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  • Coming home from radiation this morning crossing town in the rain heading up Market Street across the Civic Center
    I listen to Jimi Hendrix in my car turned up loud to
    drown out the din & the cacophony of city morning.

    I listen to Jimi play Red House
    his guitar wails over the sounds of the busses and around the trench coated men crossing the street.
    Jimi riffs over the commuters weaving in and out over and across
    the cable car tracks and the secretaries in high heels crossing
    wet shiny streets and the bass line just now beat up the
    shuffle of a homeless man carrying his burden of a lifetime down sidewalks busy with disinterested workers
    and mothers with strollers pushing cell phones.

    Jimi made that guitar cry and sing wild moaning as I tried to inhale the diesel fumes and bay water to
    erase the smell of rotting flesh.


    Lily from Singapore, with no time left, at all really, leaves open her gown to
    show me her blackened chest and the sores that will not heal. She explains to me the rare breast cancer
    they say is incurable as she falls into my arms and I hold her . She cries, I cry and we both are inconsolable holding our breath with nothing I can do pounding me in the head with a mallet.

    I hold my breath
    anticipating
    the smell of the gown room each morning where I show up at 7am, 5 days a week for 3 months.
    Sipping a large latte I hold my breath as
    a Chinese woman with her mahogany wigged hair and her blackened nose
    rotted out to the cartilage
    from another rare cancer found only in Cantonese women sits beside me curled up in a waiting room chair with a big box of coconut cupcakes to give to the nurses .


    Jimi sang the blues as I sit in the gown room, the only woman there this morning without a wig on.
    My black watch cap pulled down low over my head no shield for all the
    astonishment of sacrifice and worry.
    No match for the absence of eyelash, eyebrow, the soft duff of fine peach fuzz on my chin. No more a statement of purpose rather than style, no more an
    ode to my vanity than a wish for warmth to come from somewhere, anywhere.

    There’s a red house over yonder and
    rain pounds the asphalt and traffic snarls as usual.
    Jimi’s guitar growls and leaps heights of fury and crescendo
    spits fire at the blues that remain

    resident in the red house .
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