March 2021
To The Doctors

"To The Doctors" - 3/31/21

Today was a day to celebrate doctors.
Ironically, I felt so paralyzed with gratitude
(who knew that could be a thing)
That I reached out to none of mine directly
But I meditate and reflect perpetually
On the opportunity brilliant, skilled, talented and committed
Doctors' efforts in my recent life have granted me

For many years I avoided doctors as much as I possibly could
You could say that cancer was my catchup
I probably hadn't been to a doctor since a decade-prior bout
With pneumonia in a foreign country, when literally, I was
Forced by circumstance to prioritize my health immediately
I always thought of doctors as people who chose, voluntarily,
To do something relatively crazy, literally

I could never wrap my head around the impetus
To be so devoted, so fearless and so driven to help
To be of service but also to submit to the obvious stress
I dated a doctor and saw this up close; the juxtaposition
Between a gifted healing ability bolstered by years of studying
Perpetually and the absolute need to decompress completely
Offset by the inability to do so, adequately; it confounded me

Every member of my immediate family has had their life
Saved by a doctor and I'm sure that will be the case again
Life, as they say, only heads in one direction and
As I approach what I hope will be its midpoint as healthily as
I possibly can I ruminate that my years of having the luxury
To avoid doctors has definitively come to an end and I see
The faces of a few physicians in particular who have been more

Than merely life-saving, but life affirming and those are the
Individuals I especially honor, internally, with these lines
Sure, there have also been the ones whose bedside manner
Was abrupt – or who I felt even manipulated my sense of trust
To move in directions uncomfortable, or downright questionable
But more often than not, I have had the wherewithal somehow
To make my way through the maze of the medical complex

To doctors who have been nothing short of saintly
Some of them even had the graciousness and generosity
To join me in my efforts to cast light on Women's Cancer
I almost felt guilty asking, knowing how precious their time is
And that if it was me as their current patient I might not approve
Of such distractions; but balance is elusive and who's to say
What the definition should be when breath, blood and bones

Are the stuff of ongoing, ephemeral and overwhelming priority?
To the one who gave me my radiation therapy, with kindness,
Compassion and levity; to the one who agreed to see me simply
To offer advice, even when clear I would not choose to be his
Patient; to the one who distracted me with anecdotes while
Administering the ultrasound; to the one who talked to me about
A son's classical music pursuits while distracting me from

The procedure at hand; to the one who wasn't afraid – in an age
Where touch is not exactly encouraged in any realm – to hold
My hand while bearing challenging news, emanating from an
Incandescently compassionate face; to the one who told me,
Unequivocally, during chemo that I was "very, very brave"
Thank you, thank you, and thank you for making me feel safe
And for making thousands of others feel the very same way

As a matter of course, and because you have chosen
To heal and to try when failure's not an option
And when, as it does, health eludes best intentions
Thank you for resuming the next interventions
With equal parts grace and professionalism
Thank you for your valor, your focus, your vision
I toast, with green juice, to your hippocratic oaths' fruition!


"Neshama" - 3/22/21

I've been thinking a lot lately
Of how I can continue to be of service
Without doing disservice to my self

The years go by and I do my best to
Break the patterns upon which regret
Depends yet here I am akin to a protest

My very own fibres of being revolting
Against unrelenting people-pleasing
As though my mind leaves my body

I see it happening and grasp internally
For the words to stop it the phrases needed
To stand up perpetually seated I'm stuck

And no one else can see it I'm lost
No one hears the sound passivity's pulse
What cost this perceived stability

Centuries' frostbite of frivolous femininity
Sometimes I wonder if the biggest fool
Of all is me if the dichotomy between

The way I've always been and the woman
I long to be is merely the inability to
Concede embracing intuition's not defeat

Defeat is something I deconstruct daily
These days when it's so unfashionable
To navel gaze I miss the sounds

Of my loudest inner voices the illusion
That anyone's soul-obsessions
Are remotely their own choices


"Magnets" - 3/2/21
(RIP Hugh McGowan)

It is hard to know what to say. Only days ago
You messaged me, as always, playlist-swapping playfully
My sweet friend, there is no limit to the affection I felt for you

Even when things didn't "work out" for us as more than friends
Or maybe all the more so, I continued admiring your heart,
Your voice, your beautiful intelligence, your consciousness

When we met we were like magnets there was no logical
Explanation like many others I'm seeing say the same thing
I thought you were too cool for me. I was largely right

This is partly why when in your presence, whether it be
Privy to your razor-sharp incisiveness or simply listening
To you excitedly share you Muse's unassuming transcendence

I never ceased to be awed. Through the years our friendship
Deepened into an understanding that warranted few words
Occasionally you'd call and I was often surprised but you

Always sounded as though it was the most obvious thing
On the planet that your voice should be on the end of the line
You came out to see me play with our mutually beloved

Howard Jones we sat in the window of some inconsequential
Restaurant during most of his set catching up then you nudged
Me to go back to the merch table and sell while unbelievably

Suggesting that I meet up again even later, after the show
You didn't want to go there seemed to be something more
You wanted me to know I frequently felt that way about you

Part of your charm was the side of you you chose not to show
I remember being at your place surrounded by instruments
They seemed to be both precious and neglected possessions

People loved you and musicians revered you not only for your
Mind-boggling talent which was ample but for your generous
Willingness to listen, cheer on, collaborate, shine your own light

One of the best and worst days of my life was Falcon Ridge
My crush on you was sizable I knew I was in trouble
You were upfront, open, confident, unapologetic and I'm

Always at a loss around unabashed, brazenly irrefutable talent
Eventually you came to NYC you were my date at an art opening
You asked could you model my jacket I thought you were joking

You weren't you were always surprising we closed down
The place you serenaded my Dad he thought you sounded
Like Crowded House he wasn't wrong you appreciated beauty

More than most souls we went to see Glen Hansard at
Carnegie Hall I sat on the aisle as I tend to do and we
Held hands, your breathing was telepathic I agreed you should

Be up on that stage we promised whoever got there first
Would bring the other up as a guest I feel tonight like I failed you
I remember the last gig we played together you hugged me

And without worrying whether it was PC you said boldly:
"Fuck cancer. Rachael Sage I'm fucking glad you're alive!"
I didn't realize how this would go who can know who can know

You are and have been so beloved it seems like we all had
Our own not-so-private fan-club. Your playing and songwriting
Were not what lured me in but they're what kept me wondering

And you were, I believe, above all, loyal and generous
I can picture you surveying your unique terrain asking genuinely:
"How am I gonna move?" and yet you did what had daunted me

And at Folk Alliance last year in the hallway, you grabbed me
We got to tell each other some important things even as
Everything around us was dizzying. I'm grateful and angry

Nothing makes any sense but one thing I know to be true
Your memory will forever be a blessing and forever we
Will love you, arbiter of common sense and music, sweet Hugh