H e a r t S o n s & H e a r t D a u g h t e r s of A l l e n G i n s b e r g
N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 4 : A r c h i v e s E d i t i o n
My Fatty Liver
is caused by Hepatitis C. I got virus
in blood from blood - probably I.V. drugs
pumped in late 70's, early 80's NYC boho
Alphabet City with poet buddies.
My fatty liver has a viral load over 2 million
and that is a lot of anything
to have in even this small body, aging now
more quickly than I pretended it could.
My fatty liver is Home of Irritation.
My irritation is Greek known, is China known
caused by Liver Stagnation (East) and Drugs/Booze (West)
My irritation causes pain as I gripe
& complain way around Paradise, criticize
kind Wife for her “mistakes” in driving, cooking, planning -
even the way she walks grounds for irritable comment.
Former love Jill said I was “high strung”
I seemed to skate by Life's annoyances.
But Wife now target of Fatty Liver's Revenge!
My fatty liver is Mean, is home of Virus Demons,
2 million strong, who shout angry now that
“the gig is up” and my decision to take Interferon/Ribaviran
is starting to toll there, in Hepatic DMZ.
The anti-viral is working!
My hundred healing mantras every morning are working!
Wife's better diet for me, working
My sweet Buddhist Teacher's Healing Amulet works -
I place it on right side, under ribs while visualizing healing light
entering The Palace of Flesh called body
an offering of peace to the angry 2 million
an offering to all those who suffer from Hep C
whose livers march into gray cirrhosis
like the very world of Evil no sun Middle Earth.
Yes, my fatty liver's getting a lot of attention
my Lama prays for my health
acupuncturists needle & herb me
doctors (3 so far) push on my abdomen
examine blood work results, flip biopsy slides
on microscope & nod their heads: “hmmm, yes,
your liver is fatty alright... Take the Chemotherapy for 6 months
or maybe a year. Clear the virus and repair the damage
with healthy diet and exercise.”
so... no more fried foods — Gone southern style chicken
no more rich sauces
no more buttered popcorn or toast or bread
or corn cobs slathered - butter the hardest to go, boo-hoo!
Gone 1/2 & 1/2 in coffee, gone coffee too now, 6 months gone
I drink some black tea in the morning.
Gone sugary sweet treats after meals, ice cream or sorbet, licorice,
hard candy, cakes, pie, cookies, chocolate, even cereal.
Gone days of eating whatever whenever
No more buying prepared foods
without reading labels: “Fat = 0 grams
Sugar = 0 grams”
I multiply “avg. serving size” x # of ozs. to figure the % of
sugar and fat and discard most of what went in shopping cart.
My Fatty Liver celebrates by making me even more
irritated . I like “comfort foods” - I like sugar
like I did ol' King Alcohol - & I was a merry old Soul too
until this Palace filled up with Virus & became
home of the fatty liver, & my irritation grew & grew
I lost first wife 'cause I was angry &
“punished” her w/ more drugs & drinking & other women.
Oh, my fatty liver was happy then!
The Virus Demon hid and grew but cut a deal:
“no more booze/drugs & you can pretend you're ok -
but we'll hide out & when you're confronted with
Hope & Fear, we'll take Fear every time!”
And so I spent 8 years therapy, working w/ Anger
Working on Esteem
Working to Open Up
and my Fatty Liver Demons laughed each time I found
a way around them
Oh they bide, they dwell, they wait to pounce
their 2 million strong voices of a sudden leap into Mean Words
- take delight in disappointment, knowing how
lack of comfort and sex or “bad” food will make my irritation rise
hydra headed, swelling venom sacs, spitting invective & bitter
masturbation drains of energy & grief so that I retreat
drift into a haze of day dream & angst
crave the foods I love, crave drugs and alcohol again
first time 15 years sober
I begin to think I could get away with it - anything to get out
of this fuckin fucked up Body!
Tired of the struggle already!
Tired of new wife already!
Tired of being tired so am meditating more than ever
which is calming my irritation
and I have less libido due to chemo
which is making Wife happy
and I have daily writing practice
which is getting things done
and I will skin-pop the 5 mgs of the
Interferon tonight, take the 1000 mgs of Ribaviran knowing
that they too, the very Cure Itself, doth maketh me irritated
resign myself to that
drink lots of water to keep cool
and promise to take a long walk to where the Mountain
opens up to the Sea
soon as I finish
[Originally published in NHS 2003, http://www.poetspath.com/napalm/nhs03/marti.html.]