An ugly word and its poem

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So apparently, according to the posts of all my diabetes groups and facebook friends who have diabetes, it’s Diabetes Blog Week.

I’ve been meaning to post another entry here for a while now, and this seems like the appropriate time to do so! One of the suggested topics on which to write (for Tuesday… but I can’t stick to deadlines) is….poetry. People are encouraged to “write a poem, rhyme, ballad, haiku or any other form of poetry about diabetes”. Seems to me a paradox… diabetes and my love of poetry, can intersect?  But below is my first attempt at a poem about Diabetes.  I’ve recorded it, and put the words, because this one needs to be read in the way I want it to be read. (ha) So please click below to hear it 🙂

Diabetes – so medical, so ugly and mechanic is this word
It doesn’t inspire in me poetry, and that it could seems absurd
l mean… what would rhyme with Diabetes?
I could talk about unrelated treaties,
or make a vague reference to John Cassavetes…
was I diagnosed in Tahiti? Or perhaps make a plea for a pizza from Criniti’s.

No, it seems uninterested, this word, in making itself pretty,
In dressing up in nice sentences and disguising as witty
It always feels so harsh as it sits on my tongue,
And almost like poison as from my lips it is flung,
So awkward does it fall, like a brick in conversations,
I fumble to excuse it and explain it’s connotations.

But it is not just a word, not just four syllables mispronounced by some,
No, it takes up far more space,  pretends to be the thing I have become.
It is written on the extensions of my essays and RSVPs to events I’m not up to attend,
It’s my late note to work and my apology to a hurt or forgotten friend.
It compounds any stress with its constant need for attention,
It will stomp its feet if, in a day, it doesn’t get a mention.

It entered my vocabulary when I was eight years old,
“Your pancreas doesn’t work. You have diabetes” I was told.
It meant nothing to me, this foreign sound, this doctors spiel,
It had something to do with blood and syringes at every meal.
It had something to with sugar and not eating it.. except when I should..?
There were lots of rules, of things I couldn’t do.. but would.
It means something different every year, always changing, rearranging
its priority and impact, getting bigger and then again smaller, exchanging
my nights out for days in bed, my excitement for the future for dread.

But, and I must be reminded, it is only part of my life, and not the whole.
As it rests, always, on my mind that it all but controls
in a game of numbers, always striving, always counting,
a constant voice, whispering then shouting,
It will never be pretty or witty, or make a rhyme that isn’t shitty 
But it is written again and again, and it will repeat, 
This word so frequent in my story- with it all other words compete
But there are so many words that should be LOUDER in my story,
There are so many characters and motifs that deserve more glory.

It is pronounced in various ways, often as sickness or destruction,
As an awkward part of my life that requires too much instruction
But what if I said it differently, as it rears its ugly head,
what if it was something that gave me dignity when it was said…
Not excusing or minimising, or pretending it can be understood
but saying yes I have this word in my life, but in its bad maybe it can show something good?
If I spoke it as evidence of endurance, of health and of life?
And not just as a definition for my pancreas on strike.