| Being Five |

“Being is. Being is in-itself. Being is what it is.”—Jean-Paul Sartre

I have spent days in a barren place. Red disappeared. Starless. Stormy. Uncertain.

Still, until awakened by the wind of your breath.

I live in a rainfallen place. The rain turns to hard hail as I step outside the sanctuary of home. The hail is unexpected and hardbreaking as each moment before me turns from a sad drop to an immense body of drowning uncharted waters. My cheeks, my hands, my heart pricked by the weight of rain turned cold, ugly, and gray.

Still, I follow the habit of my body. I eat, sleep, work, play, pray.

I’m a writer, a dreamer, a poet. I wake every morning for words. My barren and weary soul still smells of soft flannel and the lump in my left breast throbs, its language unknown to me. Its shape. Its hardness. Its appearance. Unexpected.

I wrest from others, their stories. The woman sitting next to me wears a thousand shades of black silently mourning her barrenness. We have become women of barren breasts in a world of toxicity and unusual acts of living.

Still, I wait even though I have finished the chapbook on waiting, and enter my next extremity, my chapbook on being—a lament of barrenness and every bit of humanity.

The truth is, the universe will continue without me and forget me, but this moment of time—perfect and beautiful, new and flawed—this barren moment of trapped unknowing about the lump that grows in my left breast beside my heart, this barren moment pulsates with that undeniable fear behind every great testament of expression.

My being, a litany of steps and strides and gallops. It takes so much work for me to survive.

I have run from it all, the torture of being silenced, from sickness. Everything about me, everywhere I’ve been, all my habits—my meditative walks, my brain-dialogue, my postmarked letters, my nail-scratched tables, my stainless-steel scissors, and my fragile-glass windows—all my unchecked fury, covering my eyes at the darkest moments of pained illness, slip away during these days of being in a barren place.

And then, yesterday bliss stumbles in. An old friend from another lifetime visits and kicks me from behind. Another friend walks me around myself and whispers you cannot give up, you cannot give in. A third friend tells me to overcome my limitations, my fear. My barrenness is torn open and volcanic lava, the poet’s red heat seeps through the broken cracks, triggering landmines I left to break the boredom of my barrenness. I can do that. I can conjure up imagination the way others construct missiles and drones of steel traversing a wide divide of traveling space.

The narrative pauses. Being in barren time, the lump I found cushioned in the tissue of my left breast (undetected by mammography), the lump grows inside me like a wound-up handmade bomb soon to be a needled-biopsied bomb entered into the breast cancer database of numbers:

// every two minutes, one in eight women will be told she has breast cancer


12 thoughts on “| Being Five |

  1. As always, I need to ponder on and spend time with your words. Because you are a poet, and I do not want to miss any of the meaning your truth has for me.

    So for now, I comment only on your Scrabble play. Which is a brilliant move. 17 points, before we do the calculation for the bright pink tiles. Which, as you know, are times 100. That advantage is not easily gained, but you have played with smarts and strength, and gained it. 17,000 points to you, Geri, a Scrabble record. Cancer challenged you to a match, and you are winning and will prevail.

    Friends and family draw strength from you. Team Geri cheers on our champion!!

  2. Geri: Poet. Dreamer. Woman. Friend. You are Here, and Being. As always your words are beautiful, vivid, incandescent. Thank you, and I love you. Hope to see you and PK very soon. ~ Deb

  3. Hello Geri: It makes me happy to see you up and running full throttle. Best wishes. I know you’ll heal all the wounds and kick ass while doing it. J

  4. Geri, I’m blown away by this piece of poetry. I’ve read and re-read. My heart melts with each word. Your courage to live in and speak out and share what it is to be in those lingering moments of cancer, where there are no other voices who are able to share with such depth, I applaud you. Thank you. And as always, I wish you quick healing.

  5. I came home tonight to your poetry. Your words are your healing. Your words are your health. Your words catch me by surprise. They are beautiful and surprising. Love to you! S

  6. Writing that I can feel…writing that produces strong emotions…writing that provokes my soul…that is rare. Your words are more than words. They communicate feelings that I cannot accurately describe in human terms. But I thank God for your gift and for bringing tears to my eyes and a spark to my flickering flame.

  7. Breath-taking work. I slow my breath. I breathe. I am grateful. Thank you for reminding me to be grateful.

  8. Dear Geri,
    Thank you for your words. They encourage me and others to move through our days with dignity, regardless of the struggle. I wish for you and your body a refuah shlema, a complete healing and look forward to seeing you soon. Esther

  9. Beautiful words, Geri. I finally got to read what you left at 10 pm. What a beautiful reminder of how the love of others can can get us through the darkest of hours. Thank you for sharing yourself–what a privlege for the rest of us.

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