The following excerpt from Lyrical Soul was read April 12, 2011 at the
35th Annual Cultural Council Awards Luncheon. Originally published in a shorter
form, I revised it specifically to reflect my “two-bout” fight.
LIVE RECORDING featuring “Penny Dickerson”
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Still Standing After The One~Two Punch.doc
Still Standing after the One-Two Punch
The white coats predicted
I’d lose my last bout ─
scientific reason without reason,
Stage II specific,
clear cell horrific,
two tiny tumors tucked tight to fight.
Weakened, I lived
inside a dark lymphatic maze,
like a clinical pulley
a black woman down,
a down woman up,
an upbeat, beat-down
never meant to beat odds.
The white coats now serve me
anxious hand-clasped glee ─
as though it were all a continuous dream:
a rogue report,
a port for chemo removed
a high-five sign, a fist-pump for respect,
I lived just to give poetic retrospect:
Shaken & shook, I was sure I’d win,
I beat the fat lady’s song once again.
I am cut from the earth’s upper crust,
a Lazarus layer, a metaphorical must.
I’m a Brown Bomber ─ a triumph script,
a butterfly floating, a bee with fly sting.
I’m beyond benign, no bitter or blame,
I am too much tongue for disease to tame.
I’m jeer resistant and I’m crisis defiant,
I’m Lawd’ Jesus lathered with jab repellant.
Diagnosis bring your malignant wind,
your on the ropes Hospice,
your towel tossed in.
Survival rate bring ten counts to my ring,
I will one-two punch you,
I will beat you
Penny Dickerson 2011
Penny, your writing is wonderfully engaging. Your strength of will amazing. This piece should be utilized in far-reaching form to lend inspiration and a voice for those facing the same and whose spirit is doused by fear, vulnerability, and/or disconcerting odds. By nature of the poem, you advocate that there is always room for hope. And hope breeds positivity and connection. Win-win.
You’re such a wonderful friend and encourager. I really appreciate you and your always supportive words. I have indeed shared this with many and it’s been an edifying and cathartic experience. You’re the best Terri ~ P