On any ordinary morning

He would have gotten up

And about his way

And braced up for another round

Of an unremarkable life

—nothing special; granted taken as usual…

Starting up the beaten up old Toyota

(The one with the blue duct tape fender)

And, with a song in his soul,

Gray and pendulous;

Off he would go for the standard

Brain numbing, cobweb of a day.

Except this morning.

He’d been up all night with a stomach

That had been shouting “HiYo Silver!”

Every 30 minutes or thereabouts

And he thought it was the usual reaction

To a late night belt of Crown

And more than one slice of pizza so cold

It tasted like a lost lover.

It hit him like a prizefighter all of a sudden

In the middle of brushing his chalky teeth,

Long since yellowed by his morning savior;

St Cappacino,

And he looked into the sink just in time

To see a flood of crimson pour out

With one surge while his abdomen screamed.

He froze; suddenly jolted as if mule-kicked,

And stood for what seemed like more time

Than a Leonard Cohen song took to finish

Before he registered what had happened…

He threw on what he could find quickly

( which happened to be a pair of navy sweats

And a dear old My Chemical Romance shirt)

And grew himself out the door

And into the duct tape-mobile

And drive like Nuevo Ben-Hur to the ER

….and destiny

By the time a week had passed;

Passing like smoke through a glass tube—

He had learned how sweet it was

-to breathe in (or out for that matter)

-to see blood in a bag flow into him

-to feel his insides churn and burn

And to know what it was to have days

That once were plenty;

Ended up becoming numbered

…and anger becoming his best friend.

“If only” he found was the story of his life

“If only” was stamped on his soul

“If only” became his mantra


It was only a word; but it meant an end.

It was a silly sounding word but it was an anvil…

Where a hammer called chaos hit and sparked

When one hears what will be their end,

It changes them…

It turns them inside out and he was no exception

He had to face it—this was more than a malady,

It was going to be what took him.

He instantly remembered the laughs

Of his children,

Of his parents,

Of his life

He heard the tears and pain too

And found he had gratitude for that as well;

Because it had been his teacher

When the doctor arrived in the morning,

With his tombstone face

And delivered the things he needed to do,

And how often he would have to do them

….but that there was a time limit now;

It came to him like a bus in the street

But he would not let that bus be his epitaph

And he would not live another precious moment

In anger

In blame

In regret

In self-pity

….in waste

Even though the food was bad and the sheets

Wouldn’t stay on the bed,

And the needles from the IVs (all four)

Hurt and stretched when he moved

And forever marked him with their sting;

He decided he would see this through—

He knew his kids would be hurt and angry

And that those who loved him

Would hate him for awhile

For this consequence of the life he had led

And the choices he made

And didn’t listen to the warnings and pleadings

…but he would endure that; he owed them that

He would have to learn the word “endure”

And it’s meaning more than any other word

He’d known before —

And face the fact that he now had a limit,

…the trick would be to forgive himself

….and his life and what he didn’t get to do

…and the helplessness that he knew would hit

…but the reality that time could count

And he would endure it. And he would live.

If it meant only until the next sunrise;

He would live.


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