Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Z of Time and Illness

The passage of time is a mystery to me
Like the days that pass when I do nothing
And the tasks go undone, the weeds take over
The tree, though topped stands like a hulking monster
It presses on the fence, tangled round it's gorgeous trunk
The upper limbs rank with the scent of early decay and last night's
Rain so rare this time of year I will remember it as April not late
May, early June, my birthday always comes too soon

The sister of my soul, my whole life long, the level headed one
Now puts her fate in the hands of anyone with a crackpot theory
Or so I think, other than the doctor who says, it's there where the
Trachea branches into the primary bronchi just before it reaches the
Fertile soil of the lungs in and out of hardly any oxygen there rests the mass
Growing like the weeds, the vines, the knot of trunk that pushes on the fence.

No air flows and a vocal chord is paralyzed making the voice a high tight complaint
The lack of options narrows down to doing almost nothing, or getting up and fighting
As if all life depended on it. Her blood depleted of breath's oxygen one lung closed
She wants to think it over. Odd that she, the child of a mathematician who was the
Perfect parent, has rejected hard science, medicine, the certainty of numbers, pulse ox
Sed rate in favor of intuition, the spirituality of mysticism, the soul's belief in the souls truth

I can do nothing but await her fate as if my own life depended on this one decision still unmade.

©2009 Peggy Pendleton

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Running The Maze

Daddy was an expert at driving the lab animals mad
It was his job, it was his passion. Daddy had talent for it.
Daddy married a woman with a pretty child and no maternal
Instinct drove them to it. Unhinge that child Daddy, see what
She can take. The little whore becomes your slave until she is
Too old. Unhinge that child. What is she but a ticking time bomb.
Call her a liar and she becomes one, threaten the cage again, bind her
Mind with fear like Chinese women’s feet. Women are used to torture
The women her mother hates so much, apron wearing women, domesticated
Dumb cows. The girl will run the hamster wheel of repetition repetition repetition
Until she’s the only one left alive, alone at last. Talks about it like normal life, like
normal life
Like Normal life.

©2009 Peggy Pendleton

Monday, August 10, 2009


We may be but ephemera
Floating through these waters for an instant
Where death drifts common as the dragonfly
No more frightening than life my dear he says smiling
Death winks and he is a handsome lad who carries us in his arms
For just a lovely moment and then off he goes on to other business

©2008 Peggy Pendleton

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Women Like Me

I'll never have a friendship like hers again.
There will be a hole in the fabric of my tattered being.
How many holes in this moth eaten looking creature before it turns
To dust, I could be seen as the ghost of the world's oldest pregnant
Woman. That's how little I seem to care about perception,
and yet,
A Pucci top, navy handkerchief-linen wide-legged
Weightless pants, so wrinkled they looked slept in.
They were.
The pedicure is way past over, and terribly overdue,
Red tatters.
I must have cared once.
Who will care or notice now?

Lonely old women are invisible.
There was once a word for women like me
I think it might be offensive,
(If you are a woman like me.)
It's only when I walk my little dog that I'm seen.
Then people think "cute dog", and
"great, she's got a poop bag."

© 2010 Peggy Pendleton

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Time of Illness

I had two days off. No schedule for radiation, but
The tests for clotting factor went on as usual
Without me. I rested like a long distance runner
My drug fueled system humming along as if I ran
On chemicals alone. Did you know that Warfarin is
Rat poison? This is proof to Z that all medicine is poison
To me it means that someone found a really good use for
Rat poison. I take twice as much Warfarin as Z to keep me
From blowing a gasket, to keep my heart humming along
Like a clock that runs a bit too fast, but steady as she goes.
The bruises that cover my arms and legs don't bother me at all.

Z hemorrhaged again last night but refused to go to the hospital.
She determines that she just needs to cut back on the Warfarin
I ask her why and she says, "What can they do? All they can do is
Give me a transfusion." I wonder why that is such a bad idea. I want
Oxygen. I want oxygen rich blood. I think they might give her Oxygen
But keep my mouth shut. I took her fresh peach cobbler hot from the oven
Vanilla ice cream. She eats it as if she were a starving child and I choke back
The truth that the peaches were purchased at the grocery store and were only
99 cents a pound. I make up a perfectly plausible story about my neighbors friend
Drew who grows peaches in Southern Utah for peach brandy. He always has too many
Brings a bushel basket for the neighbor who passes plenty to me for fresh peach cobbler
Thankfully she doesn't ask about the ice cream. It is Bryer's All Natural, Natural vanilla
She eats it like a starving child. I took certified organic red potato soup, organic milk,
Watermelon cut into bite sized pieces and chilled. I know from having spent a lot of time
With Z that she does not get enough fluids to stay well hydrated. I liked the idea that when
She was in the hospital they pumped fluids into her veins. She says it made her swell. Well,
Yes, when the tissue is hydrated it plumps with pulsing life.

I'm a woman who takes a handful of pills every morning with her first mug of latte.
I don't do a lot of research on the drugs I take or study inserts for dire
Side effects.
Life has some nasty side effects. Life can kill you.
Don't we start dying from the moment we're born?
I took so many risks, still do, daring death to take me
Like a lover, who sees an opportunity when I sleep
I should be so lucky

So, the schedule is set for this week. Radiation every day
Clotting factor and food are on Z's agenda and mine
If all her radiation treatments are in the afternoon
I can take her, park the car and wait with a book
Patiently. I hope I live up to her expectations
I hope I don't disappoint her. Today it was peach
Cobbler and vanilla ice cream, tomorrow begins
The hard part, now that the tumor is bleeding
She's no longer just getting rid of the blood clots
In her lungs. Now the tumor is bleeding. Isn't that
A bad thing? I try not to show my extreme distress
I come home and take a handful of pills with my
Evening cup of Earl Grey Tea and smoke half a dozen
cigarettes. I resolve to keep on doing what I'm doing
As if it will protect me from her loss. What are the odds?

©2010 Peggy Pendleton

Monday, July 6, 2009

Death Is An Inconsiderate Lover

It all results in tears
One kind word, one instance of incompetence
That receptionist, anyones disappointment
Spoken, written, imagined, remembered
I can't make my friend
Do the things I think
Will save her life

I must not show my complete disappointment
I'm not sure I can live without her
Last night the tree removal guy called

Words make me cry, like the word deadline
The tree guys were an hour late today and I was
Screaming by the time they got here
Only one hour late for tradesmen
That's not bad, yet I feel responsible
I could not take her
Feed her what she what wanted
She wants so little in the larger scheme of things

She wants the food she wants from the store she wants
Is that so hard? The tree guys were only an hour late
They worked fast and efficiently without damaging my roof
Or fence and their competence makes me cry
My sense of guilt makes me cry.
Why must I always be guilty?
Never quite good enough. Is it like my mother said?

I offered them fresh cold watermelon cut in bite sized pieces
Cold cokes and water and their thirst made me cry
In seconds the watermelon was gone and I feel so sorry
That they don't get better treatment from women like me
And why do I assume that?

This is disappointment mixed with a dash of terror
It should be me. I'd decline all but hospice care
Not because of cost or debt or obligation or estate
Is it because I've chased you death like a needy lover?
So now you strike my innocent friend. Is that how we play
This final game of longing and regret? Does it all end in disappointment?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Death Not Poetry

Death stalks my sisters,
And I, having courted death all my life long
Know if I were given a death sentence
I'd feel relief that it had now been taken
Out of my hands, my need for relief from the illness
The longing for relief from the illness stalking me
Finally done with living, done with pain, done with
Longing dead at last

Yet I take the drugs that keep me going
Without which my heart would kill me
My mind would have killed me long ago
Gassed like Sylvia poisoned by the life I'd led
The bad bad bad daddies and my only Mother
The genes I carried for crazy crazy crazy hearing
Voices of grief so filled with sorrow
There is no room left for life

I'll take to my bed with a book and read this sad life away

©2010 Peggy Pendleton

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sisters (for Jojo)

We are sisters under the skin
We are members of a tribe of knife wielding women
Fierce in our understanding of trust and what it doesn't mean
Betrayal becomes the thing we do to keep from ever being left again
Or vulnerable or lost or used again and tossed away like a used condom
Like the scalpel, like the stirrups, like the old man looking who says
"Mind if I give it a go?"

©2010 Peggy Pendleton

Robert Graves I Covet

This link... turned me into a thief
Perhaps I always was a thief coveting
That which I never had like that poem The Cool Web
The one by Robert Graves who lived on the island I coveted
In that one too short day exploring Majorca. May I not live here too?
Why only you?

In 1965 it was the place to take my breath away
The sheer beauty of it all, the men slitting glances so like
Predator and prey. And you were there writing love poems on that day
Like the cool web the island cast on me. Writing love poems to whom?
Why not to me? Had I only known then what I know now, I would have left the ship
and looked for you. Why not me too?

©2010 Peggy Pendleton

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Run

I run hot and cold, sweet and sour, sometimes naughty
Even haughty, blunt too, rarely nice but often true
I run my errands in blackest black or very blue
But only in the darkest hue

I have withdrawn from most of life,
To feign a certain cool disdain
Avoiding strife, and it's illusion
Yet believe that this protects
Me from myself, and hide I do
Despite a need for human contact
I run, I run, I run from you

©2010 Peggy Pendleton

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Death by Intent

If I have died and you missed the moment
Know that I went peacefully in my sleep
Of my own accord and timing, by my own
Hand which could no longer pound the keys
Pull the ropes, the weeds, the rabbit out of the hat

Let it be said that "she was a woman who had great timing"
Take what you want and we'll say I gave it to you long ago
It will not matter to me now, and who's to say it wasn't my
Intention all along

© 2009 Peggy Pendleton

Mother's Love

It is her image of herself as better than us all
We mortal daughters, imperfect, malleable, left
Like a poorly smithed shoe leaving a limping foal
Always wanting more than she was willing to give
Sold cheaply for a reputation as a good horse trader
To the man in the white coat and hat with the PhD,
The country club, the Cabin in the private gated canyon
So exclusive were you that you would never let yourself in.

© 2009 Peggy Pendleton

Daughters Are...

Daughters are their mother's memories of themselves
Trapped for a moment like a bug in amber then
Left for dead or worshipped like the god she is
To herself, the creator, the first mover, the one
And only after death comes and goes and
The amber of your mother's memory of
Herself becomes clear to you
Do you realize
You loved her

©2009 Peggy Pendleton

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Stone, a new leaf from the Chestnut
Trees, dirt work done on
Ones bare knees

Dirt under the nails and into
Lines of the hand like dark rivers
The tiny cracks the tributaries

Stones the color of rust, color of
Weathered wood, color of mother's dead blue eyes but warmer as the sky

A pink like baby's cheek
The leaf a pale lime green
Stripes in stone meander like

the throbbing at the throat

©2009 Peggy Pendleton

Friday, May 1, 2009

Alone With Longing

Life left me alone with longing
Pretending I need nothing more
Knowing why I am unloved

At heart an unmet need like hunger
Eats at me and I grow fat on pain
Leaking tears like famished babies

Old, alone, no longer wanting joy
Cracking jokes that no one hears
Waiting for the end of one more

Days of empty longing deaths
Freedom from this rending sorrow
Nothing mends nor ever will

This heart keeps beating without
Meaning why awaken to do nothing
Lasting or redeeming transformation

All the work with time undone
And in the end left to crumble
Alone at last with longing

©2009 Peggy Pendleton

Saturday, April 11, 2009

If There is God

If there is god in this
she shapes a humble kindness

A small brown box reveals these gifts
One large moist spicy pumpkin loaf
Heavy like honey with generosity
A slim book of poetry old
In each word upon the page a mans longing
And new to me, a card sacred for such touching humility

These gifts sent to a woman never met
Who writes her secrets on a disappearing page
Perhaps to never know if they are understood
Light sent into a void and answered like a prayer

And yet here is proof: a loaf, a book of poetry, a card

©2009 Peggy Pendleton