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The Gift of Cancer...a riveting poem
October 29, 2010
12:00 am
Golden Horseshoe.ca
Forum Posts: 104
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
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Gift of Cancer

By Eve

I gave this speech
on Tuesday, October 26 at The Women's Conference in Long Beach,

It happens like
this The doctor walks towards me His face is ashen He says we have
found something It does not look good There is a trap door in the
seat of the waiting room And I am falling And as I fall I hear The
echo of him saying Cat scan As big as a mango We can't be sure This
falling goes on for days Even though I appear to be walking And
giving speeches and riding on airplanes I am falling As the new
doctor at the new hospital says it says CANCER As I wait to hear
where it's coming from And where it's gone As I get pricked and
probed and punctured I am falling As they first say it is not in my
liver And then later they can't be sure Falling Until they drug me
and wheel me off For nine hours And when I wake up I am in a new
country Nothing is familiar Because the possibility of not dying Is
gone Because I am now living in the land of the sick Turns out my
being a vegetarian-sober-nonsmoker-activist has not protected me at

The surgeon tells
me he has done 1,000 operations and he has never seen anything like
it Then he uses the word fistula And uterus

First thing I
think of course is Congo I knew from the first time I went to Panzi
hospital in Bukavu I stood in the place that felt like an open barn
In the place where 200 women sat on benches Their wounded heads
Their canes Their sweat The strong smell of pee and shit from their
fistulae From the holes their rapist pierced into their bodies,
tearing them apart I knew from that first moment When I looked into
their faces And saw the crimes of this century burning in their
eyes 500,000 raped women 500,000 vaginas violated 500,000 bodies
massacred 500,000 wombs destroyed I had no way to protect myself
From the hugeness of the atrocity From the insanity of this
disgrace It rolled over me like a tsunami of pain and took me Took
me took me I have never come back And I never will And I knew those
women now owned me Have me There is no other place I could ever be
No other fight that is not this fight It's in your uterus The tumor
of rape That is wild across the world The tumor of rape That
exchanges women's bodies for the price of a cell phone Or gold or
diamonds Or anything that can be extracted and stolen from their

The tumor of rape
that began growing in me when I was only five and now has matured
into something the size of a mango That's what the doctor said
Which of course is the fruit of the Congo The most delicious in the

The women of Congo
are in my body First gift I realize -- I am not alone I have
imagined what it feels like to lose your uterus or your ovaries And
inside the emptiness of my missing womb There is space There is a
hunger To just be still Cancer stopped me From running Striving
Trying to prove my worth It stopped me From apologizing for the

It made me stay in
one place For 6 months It brought me back my sister It allowed me
to commune with my friends It forced me to take in love And be
cared for, which made me human It took away the privilege of the
well And made me a patient It taught me a new kind of pain And now
I see even more clearly the sick, the poor, the raped and the
oppressed and I know we are family And the majority And that what
divides us is illusion Created by our refusal to feel Maintained
and manipulated by those in power And I know I almost died and that
it was only a couple of inches And a few months that kept me here
And I now live with death as my companion And sometimes she scares
me and sometimes she comforts me But mainly she inspires me to be
braver And I no longer have any desire to be invincible Because it
isn't possible Or accurate I am vulnerable and porous And outraged
and crazy-happy and alive And I know what care is And what it isn't
How someone can stick you with a needle And never see you Or they
can stick you and take the time so it doesn't hurt And I fell in
love with nurses And I know that everything is ass-backwards That
we idolize people who steal our money and own everything, rather
than those who get paid very little To serve

And I know that
chemo can be a metaphor As well as a physical treatment And that
the poison is not meant for me But the cancer The perpetrators The
rapists And it's okay to imagine them dead, mutilated and destroyed
Because we need an outlet for our rage I know that after I was
battered for years by my father and raped by him I held his
badness, as if it were my own And that the surgery finally removed
it And the chemo burned it off And I know that no one will ever
again Convince me I am bad Nor will I tolerate being undermined And
undone I know that the abscess that grew around my wound After the
operation The 16 ounces of puss Became the contaminated Gulf of
Mexico And the catheters they shoved into me without proper
medication made me scream the way the earth cries out from the

I know that
everything is connected And the scar that runs the length of my
torso is the markings of an earthquake And I am there with the 3
million Who are living in the streets of Port au Prince And the
fire that burns in me on day 3 through 6 of treatment is the fire
that is burning the forests of so much of the world

Cancer made it
clear That time is short

And we must decide
If we devote ourselves to wrestling power inside the crumbling
walls of patriarchy or If we are ready and brave enough to build
the new world

And after
searching for so many years to figure out what we are doing here I
finally get that we are being alive Alive Alive And there must be
time to linger And time to enjoy And time to remember And time for
nothing And everything is precious The Indian sari curtains
glittering in late summer sun The man petting his ugly dog in the
park The morning fog The coconut popsicle

And I know that
avoiding suffering is impossible

Stop defending
against what is being done Stop pretending you don't see the ragged
man with his arm outstretched Or hearing the cries of the earth
being slaughtered Or rationalizing the immoral war being fought in
your name Or finding ways to let famous rapists off the hook Stop
spending 900 billion dollars on unjust wars While 30 million
Americans are unemployed Or justifying one genocide by another Or
burying your own story because you think you can't bear how much it

Dying is the only
way of being born

My cancer is
blessedly gone now My hair is growing back I have a scar A warrior
track that runs down My 57-year-old body Each time I look at it I
am reminded that I was opened up in order to remove the darkness I
was laid bare in order to be free of the pain I surrendered in
order to find my power Each time I see my scar I am reminded that I
was lucky That I had insurance That I could afford the most
extraordinary and loving surgeons and doctors That I was surrounded
by an embarrassment of love and friends and family who bought me
soup and presents And rubbed my feet and made me eggs at 6 in the
morning when I was ready to throw up I am reminded that I mattered
And because of that I recovered I know that every single person
deserves this attention Every single person And so my scar has
become a permanent tattoo Calling for inclusion and joy

I know that what
truly kept me alive is the women of Congo Whenever I grew
despondent Or sorry for myself I would think of the women and girls
Who still dance after 6 million Of their brothers and sisters have
perished from the earth

Who still dance
even after the international power elite has forsaken them for 13
years Who dance now knowing that V-Day's City of Joy will open
February 4th And they will have their place, their fields Their
village to turn their pain to power And become leaders in their

How blessed I am
to be forever linked with their destiny I could not die Simply
until they were safe and free and running things

I bow to the women
of Congo and thank them for saving my life


October 29, 2010
12:00 am
New Member
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
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oh my
god, this made me cry, did this happen to you msguided?!

October 29, 2010
12:00 am
New Member
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
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It is
my biggest fear next to war...this person who wrote this is amazing
to me and very unselfish to say the least....wow.

October 29, 2010
12:00 am
Golden Horseshoe.ca
Forum Posts: 104
Member Since:
September 24, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Ensler is the author of "The Vagina Monologues"

This was her life

October 29, 2010
12:00 am
New Member
Forum Posts: -1
Member Since:
September 30, 2010
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

that makes sense...its difficult to see everything from my phone
sometimes...I think there must be a way for everyone to have access
to good healthcare without going the route of imprisioning people
who can't affotrd to buy it...the obama way.

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