing what it’s like to be dead
and alive at the same time

She thinks, if she had the energy,
she might bite people too
just to remind them
that she’s still here
NaPoWriMo 14
Taylor Jones  Dec 2014
Taylor Jones Dec 2014
Where I worked, I was quite content
To help people was most relevant

My favorite was a young-little boy
Everyday held utmost joy

His smile was wide and missing teeth
Covered by curled lips acting as a sheath

His hair was once orange and red
Replaced by brown he said he wanted mine instead

He'd run his hands through his artificial curls
Excited he spun his two wheels in whirls

I'd push him down the hallway in his chair
His loving parents waiting to meet him there

They smiled every time they said goodbye
When the mother turned I could hear her start to cry

I took him back to his room
When out the window were stars and moon

Every night he asked me not to leave
I would stay there until he sleep

Most nights he'd wake up in pain
His tears for release a permanent stain

This boy suffered an incurable disease
All he wanted was a sense of ease

Multiple needles stuck in his arm
I.V. fluids doing no good nor harm

One night instead of asking me to stay
Instead he asked if I'd take him away

To a place where he could feel no hurt
A place where all was new and divert

I stood in silence within the door
A hesitant smile I gave once more

Go to sleep and when you wake
Somewhere new you will stay

That was the last smile I saw him grin
Before eager sleep took over him

I fought the tears as I held the plug
No more pain for my little bug

Questioning if what I did was right
But the young-little boy has peaceful sleep tonight

— The End —