Vanish

You struggle to breathe

Your lungs groan under the weight of a million cigarettes
Your body will not heal, nor will you allow it to
You prefer to smoke tobacco than to breathe, you tell me
Your liver is hardened
Fluid builds up in your legs, abdomen and lungs
You bleed into your GI tract
Again and again
Requiring dozens of blood transfusions
Until when?
You prefer to drink than to live, you tell me
Your blood harbors viruses and bacteria
Years of IV drug abuse riddle your veins
My eyes draw lines between the scars on your skin
And spell out your pain
Your body is massively obese
You’ve had just desserts
Your blood is dangerously sweet
The food on the menu is not nourishing
With vibrant foods, we could all be flourishing
Instead we are toxic
Now you’re turning hypoxic
Your own body gets in the way of breathing
Rather than a vehicle, your body is your handicap
Too much mass to move
Stumbling, you tumble into my view
Bullet wounds have torn right through you
Senseless violence, what kind of freedom is this?
We reserve the right to die at the hands of another at any time
I want to take all the suffering I see
Concentrate that energy inside me
And use it to wipe away cigarettes and liquor stores,
Smash opioids off the face of the planet, and while I’m at it
Take my magic wand and with a swish banish sugar from our lips
Eliminate weapons with one wish
I’ll water that seed of hope with the tears of those who know, so it will grow
And we shall be sheltered in our old age by the tree planted in our youth
We’ve suffered enough to learn how to thrive in our world- at least we’ve discovered what not to do.
I have a dream that tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, processed foods, and guns will vanish.
I realize that this is unlikely to happen for a while, as there are profits to be made and suffering to be had.
Taking into account the billions of healthcare dollars it costs to deal with lung disease, liver disease, drug addiction, diabetes and gun violence, let alone the immeasurable cost of lost lives and poor health, how can we afford to carry on the way we have been?
If a substance is harmful, let it vanish.
Why hold on to that which is no longer serving us?
We can do anything with our infinite human potential.
We alone can change our lives and leave the world better than we found it.
Let’s do what we can before we vanish
Do something today
There is no guide book
Vote with your dollars, your actions, your thoughts
Breathing in gratitude, I thank you

You Can Have It

Darling, though we’ve never met

You rolled the dice, you placed a bet
That you could win a lawsuit
Born of the heartbreaking news
That your baby died inside you
A horrific experience, true
But of your baby’s death, I had nothing to do
The coroner’s report reveals the truth
Your baby passed away at least a day before you ever walked my way
Darling, I didn’t even lay eyes upon you
I was being a team player, not a baby slayer
In going above and beyond to help another
I didn’t imagine I’d be sued by a mother
You said we dropped the ball
But we were never playing at all
If it is money you are looking for,
Honey you’re knocking on the wrong door
All those years I could have been earning
I spent in medical school learning
about medicine, not about law
Perhaps I wasn’t well trained after all
You want us to take the blame
for your unspeakable pain
Can you imagine what I have given up
just to help you, is it never enough?
For you, I went hungry, I went without sleep
Hard years away from my family, I didn’t see
I got stuck with needles, splashed with blood
Only for you to smear my name like it was mud
On the journey that led me to you,
I gave up love, I gave my life
I turned away from ease and took on strife
Of my own pregnancies, I sacrificed them all
My weeping uterus bled raw
Just to give you my best, I gave up the rest-
My youth, my babies and childbearing years, too many unnumbered tears
I stayed in an abusive relationship throughout medical school
Because the only way to escape my abuser would have been to drop out and forego my education
I stayed in hell for all the women held back from their full potential because of men
Though it was the hardest thing I ever did, and I still have nightmares about him
I don’t feel safe in my skin, but then again I never did
I wonder if I’d do it all again, just to reach out my hand, only to have you bite it
I fought hard to serve you, and serve you I did
Without a word of thanks from you, kid
Then again, we’ve never met
I’m named in your lawsuit, yet
What I’m trying to tell you
Is that my medical degree,
My heart, my mind
My hard work, and all my precious time-
You can have it
It was always yours anyway
Everything I do, dear patient, is for you
I give you my life- you can have my lawsuit too
In trying to hurt me, you only harm yourself
We are all connected in the One True Self
Limitlessness is bliss
Reach out and return the infinite kiss
Available to you at any time
You can have it if you understand this rhyme

Salt

My patient had hypovolemic hyponatremia

His serum sodium was low, and we all need salt in our blood to live

Overall, he was dehydrated- dry, though his blood pressure was high

I looked at his moist tongue, and didn’t see the storm clouds amassing in the sky

Until my attending physician came thundering down

Pummeling my eardrums with his voice so loud

Taking lightning strikes at my fledgeling ego

Making me feel scared, small and trapped

How dare I not approach this case the same way he would

How could I take a vast constellation of data points, and see a different image than him?

How dare I not know everything he wants me to know when he thinks I should know it.

The audacity of me!

I went into this job to help people, but who helps me when confronted with an abusive boss, the way I am all day every day?

I have grit, and that’s it.

How can I justify the harm I inflict on myself by trodding this path of not harming others? Am I not also a person worthy of non-harm?

I drag myself through another day of sheer exhaustion, violent levels of stress, junk food scavenging, flooding my veins with the same poison I encourage my patients to avoid.

I practice this art of self-abuse day after day, year after year.

I don’t have the time or personal space to cry, until many hours have passed by, and my work, imperfectly executed, is temporarily done.

Tomorrow, more work will come at a nauseating pace, in unpredictable swells and storms.

Tonight, I cling to the knot I’ve tied at the end of my rope.

At home, my partner speaks to me, but I do not hear him.

He softly reaches out to me, but I do not feel his touch.

He serves me dinner, though I do not feel hunger.

I try to breathe through my shell-shock, remind myself that I am safe, worthy, lovable.

As if concussed, I feel foggy, irritable, and want only to cry.

I close my bedroom door, and I finally let my tears fall, though I don’t know how they will ever stop.

I take stock of the things I am grateful for.

I have energy to release:

I visualize a cord of light between my attending physician and I, solar plexus to solar plexus, and I send his rageful, toxic energy back to him, riddled with his scathing judgement.

I send him back the shame he so generously tried to pile on me.

That is his energy, not mine.

I feel the sting of tears as they dry on my cheek- my personal Sahara.

For a minute there, I lost myself.

I feel raw, delicate.

I cried so much, I have lost volume and salt like my hypovolemic hyponatremic patient.

This time, I know the recommended remedy: fluid.

Keeping myself fluid, I bow in respect and gratitude to the teachers on my journey- those who still trick me into believing that I am lesser-than, who make me temporarily forget that I am a dreamer in this cosmic kaleidoscope.

I bow with respect and gratitude to water, and salt.

Dear Body

Dear Body,
I am sorry.
I am so sorry that I yet again knowingly harmed you and put you at risk.
I let a bare penis inside you, belonging to a man I barely knew.
Then I washed my morose down with several pints of ice cream.
I know damn well the risks of unprotected sex, and of ice cream.
And yet, and yet, how many times, body?
How many times will I humbly ask for your forgiveness.
Henceforth, body, may I treat you right.
Please body, forgive me tonight.
Sincerely,
Me

Poetry

Poetry won’t stop leaking out of me
My hands get a tingle
My mind sings a jingle
I search for paper on which to scratch
Anything within reach
Backs of receipts, napkins, old scraps
All other activity falls to the wayside
Until I see the poem before my eyes

I write about the unspoken suffering of my life
Of being brutally silenced
Since infancy I was trained not to cry when I wanted to cry
My feelings were an inconvenience to those by my side
I came to understand that my needs were not important enough to be expressed, and if I made the mistake of even showing how I felt through my face or my body, such truth was beaten out of me by those closest to me
Far worse than the violence was the mental abuse
and even worse than the mental abuse was the neglect
Sometimes I felt invisible and other times I felt like I wasn’t invisible enough
I wished that I could fly away
The shouting was so loud, where could I hide?
I locked my door but they always burst inside
No boundaries
I cried in secret silence everyday
I learned that I existed to be what others wanted me to be
I delivered what was required
Though inside me raged a fire
The primordial desire
To be free
I’d give anything to live just for me

When I became grown, I left home
But my well-trained brain followed me wherever I roamed
Autonomy is foreign to me
I met many lovers but they always chose me
Because I pleased them easily
I never returned the favor
Of serving up the criticism they so abundantly showered upon me

Joyfully, I recently discovered that the suffering of my life has a name;                                                            Narcissistic Abuse
There are healthier ways to love, ladies and gentlemen
I want more harmony and less harm done to me
I am trying to create a life that I want to live,
One where I give from my heart instead of feeling like a marionette jerked around by the malicious hands of fear

I want to tell others how I feel and what I am thinking
Speak from my heart
Release my throat chakra
Weave a tapestry with the golden thread of my truth
Relentlessly I work at this nearly impossible task
Like a seed below the soil, the only place I have to grow is toward the sun
But healing my mind feels like building a castle on quicksand
My efforts collapse, fall and fail every day

I must remember to give myself compassion, the way I try to give my abusers compassion
I have succeeded before in speaking my mind
With every break-up, no matter how clumsy my wording or how long it took me to work up the courage
I want to tell my exes that when I hurt them by finally breaking up with them, it was because I was trying to reclaim my life and honor both of us
God, have I suffered at the hands of men
When they hurt me, it was because they were trying to get a rise out of me, or hurt me out of spite
I want to tell them: Get a life, you jerks

May they stop terrorizing me and find inner peace swiftly

I feel awful about the things I’ve done that I didn’t want to do
Especially the things I’ve done with men
The sex was violent, violating, painful and humiliating
If only I could forget it, but even my body remembers
I think I will always see men as perpetrators, even though not all of them are
An overwhelming amount of the ones I’ve known are
I struggle to shake them off me when they’re ready to rape me yet they’re nowhere to be found when I’m ready to abort our unplanned pregnancies
That excruciating physical and emotional pain is just for me

The bloody landscape of no man’s land

I understand that as an adult survivor of child abuse, I attract abusers
I’m developing a repellant
By noticing patterns and breaking them
Prevent problems before they start
The best defense is a good offense

I still worry
Worry that my heart will always feel broken
Worry that the countless times I was raped will catch up with me in the form of STDs or infertility
I worry that I will always live in fear
I worry that I will always worry
I worry that I will feel sad and mad all my life
I worry that I will continue to suffer though I shouldn’t worry about that because suffering is guaranteed and worrying will do no good
Life is pain
That’s the rule of the game
I can still win the game of life even though I was born with disadvantages, for my advantages are greater still
I have hope and heart
I’m writing a happy ending to my story
I am writing with a golden pen of glory
I am writing unstoppable poetry
Until victory, always

Thank you.