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brother

Rick o’ the Wisp

(x = space)

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Rick o’ the Wisp

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Even so quickly may one catch the plague?

Olivia in Twelfth Night

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Happy Birthday, Master Shakespeare

Squire Shakespeare

William

Will

Will o’ the Wisp

I’m visiting my brother today

He has cancer

I’ll be you knew of cancer

Even called it that

(unlike in a later age consumption for

tuberculosis)

I can’t recall it from a play

Or poem

But then I hardly know them all

And as it is,

I’m tired and not thinking

Did Lear get sick with something?

Lady Macbeth?

Or the thane?

Was there a balm for the queen

In Merry Wives of Windsor?

Did all of us feel better

In the panoply of spirits

That concludes The Tempest?

Or were we simply reminded

Of a world that isn’t ours

Regretting

Or remaining

Chastely distant,

Keeping to our own?

Well, a

Happy birthday to you, anyway

I’m visiting my brother today

He has cancer

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C L Couch

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Photo by Enrique Alarcon on Unsplash

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Ranger Rick

(x = space)

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Ranger Rick

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Last I dreamed about

My brother Rick

And about raccoons

Raccoons probably because

I saw images of red pandas

And understand

That red pandas are not bears

But more like raccoons

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My brother Rick because

We’re talking about

His last months

And hospice

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Raccoon Rick

Wasn’t there a Ranger Rick

And was he, if he, not a raccoon?

Or was the raccoon

A sidekick or an animated

Symbol generally

Like Smokey the Bear?

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Telling us

To live safely

Preventing forest fires

By keeping our own

Fires inside the ring

And dousing them completely,

After

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Safety toward

Cancer, metastasized

Keep everyone comfortable,

I suppose

Deal palliatively

Everyone on all sides

Of the cancer

Fighting, still

As much as they can

Capability

Will

The fight

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C L Couch

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Photo by Michael Payne on Unsplash

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by National Wildlife Federation, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10929789

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Back from There Again

(x = space)

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Back from There Again

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Took a drive around and over

Through the mountains

Through tunnels

Up angles, down

The rounded Appalachians

Blue Ridge, Alleghenies

No rain or snow this time

There was wind

To blow my little car around

Clouds and sunshine vied

I got back

Hobbiton looks the same

Regarding what I left

Today,

I can only hope the cancer treatments

Work for him

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C L Couch

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Photo by Sean Foster on Unsplash

Appalachians at midday.

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Old River

(x = space)

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Old River

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There is sunshine I haven’t

Seen for a while

Western Pennsylvania had been

Living into its reputation

For precipitation

(there is a flood watch on

because the Ohio,

deep and wide

like the song,

could overmarch its primordial

lines)

I’m glad to be with family

Took two occasions—three if

Counting my sister and hers moving

Here—being New Year’s

And my brother’s illness

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Four out of five

Like the dentists

Have made it here so far

The fifth is coming soon

And I don’t know how to contemplate

What might happen next

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An elder brother’s murder

Was the dilemma for sibling Claudius

Here, cancer wants to commit

The crime,

The murder of my brother’s health

Unlike those of Claudius,

My words fly up with thought

And heaven catches them

I’ll keep offering

And offering

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In long ago, a sacrifice

Might help

But in the suburbs

No such help

Because we’ve grown beyond

The need

Some might say

(and should)

The laws have changed

Now it’s medications, institutions

On another altar

We can kneel and pray

Ancient of days

Will hear

As if it were the temple near

Whose opening we’d approach

As clean and ready

Bearing gifts

As we can be

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selah

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Now roll away, tumors

Like the stone that matched

An opening

So long ago

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C L Couch

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Pittsburgh

Photo by Taylor on Unsplash

Pittsburgh, United States

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Visiting with my Brother in Wintertime

(x = space)

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Visiting with my Brother in Wintertime

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Tired now

Just got reconnected

And can write to you

Am in

The Renaissance City

City of Bridges

City of Iron

City of Steel

Where my brother is

And cancer in the city, too

In him

It seems to be consuming him

Turning him in

Like a folder being folded

Movements happens cruelly

The pain is slow

Tomorrow the severer

Treatment starts

How this will work in him

How it will solve anything

Well, it could

It might

I can only pray it must

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C L Couch

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While skiing down the slopes of Big Sky Montana, I took the chance to slow down and look and capture the incredible beautiful scenery around me. Scenes like this seem to center me, with the stillness of snow settling in.

Photo by Jonathan Knepper on Unsplash

Big Sky Resort Road, Gallatin Gateway, USA

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Cancer Is as Cancer Does

(x = space)

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Cancer Is as Cancer Does

(as we try to do to it)

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I don’t know what to say

I have bad news

My brother’s not well

That is not news

It’s gotten worse

That is

All who have siblings are aware

There is a care

A worry that each day

Goes well for them,

That overall they’re satisfied

And happy

I am the middle of five

There are larger

There are smaller

If you are there, then you may know

We never know our place,

Exactly

When is deference?

When is dominance?

It goes on

We simply have to stumble

Day by day

Tripping over stones of protocol

Loving all the same

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We are none of us

Young;

He has completed, just

His three score and ten

Though as we know

Statistics up the number and

The optimism

More

How will he live well

With his time?

What time is his?

I ask questions without

Good answers in this

Mortal place and

Bounded time

The news will be compounded soon

With prognosis and

Prescription and

Choices

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My words are getting thick

Everything is heavy

For a while

Before the legacy

Of sadness

Is poured out enough

For good choices

And actions

Of my own

Say, a prayer

Say a prayer

That’s invitation

With gratitude expressed

Now

While still beforehand,

Which is to say

Thank you

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for Rick

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C L Couch

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Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Vaccine-Based Immunotherapy from Novel Nanoparticle Systems. Researchers at the Texas Center for Cancer Nanomedicine (TCCN) are creating particle-based vaccines for cancer therapy. The particles carry molecules that stimulate immune cells and cancer antigens (proteins) that direct the immune response.

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Brothers

(x = space)

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Brothers

(on a birthday)

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I have three

Today is the birthday

Of one of them

Paul is a year and a half younger

Meaning I get confused

Trying to track the number

Most years

In the USA

(not this year)

It is just after tax day

So that there are two reasons

For celebration

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This is the brother

Who knows celebrities

And has worked closely with

Dolly Parton

At the park

On TV

And most recently on stage

He is a producer

Though he also knows the talent

From the inside out

Singing

Playing a dozen instruments

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His wife is better than he is

But what else could be expected

They are creative

Talent

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Years and years to come

And let the moments you have now

Be gold

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C L Couch

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Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Kalispell, United States

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Favors

(x = space)

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Favors

(in pandemic time)

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The toilet’s broken

Thank me for sharing

Since I rent,

It’s up to someone else

And someone else to fix it

Meanwhile, I wait

As best I may

And all my systems

It’s not as if one can run

Down to the gas station and

Use the loo, since

The disease is keeping many things

Locked up (as it should)

It’s not the worst of things

I’ll tell myself as I

Keep waiting through the day

My brother’s home from the hospital

To rest and improve

From what was diagnosed

To say the least,

He is more important

And I’m thankful

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C L Couch

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Photo by Gilles Desjardins on Unsplash

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News about My Brother

(x = space)

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News about My Brother

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Something’s wrong

She says it’s not COVID

Maybe something

With his heart

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They’re waiting for a bed

As all hospitals are

Currently, especially

Challenged

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This is my brother

The ablest of us:

Muscled

Well-groomed,

Building a life

From the Army to the factory

To executive positions

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Then when corporate-raiding

In the ‘80s ruined so many

Lives, he built a business

Helping children

Learn

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He married Beth

They have two children,

Sons (nephews) who

Are themselves husbands

And fathers now

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This news is not about me

But him and them,

And they are far away

Though hearts string us together

And certain rituals

From time to time

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Not me

But I am shaking with the news

And the frightened parts

Of my imagination

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Earlier this morning

(before the news),

I threw salt over

My left shoulder;

If it could help

Or a voodoo doll

Or a contract with a witch,

Then let it

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In the mean time

I’ll be praying

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In the mean time,

Please be praying for your own

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C L Couch

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Photo by Dušan Veverkolog on Unsplash

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

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