[Note: In a previous post on Fear, I mention a poem written after my second cancer experience.]
“I love Paris in the summer.
“I love Paris in the fall.”
The song on the downward elevator sings in my ears until they ache
With the sound of music other than Mozart.
Thank God for Mozart.
At least there is Mozart.
Not all the time.
Not at the worst times—
the times as I remember the hospital
cancer radiation treatment waiting room
with sexy magazines and death.
No Mozart in the air.
Oh Mozart. I want Mozart
as the stomach aches.
I cannot eat.
I do not eat.
I cannot control the diarrhea.
Then blood and pain in the rectum and anus–
Where is Mozart when I need him?
Mozart in the air.
Mozart with his French horns,
French horn music he stopped writing
because he fell in love with another woman
whose father did not play the French horn for a living
unlike his father’s friend the grocer who yearned to play professionally
whom Mozart treated so poorly I try to forget that mean Mozart so unlike his music.
Mozart did not really did not like the French horn anyway nor the flute not that it showed
to those of us for whom it was relief.
Sometimes (rarely) there is enough Mozart.
Most times there is not.
In the tough times,
the really hard times,
give me Mozart.
He’s my man.
–Joel Solkoff, March 20, 1990, Washington, D.C.
[Written about a year after the radiation stopped—radiation that cured me of Hodgkin’s disease again, a year during which the sickness spread through my body in a wave that came to a blissful end to be followed without warning five years later by the radiation burning (as my oncologist explained later like a small fire that finally succeed in burning) through my spinal cord making me a paraplegic.]
Copyright © 2013 by Joel Solkoff. All rights reserved.
This poem is a subset of the ongoing story of my third cancer–kidney cancer, a story that follows this outline (which is expanding):