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His passing meant he had the last word
And I fire on my tongue,
Love and resentment’s frazzled flavor
Offering more sizzle than succulence.

It was a dish best served cold.

It was a coyote
Or a lone wolf
Something savage

It lurked in the shadows
Of dead land

It shouldered the shoulder of interstates and crops
Its scraggly coat
And lowered head
Darting as if in surprise
but no

It was something sage
Something undomesticated
or worse
Something formerly domesticated
Something vengeful
Something worse than rogue

Something savage

There were words to say or salvage
I’m almost positive
I would have said them already
I truly hated you
In silence


The diagnosis is raspberries

or blueberries

or mulberries

berries of the brain

harmless nothings

sweet somethings

berries bleeding dusk

and then

dirt in your eyes

dirt in your lungs

dirt from above

homegrown berries reborn

in a field shared by your kin and country

“It’s not like I’m going to die,” said no hypochondriac ever in the history of the world. I am an expert hypochondriac, or so I say. I make a good game of diagnosing people with random, non-fatal ailments as a way to produce more good humor in the world. I would never tell you that you have a lung cancer or heart defect sure to kill you; I might, however, tell you that tiny tinny red spot probably means you’re now the home and host to a rare African parasite. You might protest, saying you haven’t been to Africa. I would nod grimly, knowing you’re future is going to be wrapping a worm around a toothpick and gently putting it out over several months’ time because the damn thing will regenerate if you rip its tail off. But I mean, you’re not going to die from that.

If you have a cold, I will likely diagnose you correctly with a virus, a bacterial infection and/or pleurisy. Or the plague. Whichever seems most appropriate.

So, on Wednesday, I wasn’t expecting a call from a neurologist indicating that a MRI of my brain showed an abnormality. The MRI was supposed to be for fun. It wasn’t supposed to come up with anything of interest. I’ve been dizzy and my balance is shot to hell but what amounts to a vascular tumor? Fuck me, check that shit again.

Cavernoma: a cluster of poorly formed blood vessels that can leak both from the inside and outside. Leak as in brain hemorrhage.

Okay, it’s not that dramatic. Here are the facts. It may or may not bleed. It’s not an aneurysm or brain cancer. It may or may not cause symptoms such as dizziness and unsteadiness. It might or might not cause migraines like the one I had in 2011 that was so severe I knew I was going to die in my apartment and my dogs would eat what’s left of me.

Yes, let’s not be dramatic. It looks like a raspberry, a mulberry, or a blackberry. It’s hard to think of berries in a negative way. They’re delicious.

Bryan says as these things go, mine is pretty mild.

He’s right. They’re not life threatening, except when they are.

As I sit and write this, I’m not worried. I have to see yet another specialist later in the month (17 days from today) who will give me the real information I need–location, size, bleeding risk. He will give me options. Mainly, I’m already bored of the whole thing.
There’s not even a little whisper of a barely-there voice that says I’m clusterfucked beyond the defective veins in my head.

Postscript 5/7: brain lesion (cavernoma) has been ruled not a big deal by neurosurgeon.

SOB with me

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