Poem: My Thoughts with Michelle

The following are poems written during my friendship with Michelle Moan, who at 35 years old was battling breast cancer. She fought so hard and the circumstances of her life, didn’t make it any easier. When I first met her and after she found out the breast cancer had returned (she had been free of it for 5 years), after this she was asked to move from the place she lived. All of this happening in just a few weeks. A group of friends got together and helped her to move into a new apartment. Then a few months later her mother found out she had breast cancer and only survived a few more months, all while Michelle was going through chemo and numerous radiation treatments the second time. It’s no wonder it was hard for her to want to keep going. She did miraculous things, she stayed in AA and stayed sober through it all and went to meetings and worked the steps with me. She went to church and many times the cancer stopped and went into remission, only to return again and another round of radiation. There were so many ups and downs and a truly valient fight, eventually she could not go on any more and left this plane. In the following poems, the first two are my own, and in the middle we wrote a threaded poem together. If anyone comes across this page and knows Michelle, do you have a photo of her I can use for this page?


Poem: “My Thoughts Thread” with Michelle

Poem: Beginnings

Unseen existence
blanketed in focused thought
light can’t reach surface.
Wracking pain in human mind
dead people resisting change.

Beautiful flower
withering now in the vase
un-ripened seeds fall.
Gratitude for your fragrance
but sad your life was cut short.

Helpless observer
responding to what shows up
endless suffering.
Confronting mortality
eyes opening – looking out.

~ Betsy ~
February 2, 2000

Poem: A Cry for Help

Past point of despair
ending this self’s expression
mournful cry for help.

Radio deli music echoing Michelle’s sad song.
Today, I am simply grateful that I was there to listen…

~ Betsy ~
September 21, 2000


Poem: My Thoughts Thread with Michelle

My thoughts and feelings
chained together reactions
false sense of being.
Identified with the past
ego struggling to survive.

Betsy – December 1, 2000


There is great matter
to which I exist; a line
laid down over centuries
time. No control. No

Michelle Moan – December 1, 2000


Beautiful body
data bank of memories
illusion of me.
Looking beyond One’s mirror
true essence is all around.

Betsy – December 2, 2000


A cyclone of energy
has emerged slowly,
pulling me ever closer
to its core. No fear.
I have been here before.

Michelle Moan – December 4, 2000


Remembered white space
every thing taken away
alone with oneself.
Intense fear of nothingness
delayed death – clinging to earth.

Defensive response:
thoughts used to confirm my thoughts
protection of self.
Repeating interactions
my circles circling others.

Betsy – December 7, 2000


Clearing the bottom
of my feet so as to
sensitize and step only
on what lies
in my path.

Michelle Moan – December 20, 2000


Tanka: Happy Birthday

Many rainy days
darkness heavy on my heart
misery blinds me.
The next day brings bright sunshine
path revealed forever here.

March 1, 2002 – 11:23

Michelle, you rest in my heart forever.
I shall never forget you. 

In Memory of Michelle K. Moan ( March 1, 1964 – July 9, 2002 )

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