This piece, which uses chained hay(na)ku inside, was written for Read Write Poem Prompt # 52: Face Your Fears and Do It With Oomph!

This poem, in essence, is “to be continued”, as I was very recently diagnosed with type II diabetes. It runs in my family. A very prominent member of my family died of complications one month short of her fiftieth birthday because she did not follow doctor’s orders, did not take her insulin, did not watch her sugar intake. When she died in October 2000, she had already had one heart attack, one or two toes amputated, and had been completely blind for five years prior to her death.

When I was diagnosed in September of this year, the first thing I thought of was how she died, and this spectre has been hanging over my head since my diagnosis. How am I facing the fear of going out like she did? Taking control of my blood sugar levels…and writing this poem, which is more or less a transcript of my mind when I began to catalog and reckon with my greatest fear to date. It’s a little different than anything I’ve tried before, so gentle reader, please bear with me as I take you along for the ride.



has faded
only night remains
a banshee’s song
in my

[this is the end]

a man
left alone inside
a vast wilderness
without my

[my only friend, the end]

will be
no more stories
no more poems
no more

[of our elaborate plans]

lay me
low, sugar rivers
of bloodstream madness
emptying into

[of everything that stands]

my life
steal my skin
and wear it,
coins over

[no safety or surprise]

an ancient
paper doll girl
sugar burned skin
missing toes

[i’ll never look into your eyes again]

early expiration
like mislabeled milk
wicked libations poured
down the

[driver, where you takin’ us?]

my genes
this betrayal began
softly, slowly, sharpening
diabetic carnivorous

[the killer awoke before dawn]

the killer was inside me all along

Written 11/7/08
© 2008 Nicole Nicholson EXCEPT items in italics and brackets, which are excerpted from “The End” and © 1967 The Doors. All Rights Reserved on portions of this work authored by N. Nicholson.

Stumble It!

Stumble It!


About ravenswingpoetry

I am a 38 year old writer from Columbus, OH and the creator of Raven's Wing Poetry. I am a poet, seeker, fellow traveler, and autistic.
This entry was posted in Experiences, Feelings, Hay(na)ku, Hay(na)ku chain, Poems, Prompt Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Brittle

  1. rob kistner says:

    This was a poignant and honest glimpse at your fear — and most certainly understandable.

    I enjoyed the flashes of Jim Morrison’s poetic lyrics you wove throughout this piece. Very haunting.

    I relate because I too have diabetes (type II). Diabetes puts you face to face with your mortality — as do a number of diseases. Diabetes is a sneaky disease, so don’t turn your back on it — go right at it and take control.

    This was an especially sobering poem/post for me personally because my doctor wants me to begin using insulin. The oral meds I’ve been on for 4 years now are not working as well as they did. I have been resisting for 4 months because I do not want the burden of the regimen that insulin requires.

    It also makes me admit that I’ve been irresponsible for the past 18 months, not watching my diet, or checking my sugar.

    I’m 61 and have been diagnosed as type II for 10 years. I had a diabetic related heart attack 4 years ago. I have been feeling very sorry for myself lately, foolishly so,

    After reading this post, I’m calling my doctor back on Monday and beginning the insulin regimen — I want to live as long as as well as I possibly can.

    I’m glad I found your post. You reminded me I want to live.

    What I know from experience might offer a word of comfort to you. I do not know your age, but please know that you can live quite a long time, and enjoy quality of life, if you watch your diet, exercise (at least walk) 3-4 times a week, check your sugars — and responsibly take any oral meds your doc prescribes.

    If you haven’t been in recent weeks, then begin living every day, and celebrating life. You write well — so write, smile, love… and live life with passion.

    We all die, everyone, and no one knows for certain how much time they have — so don’t dwell in a negative place of anticipation… it will steal from you your wonderful life. I know this is true.

    If you ever want to share your thoughts about your new journey, drop me a line. Peace and strength to you…

    …Rob 😉

  2. Very tactile.

    My heart goes out for you. You got tough times but you gotta hang on. Life is so precious and you have to take care of yourself.


  3. Annamari says:


    I wish you to conquer it.
    A lot of people live long, positive lives with type II Diabetes or other ailments.

    This is a strong poem ( the way you break the poem’s flow –the way illness breaks one’s life flow.) and “driver, where you takin’ us” – a image of destiny, or the factors that affect our lives independent of our doings and projects…

  4. Beautifully written poem, I stand in awe…

    I know you have the strength to beat this!

  5. Thank you, everyone, for your comments and kind words.

    I thought what better way to lay out my fears on the table, honest and in the open, than to write a poem. I’m sure that I have the potential for a long and healthy life ahead, as long as I take my treatment and destiny into my own hands.

    Rob, especially, thank you for your response. It feels good to know that I reached someone with a poem, and in the end…that’s my goal and that’s what this is all about.

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