Readings — From the July 2016 issue

No More Me

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By Jenny Diski, from her Twitter feed. Diski, a contributor to Harper’s Magazine, was the author of ten novels and eight works of non-fiction, including In Gratitude, a memoir about her cancer that was published by Bloomsbury in April. “The Poet” is Diski’s husband, Ian Patterson. Diski died on April 28.

I’ve been told to explain that I’m not imminently dying. Anything from three months to a year and a half. I’m in a hospice because they are places to get how to live sorted out and give respite to carers and to sick people a break. So there it is. Stand down arms bearers.

Mmmm pallbearers is what I meant.

The Poet says I can’t speak of myself as dying until I’m in bed surrounded by flowers, fish fingers, greatest fans/enemies, cheese on toast.

So not dying yet, even if I can’t be left alone for more than an hour without breaking some bone or other.

Well, Twitter people, after diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, and postural hypotension, and two falls on stairs, I now have three broken ribs and a broken wrist, plentiful morphine and other painkillers prescribed.

I can’t get out of bed without falling over, hitting my knee, hitting my head, and collapsing.

Apparently it’s the ’roids doing their madness thing. Making me fat in the front, thin at the back, and mad as small boy left to own devices.

Oh yes, and I tremble like a baby’s rattle. Tremor, contemptible.

“Oh, Jenny, they’re both such terrible ways to die,” says my kindhearted, well-meaning GP.

Anyone out there with something just a little less a straight slap in the face?

Just asking for a friend: who doesn’t smoke or drink, but has quantities of soporific drugs?

No answer is better than NO ANSWER I suppose. Or at any rate, it would be true if it was true. Or it might have been true if it were true.

… As a white-coated doc shakes his head, murmuring that it comes to us all in the end.

I think I’ll take some drugs and stop paying or playing attention. Which pams? Diaz, temaz, morphine, or just straight pam on the rocks?

Or is someone nearby with something better?

I really want some nice drugs. But all I’ve got are pams.

Dear Twitter, is there a Dark Twitter where I can find delightful oblivion?

Dark Twitter come and find me and let’s renew our former dark pact. My fibrotic soul for a syringe and the right stuff to put in it.

A syringe, a droopy-making fluid to make a river of the mind to float along or lie beside, and something stronger in case.

There was an old woman who lived in a basket, fifteen times as high as the moon.

Why she did it, nobody asked her. If you see her first ask her for me.

I’d better take more of everything. In case it’s not enough.

I’ve just been told that people who scream and are agitated here in the hospice aren’t ready to die. Haven’t thought about it enough.

Best get thinking, I’d say.

How come no one says, “Why not me?”

All week I’ve been wondering what day it is. I’ve finally fixed on Sunday.

Today I thought it was Sunday when I woke and it was. So maybe brain in working order.

Some days aren’t days at all, even when they persist in calling themselves Wednesday.

Today was Sunday all day. Now I’m worried about tomorrow. Will it be Monday or Friday?

It’s the middle of the night again. It was yesterday too. I’ll wait and see if it happens tomorrow. Suspecting a pattern.

If in doubt that today is not your friend, go to sleep and wait for tomorrow. Then, if it’s no better, consider yourself fucked.

Is it yesterday yet?

It can’t be today. It was only yesterday yesterday.

All night I’ve been here. Without so much as a trip to the zoo. Oh death of alphabet how you have let me down without so much as a reward.

Something is trying to make understanding misunderstood.

Today’s done. A few sentences, several changes of mind. Distinctly alarmed from time to time. A shrug here & there. Sleep. Sleep. Good night. Good night. Unless, ominously, I find I have more to say.

You’re awake very early. Yes. Broken wrist hurting. I can see why she’s awake from that, but why you? Solidarity. Narcissism. Yes, most likely.

You’re talking to yourself again. Yes, it’s a quiet comfort. Broken wrist, I suppose. Yes, but also the dark. Afraid? Of the coming light.

Here’s the news for the day. Kindly readers (much meant). Body up the spout. Life cancered (a.k.a. canceled).

No more me (technically no more you). Count quotes in Lear. Sad scared life’s shit. Well you know that nothing is worse than shit. More shit?

Will you miss milking your cancer? Yep thanks it was a gas.

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