I get right to it, I hear music. Is poetry inside-out, through and through, from the get-go? Or is poetry simply an after-the-fact frenzy of carriage returns? Do I just look at the whole piece and choose lines, hit the key, hit the key? Can even one artful line-break speak, penetrate, humanize?
It takes insouciance. Brio, too, or great suffering. In this, the mean time, I go deep inside. I grunt, or sigh, settle in, admit all, and then just say. I listen for lyric. Maybe the thought, the idea, the whole work, or even the waggle of the busy blue pen will suit a tune. When I hear music, I do surrender.
Plant my feet, look you in the eye, and tell you the truth.
Got it. A breath. Another one. OK.
Now that I've had time with this PD in me
and have practiced the six hour tarantella,
morning, noon, and night, thrice daily,
for the last two weeks, towards 3x Mirapex,
oddly enough, I have
one near-continuous run of thought, one tangle of desire:
To see, and never turn away from, all masked and open grief.
To foment love, everlasting.
To help us all help each other.
Every which way,
and for as long as it takes.
For as long as I can.
I walk hard miles, with patience, for the sake of my beloveds.
I love the woman hiding in a plaid shirt.
She is every woman I have ever known.
I love the man who blunders in a slack jacket.
He is each and every man, me, and all men.
I love how sisters quarrel like larks in the understory.
I love their hesitation, swirl, and momentum,
how they become adults.
I begrudge all blithe others.
I shrug at blather and disregard.
I rate my self, fair and square, all my good and bad,
and I re-build – hey: building! Life is building blocks, OK!
(Is this the brain pill that mis-connects, and pours out this drek, from the crumbling crag of me? Do you see what time it is? Why can't I sleep?)
Every day is a quivering stack of moments in rooms and open spaces,
and each moment a living cube of reality jell-o, authored by time,
real and then gone.
Time is the reinvention of opportunity. I see it now. The opportunities are everywhere – ahh! Damnit. Look at this mess. My wandering lines. The pathos. The over-reach. My chutzpah. What if I can't write anymore? What is this?
Help each other. That's all.
You came for the details. The pill hell and all. OK.
Well, the anti-meanderers left a dozen lines ago.
It's just us now, so I can tell you.
Here it is: I'm doubling the time frame. My titration. As I enter 2 2 2 territory, six pills a day, I get hours of being spasm- and tremor-free. First time in nine months. I get authoritative and quick thinking again, for the work I know well. I get relief.
But every six hours also includes two hours of roller-coaster, an uncertain convulsion of nausea and dizzy, light-headed incapacity. I pass out, more or less suddenly, about eight times a week. On my first 2 2 2 day, yesterday, I passed out for three hours, at 4 PM.
If I can't get Mirapex to stabilize I can't have the six months to two years of extra drug time, and have to start the Levodopa now. Right now. So I teeter. So does my Mt. Sinai pal. Do I deal with the daily seasick routine, try to live with it, or do I give up? The doc wants me to build up, to nine each day, 3 3 3. That's 2.25 mg per day. She's ready to take me up to 3 mg when it starts to falter, months from now.
So I might get a year out of this. If I'm lucky. Then we transit away from Mirapex while we ramp up the dopamine agonist.
Which is why I wrote this. In a few weeks if I can't manage, or maybe a year or so if I can, I then start the final effective med, Sinemet, the musical brand name for Carbidopa Levodopa. It will be another round of nausea and dizzy but then a likely several years of good control. Then that's it.
I feel driven. I am on the irrevocable path now.
What? Sure, I know, later there's DBS brain surgery, wires under the neck skin, from a pump below the collarbone up into the skull to the substantia nigra. Do I want that? It's scary. Cue the hard-bitten gunnery sergeant from central casting, who growls: "It's funny what you can get used to."
Help each other. That's the main thing.
Julia Fordham, for the New Yorker
by Greg Correll
I am losing my ability to draw.
Compared to losing my art, my natural hand and fine limns, well, shit, plain old pill hell? Nausea and disorientation and blackouts and all that? That's nothing.
And it's worth it, besides. Maybe. An extra year might make the total four not three for all meds, or I dream of nine, even twelve capable, medicated years. I'll take it. I'll take life, whole or part.
Mirapex works, so far. But the price might be too high. We will know in less than a month. It's freaking me out, the pill, throwing up, fainting. But the weird part is this love poetry, alive in me and insurmountable, love for everything and everyone. The swerve of my obsession, my determination to improve, and to understand and love all human beings, is really something.
I will see where this goes. I embark.
I am alone, in a boat of bread and honey,
lost on a coast of lonely callers.
The mist is coming in, OK,
but you wade out, you need me,
and I man the oars, and bring her in.
We get close enough for me to share what I have,
and I see grief, and I see love, everlasting.
Let us begin a beautiful friendship. Help each other.
Then we are gone. That's all.
portrait of my daughter Molly, pastels
drawn from life in 1983, when she was seven
by Greg Correll