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rob kistner Sep 27
The wife of a friend of many years, called me tonight to wish me well in my upcoming heart operation. I cried gently talking with her as we shared memories of her husband, my friend, who died in the horrible grip of Alzheimer’s. It was wonderful reminiscing, but I felt guilty after hanging up. Here I am feeling upset about this approaching procedure, when there are people, like my departed friend and his surviving wife, who have known real fear, real horror.

I wrote this 7 years ago for my friend, shortly after he passed. I share this in his memory, and his wife's honor, and to remind myself to be grateful.

this morning’s sun comes crisp and bright
enfolding my waking in warmth
and vivid presence

the world fresh and fascinating
I embark toward noonday
the joy of discovery palpable
senses saturated and alive

blissfully consumed
by a deep satisfaction
that permeates this afternoon
my soul is full
my mind is clear
my heart — overflowing
as dusk descends upon this place

with heady grace and expectation
I venture on through this day
my stride smooth and steady
the downing sun — a gentle gold embrace

early shadows fall soft across my face
as vesper's velvet blanket
drapes its comfort ’round my shoulders
a splendid calm envelops me

yet there are other shadows
strange distractions
that disrupt my moments
they come unannounced
almost imperceptible

but there is still far to go
I am eager to journey
drawn by the beauty
that is the rising moon in sunset

facing into the evening breeze
I venture ever onward
as rolling amber and coral
spread across the horizon

again the shadows shift
dull confusion finds me
I lose my pace and focus
to draw up in momentary halt

nagging concern
disquiets me
a stab of panic
pierces my solace

grips me
it holds me
uncomfortable in my skin

a cloud of frustration
sweeps over me
obscuring briefly
my purpose and destination

then the fog wafts
and again I see
across the veiled valley
my home

but I wander
and once more lose the path
as the mist settles
like a shroud

twilight is coming
much too quickly
and my concern
at first a nuisance

a gathering fear
gnaws inside
fear I will not make it home
before this sunset

I am afraid
to lose this light
I am afraid
to lose my way

• • •

rob kistner © 2011
This poem was inspired by my numerous conversations with my friend as he was overtaken by this terrible disease. Also conversations with his wife when he had finally been consumed and died. I wrote this in my attempt to reflect the very early stages of Alzheimer’s when the individual is not certain what is happening and has not yet been diagnosed – but is beginning to become concerned, and the fear begins to rise. In some ways, I feel this is the disease at its most devious. It is manipulating the person, yet they’re not aware what evil is overtaking them.

This piece was written to emphasize that devious nature. Alzheimer’s is a sneak thief that subtly begins to disrupt our daily life, and steal pieces of time, creating a fractured reality — that gradually grows more and more unsettling, ultimately terrifying, as it robs us of our life-learned skills, our talent, our grace, and our dignity. Finally it kidnaps our memories, our loved ones — and then takes our life.

The stanzas are of gradually diminished size to reflect the diminishing nature of this ruthless killer.
If the day shall come
that I should forget
you and all that we've
If the day shall come that
I'm senile,
Just know because of the
way you smile I'd fall all
over again,
but if it happens to cause you too much pain,
by all means, my dear, I hope you'll choose to find happiness elsewhere. You're the love of my life but if Alzheimer's should rob my memory of being your loving wife, please know I still only want you to be happy for the rest of your life.
~with love, your wife
The Alzheimer's Association Helpline(toll-free 24/7)- 1-800-272-3900
Alzheimer's Disease also known as AD is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist that found abnormal deposits and tangled bundles of nerve fibers that he described as changes in the brain tissue in 1906. The abnormal deposits are now known as senile or neurotic plaque. The tangled bundled of nerve fibers are now known as neurofibrillary tangles.
Alzheimer's disease can cause a variety of emotions. It's stressful & frightening when you or someone you love is diagnosed with it. The feeling of uncertainty about how one's memory will change or how fast it may cgange causes anxiety, anger or depression and maybe a of these feelings at once. These feelings are normal. You may feel embarrassment or shame causing you to cover it up or causing you to distant yourself from the one you love. Although there are no cures early diagnosis is important. There are things that may delay its progression not to mention that early detection can help outline a care plan. Be supportive with compassion as a caregiver or family member. As a caregiver, you will also need support & stress managing strategies. If you believe you are in the very beginning stages seek medical attention. Put your embarrassment & pride away. This way you can find if experimental medicines may help delay the progression & help relieve your anxiety. There are specified life style changes that you can make. Also as the one diagnosed or a loved one of another with AD, you can begin to plan a safe environment plus how your future needs will be met. One resource for Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center can be found at
Lily Madden Sep 25
emancipated, sunken, lost in the fog.
I am in love with an eternal concluder.
no, sorry,
I only love the fact that you took that imposter from this world, it is disturbing that he would even try to impersonate my papa.
cheery, rosy tinted memories, shifted bleak.
you embody total contentment through such a simple life. you are a true treasure, that is now swallowed in the mist of time.
once these remarkable things became shadowed by the empty desolate version of yourself i decided i was in love in with deaths act of nullification, to clear off the gunk that tainted my papa's clean soul.
I love that you put an end to a fraud who tried to make my papa look so far from himself.
I love you, yourself, my papa. before the shadows. before the fog.

-Raymond Pendergast 2018-
a love hate relationship.
PJ Poesy Sep 22
Her steaming kettle  

window into wetness of what was

whistling jets conjuring self-precipitation

There, go memories

dewy laden long gone

Vexing saturation making tea time’s solitude

weep childhood, weep marriage, weep motherhood

ululating swirls in her cup

No amount of saccharin can sweeten  

sipping whimper’s brew

Her hour of orange pekoe empties
This is one about Mom's Alzheimer's.
An ad in the LA Times
Pictured a jewelry store in Beverly Hills
Somewhere off Wilshire
A golden band modeled after an Egyptian original
Mother wanted it and so we went
We sat on tuffets of crushed velvet and
She bought it
replacing her wedding band
Which I never did find.
It was pretty but
what other significance this meant
regarding her husband she did not tell

She was struck walking on an off-ramp
on the 10.
Heading east?
How did she get there?
I asked her in the hospital
On the gurney she shook her head
And said she didn’t know.
That’s Alzheimer’s for you.
The ring is gone.

Father took his off well before she passed
and left it on the top of his dresser.
Sharon Talbot Aug 27
Fingerprints and fibers,
Accumulated talk,
Whispers in the corners,
Bodies demarcated in chalk
On the marble courtroom stairs.
His misery became a pall.
With mourning signs in splattered pairs,
Red flowers on the wall.

All that he had left behind was grief
And powerless rage,
A Tansu chest in high relief,
A coiled brass clock fatigued with age.

Retreating to a white house in Simrishamn,
He’d walk his dog along the shore,
Find sterile clues amongst the sands,
And travel a ferry between two lands.
Based on the show and novels of Henning Mankell, "Wallander", an existential, chronically depressed detective from Ystad, Sweden, is unable to leave his police work at the office. He alienates everyone and loses anyone who gets close. In the end, he is left burdened with Alzheimer's and tragic memories.
rob kistner Aug 10
(a personal contemplation on dementia)

my memories gather and squabble
like the crows at stirling castle
they pick the bones
of my recall

bones against the cruel clay
of an arid
barren mind

littered with the harsh forgotten
like the bones of the dinosaur
I'm becoming

with what letters are made of
my words ***** and crumble

my thoughts
parch and wither

a sad silhouette
cut lonely
against an unforgiving skyline

fighting to remember
what the images meant

meant to me

tender visions of my past
of my life
of my home
next door to yesterday

harder and harder to remember
the degrees of separation
growing ever greater

time to time
I catch a glimpse of a lover
as she moves softly

comely as miss america
sensual as a shadowed ****

they all smolder in the fog
of my reflected past
in bright flashes

splashes of vivid color
on torn and *****
scraps of paper
blown in the mounting winds
of my confusion

dread rising
that I will soon not remember
what it all meant to me

what they meant to me
what you meant to me
my love

a stirring fear I will forget
how a marriage
rare as ours
can last

how it did endure
and grow

finding richness
in moments of want
with the love we knew

this is not a poem
it is much more

this is a searching serenade
powerful as a double bass
sweet as a silver flute

this is a fractured tome
a cry of frustration
a tear of loss
a whispered prayer

an epitaph
to my fading map of then
of you

cherished memories

and gentle

that now falter
and dim

slowly slipping
into the cacophony
of the crows at stirling castle


rob kistner © 2018
I have been warned by my doctors in the past couple years, that I must be vigilant regarding dimentia. I have a number of things that make me a strong candidate. It frightens me when I struggle with memory, which I do more than I would like - and lately it feels more frequently. I had written about the subject in the past from an objective perspective, but I held it in a much more subjective light for this write.
I put myself in a meditative state before writing this, contemplating on what losing my memories might look and feel like. I then sat down and wrote this in a conceptual stream-of-consciousness, writing freely, not judging or overly evaluating what I was writing as I went - just writing, filled with the memories of the images that came to mind while I contemplated dimensia, and the emotions that lingered in that moment. I had a very strong vision of crows, what the significance is, I am not sure.
I did very minimal editing, then called it complete.
Here it is.
Morning comes and finds me hiding
Mercilessly optimistic fingers of light
Poke and **** my resistance to the day.
You’re so quiet
So long since the happy voice called me
Years ago, the singing in the kitchen,
The bright face saying get up, up, up!

I don’t want to open my eyes
See how it will be one day
All grown up now

If I could, I would buy you the world
Tear down the sun to warm you
Make a treasure book of all those plans.
We had so many
Ships of dreams to build and set sail
Now tomorrow is an anchor in my chest
Life is an unmade jigsaw, missing parts.

I don’t think you’ll be here
For your birthday telegram...
One hundred.
Please try, mama

Now I’m crying again and I can’t show you
Rivers of pain waiting to burst free
But this day is precious, you’re here
And you’re singing.
You still know me, my name, my face.
You’re still there inside that frail shell,
Today is a promise waiting to be kept.

Give me just another minute
There’s no need to hurry
Not now.
It’s gone too fast

Let me listen to your voice
Even though you stumble
Please, sing me one more lullaby.
For my mother, who has Alzheimer’s. I love her, she sings the best...and rudest, most hilariously twisted...lullabies. For you Mum ***
king Jul 30
"Who are you?" you said,
Looking straight up at me.
Your face so emotionless,
Blank as an empty canvas.

The same person you called 'pretty,'
And expressed how I was 'just like my mum.'
The child you'd play with all day,
Don't you remember me even a tiny bit?

We would watch soccer together,
And sing along to your favourite songs.
You used to laugh at all my jokes,
Even if they weren't that funny.

We'd run around the house,
And sleep in our blanket forts.
Then you would hug me and cuddle me,
And tickle me until I felt sick.

Now you sit there in that wheelchair,
So lost and in despair.
Grandad, it's me,
Your only grandchild.
Sam Kelly Jun 21
She used to call me by my sister's name,
I guess I can see how we look the same.
But now she looks at me with pain on her face
As she can't find a single name to place.
I'm almost afraid to see her again.
Forgetting me is no longer an "if" but a  "when".
I thought it would take longer but it's getting worse,
Mistaking her home for a hospital and me for a nurse.
I can see her eyes are full of fear.
She blinks. She's forgotten I'm here.
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