Rick Fields


This is a selection of poems from Fuck You Cancer & Other Poems (A Crooked Cloud Project)
published in a limited edition of 500 copies, hors de commerce,
©Rick Fields, 1997



Some of these poems were written B.D. (Before Diagnosis), and included because they seemed appropriate, or, perhaps, prophetic, or because they wanted to be. A handful were published previously-- in Zero, Tricycle, Inquiring Mind, The Vajradhatu (now Shambhala) Sun, and Yoga Journal; or in books, Grace and Grit by Ken Wilber, Dharma Gaia, ed. by Allan Hunt Badiner, In the Footsteps of Gandhi, ed. Catherine Ingram

Fuck You Cancer & Other Poems is available for $10 from:
Crooked Cloud Projects
48 Shattuck Square, Box 42
Berkeley, CA 94704



Here We Go


There was the cough, slight, irritating, no more than trying to clear my throat of some minor obstruction. A test for tuberculosis, negative; for ulcers, negative; x-rays negative; allergies, negative; a tropical disease specialist, negative. Psychics came up with disastrous dramatic past lives, but still the cough persisted.

One night I dreamed a nail lodged in my throat. The next day, heeding the call of the unconscious, I saw an Ear, Nose and Throat man. A dryness in the larynx, nothing more, he gave me some pills and off I went to India, reassured.

On the ghats of the Ganges, in Varnasi, Shiva's city, just one hit off the chillum with the naked sadhus, my voice broke to a froggy whisper- croak.

When I got back to the States I had the hard lymph node above my collar-bone taken out and biopsed while the doctor and nurse listened and laughed at the O.J trial on the radio. I called next Friday afternoon. "I'm sorry," he said. "It's not good."

Here we go, I thought, as the floor disappeared beneath me.





God is extra
I is extra
Extra is extra





A little cell
loses its way
goes astray
The gates of hell
creak open
stench of sulfurous decay
A teenie tiny bit
of living matter
A cell
Forgets to die
takes upon itself
to multiply
Little cell
where are you going?
Please stop growing
Like everything born
both you and I
have our time to die
Don't be a thorn
in the soul of my life
don't be a knife
in the heart
of my life
Go away you've had your fun
I've got things to do
places to see
races to run



Petals (for Marcia)


I spilled the flowers
Pale pink petals
what can scare
you in this world
one day
pale pink petals
scattered on the table
another day
gray-black petals
three little shadows
spilled, scattered
backlit on
the shiny film
in the lower left lobe
I reach for
your fingertips
pale pink petals
my cheek
This world--
in the light of death


Riding the Rhinoceros


Balanced precariously
I look down and see
not the earth
but a rhinoceros
moving slowly
his eyes are small and red
and close together
his skin is gray greasy leather
armored folds
snot drips down flaring nostrils
on top of which a single horn
--oh evil unicorn--
that gores and kills.
He has no frills.
Tsetse flies
buzz round his eyes
And I
am delicately balanced
on his back
As long as I ride
he doesn't know I'm there
as he rumbles through the tall
grass of the Savannah
I look around--lions, gazelles,
vultures, great herds of zebras
a wonderful world
borrowed time from eternity
I breathe the hot sweet air





Death sits on my shoulder.
A life-time of karma squats
on my nose
stares straight into my eyes



This Is Ridiculous


This is ridiculous
What made these cells
A lazy immune system?
Pollution in Kathmandu.
Genetics. Mutation.
Cigarette smoke long ago.
Unexpressed anger.
Fear of love.
All or
None of the above.
This is ridiculous
A portacath in my chest
Thin clear plastic tubing
Delivering cysplatin and 5 FU.
Ensure for food
Morphine for pain
Marinol for appetite
Kytril for nausea
Advil for sleep
Sit on the toilet
Shit and vomit at once
O This is ridiculous
And still
I'll sing my song.




Passing by
Silver and gold sari
Covered corpse
Hip 20 year old
Dharamsala girl
"Tibetans say
When you see dead
It's good luck."
"Makes people pray."