No Caress; or, Boob Talk

there was no caress
before the flesh-ripping jab—
you’re all violence.
Enjoy your pound of marred meat,
‘cause of my soul you’ll get zilch


the (not-even-close-to) wee notes…

I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 weeks after I started the Trinkets and Armor project. See? The universe works in mysterious and often gallows humor(y) ways. I can totally hear her say, “Stunning Brain of Magaly, you will soon need a group of fantabulous people with whom you can discuss adding yet another chronic illness to your collection. So, why don’t you start crafting yourself a wild circle?

“Um… also (yeah, for some reason the universe sounds a lot like me *cough*) you could use that space to keep your extended family and friends informed, otherwise they might drive you nuts with questions and well-meaning advice your situation, time, and energy levels might not be able to manage.” Yep, the universe is brilliant.

The cancer was caught early, so it’s treatable (thank goodness for wee-giant bits of magic). I’m having a unilateral mastectomy. I have a zillion things to do before the surgery. But… I shall continue writing and sharing poetry and such. Because… an extremely sexy (soon-to-be extremely sexy and single-boobed) wild woman said that “Poetry is ink in lust with living” and that “ink is therapy—words shaped into dark and bright to soothe hurts and more”. That’s exactly what she said. And I trust her words. I trust words and I trust her… all the way to my achy bones.

For the next few months, most of my posts (if not all of them) will look like this one. Someone suggested that I should start a new blog or join an online community “for cancer patients only”, which is moderated by the same individual who made the suggestion. According to this person, “the cancer talk is not for everyone.” A whole lot more politely than you might’ve expected, I told her thanks but no thinks. You see, my Wicked Luvs, that plan might work for her and some others, but not for me. I believe that stigma and despair are filthy soul-sucking beasts that feed on unnecessary secrets, on silence, on segregation… I refuse to go down those gullets.

Treatment and recovery will be slightly nightmarish: I will be in exquisite pain, I will be exhausted, I will be having long conversations with my left boob as she gets used to being an only child, I will be dreaming up tattoos to decorate my battle wounds, I will spend a bunch of time polishing my newly acquired single-boob innuendos, (my Piano Man’s innuendos are so much better than mine… it’s often like that when it comes to him and my bits *giggles*). In not-so short, I will need to be me more than I have ever been. So, walking away from those I know, or separating them from those I will certainly meet makes absolutely no sense to me.

If you feel uncomfortable around poetry that shows teeth, picturing lines of scars and stitches, dancing with stanzas that chant of pain and soothing, blushing (or not) at sexual innuendos, or reading words like breast (and boob) and passiflora (and boob) and mango (and boob) and coffee (and boob) and even nipple (and most of us know just how sensitive that particular word can be). So… if any of this makes you feel icky, you might want to avoid my blog (and me) for a while. I shan’t hold it against you. But if I see you around, I can’t promise that I won’t glance your way, and shout while grinning, “Dude, where’s my boob!” Yep, I’m a bit of a horror.

Cancer is scary. Cancer is crushing. Cancer’s teeth are bigger than mine. But I’m a sneaky warrior—I come to the fight with a hammer, a (slightly mad) grin, a Piano Man who loves and understands me, a Muse with ink at the ready, family (by blood and by choice) and great friends… the best weapon a wild woman could ask for.



Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.


105 thoughts on “No Caress; or, Boob Talk”


    I’m glad it was caught early and I’m glad you are fighting back every way you know how. I’m looking forward to the fierce poetry you will create from this.

    Also BOOB!

  2. Magaly, regardless, if you only one or no breasts, you’re an inspiration to others. A true woman isn’t defined by her breasts or reproductive organs, but the love and compassion that she has for others. Magaly, you have it in the supertanker.

    At the age of 16, I went through my own cancer scare. Luckily, for me, the growth on my right teste was a hydrocele (watersac), which they drained. More than 30 years later, I have do self-examinations.

    Best of luck and love, Magaly.

    • You know, the whole idea of my womanness being defined by the boob didn’t even cross my mind. I’m always thankful for that, for the fact that shapes and organs and such have never really mattered to me. Getting used to the newness of it will be interesting though.

      I’m glad you continue to be vigilant.

      Thanks for the luck and the love, may you get the same. 🙂

  3. No shit! Magaly, I’m in shock…

    Right now I have no sensible words to utter; a dam of water just burst out. I need time to process this. I promise I’m not running away, I don’t care if you bang me hard with that hammer of yours. I’ll write alongside you for ink is therapy.😭❤️

    • The words you typed read very sensible for the situation, methinks. It’s a bit shocking, isn’t it? But after a while, after we count the blessings against the uglies, we feel a bit better. Nah, a lot better.

      Yay! for ink therapy companions.

  4. I don’t have your way with words. A lot of the time, I don’t have words at all. But I have love and feeling and my own wee bit of magic to send to the universe. I’m sending lots of love and magic your way. I’m always around if you need an ear.
    love & blessings

  5. Single-boobed sounds like a new experience in its own right.
    I am sorry about the diagnosis. I wish you all the best through the coming months of fighting and recovering. Will be here checking your updates and your boob-based innuendos and jokes, and of course your wonderful verse. More power to you!

    • My thoughts exactly. The illness is scary, but the after only leaves me curious. Not really scared. I remember being a teenager and wondering when my breasts would start to show, what I would have to change–I’ve always detested bras. After the surgery and the healing, it will be like doing that but from the opposite end. Interesting, indeed. 🙂

  6. You are always awesome and therefore, minus some of the bits, you will still continue to be awesome. I meet a lot of mono-mammaried women ,on a professional basis, and they’re all admirably strong and brave and funny. This is terrible new, but you will shine through.

  7. Oh FFS, that sucks. :-/ I mean, not the cancer talk thing, I’m all in, but that we even have to have this talk. If you ever need cat picture to lift your spirits, hit me up!

    • I think your words just transcribed the look on one of my doctor’s face. This doctor–who has been with me for a very long time–was so outraged, so frustrated at the fact that I “don’t seem to get a break”, that I was certain the cursing was going to start. It was totally uplifting for me, knowing that I would not be the only one thinking, WTF? Really now, WTF?

  8. That last paragraph is so powerful. I look forward to frequently seeing your teeth as you do battle for, and with, your body and soul.

  9. Cancer is so scary, and your poem has the same kind of teeth… In all the scary matters I’m glad it was caught early…

  10. Your ink is stronger than so many negative things, dear Magaly. I’m glad to see you showing it, and your teeth, and letting us all gather round (and root for your boobage at every opportunity) despite the drags on time and energy that are generated by this particular monster. You know I think f you daily. (((())))

    • One of the doctors who treats my Crohn’s issues asked me if I didn’t think that it would be too much–writing, blogging, dealing with the cancer and the Crohn’s and the nerve and muscle and jaw… issues–he said that I should probably consider taking a break from certain aspect of writing. I like this doctor, but after having me as a patient for so many years, I couldn’t understand how he could know me so little. Yes, you and I both know this thing sucks the life-force out of a body and it certainly leaves the mind feeling unlike its best self, but… I know that pushing myself (withing reasonable limits) to keep going, to keep doing the things I enjoy, to set goals (and share them with others) might be the only thing that gets me to get out of bed on those days when body and mind are telling me, You are not serious. There is no way you’d be moving a toe today.

      There must be toe dancing. And every now and again, in order to accomplish that, we need people helping us hold ourselves accountable… and thinking of us daily… So, my dear J, thank you so much.

  11. I am sorry to hear this. Attitude is the thing. 8 years ago I was diagnosed with uterine cancer and should have died. But thanks be to God, great oncologists, super husband, and good friends, I survived. I refused to give up. After a totally hysterectomy and chemo, I survived. I cried a lot but I never let the bastard get me down. You will survive because you are fierce. You will discover depths to your soul you never knew you had. We cancer survivors are awesome!

  12. In all my internet years, YOU are the one person I have met that I admire, respect, adore every day! Not that I dont love others, but YOU stand out proud and sometimes loud and always awesome. Even now, you write awesome words. I know you will be ok. Just a boulder in the road that has to be moved over so you can move on. If I lived in NY, I would be RIGHT THERE offering to help and nurture you. I promise I would! And this comment is not just words, its feelings.

    That said, I was just wandering through Amazon looking for a particular book for another reason. It’s called Twinless Twins. I could order one for you, but….darn…its about people, not boobs. xoxoxo

  13. Mahal first I am so grateful that, this horrible beast was cought early on in it’s attack. I have read you, been friends with you for so long now that this horrible beast can’t and won’t make me go anywhere.

    I will of course be burning a lot of candles, making crystal grids, and sending tons of healing energy and love your way.

  14. oh stars.
    my very loveliest of warriors.
    I don’t have any intellect with which to comment.
    Just tears and disgust towards this nasty event occurring.
    Fight on my friend and I’ll be right there with you throughout.
    Smooches and Squoozes, Oma Linda

  15. I’m putting my thinking cap on to come up with a MAGNIFICENT tattoo idea for that MAGNIFICENT (well, I’m assuming she is, considering who she belongs to) remaining left boob!

    I’ll be thinking of you often in the upcoming weeks … that sounds so lame, Magaly – I hope you can see through the lameness to the real feelings I can never quite put into words for these kind of situations. 💜💜💜

  16. You are a warrior! Grab that hammer and beat those cancer cells senseless! ❤ ❤ ❤

    And I’m totally with you on the cancer patient group thing. If that helps some people and gives them the comfort that they need, then more power to them, but I know that for me personally, the last thing I would want is to risk my whole identity becoming inextricably entwined with a medical condition. I told you that I’ve just been through this journey via a relative and she was adamant that she didn’t want to be labelled a “cancer survivor”. She had it. She dealt with it. But she wanted to always just be herself, without that added classification. As I said, everyone needs to process these challenges in the best way for themselves, but while it’s a pressing issue that you currently have to manage (and we will be there to support you, in any way we can) the condition itself is not you… it’s not Magaly.

    When James was diagnosed at 5 with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, we were advised to join Autism support groups, but I chose not too because I didn’t want his life to become about that label. For the same reason, I have never, and will never, refer to him as “autistic”. Not, I hasten to add, that I’m judging others who choose a different way to me. However, the way I see it, is that while my precious boy has mild ASD, he’s SO much more than that.

    • You, Mistress Emma, always get me. Before cancer, before Crohn’s, before busted hip and shoulder, before crappy bones, before all the bad and even the good, I am me. And I like that. The idea of being completely absorbed into any sort of lifestyle because of an illness, not so much. Like James, I am (and need) more.

  17. I am here to stay Magaly…no poop, boobs nipples or cancer will scare me off. I wanted to share a funny story of something my ex said to me. I asked him what would he do if I had to have both my breasts removed due to cancer. This was his reply: ” I will just have them pickled in a jar and put them at the foot of the bed”….it made me smile. Though we are no longer together, I knew then that he would be devoted to me boobs or not. You are a fighter and a true writing warrior Magaly, and like several of my friends have already done, you will beat this!

    • My Piano Man made a similar joke, lol! He said, “Hm… I wonder if we can keep it.” I told him that it would probably start to smell funny after a while. I must propose your ex’s pickling idea. 😀

      Thanks so much for the extra giggle, Carrie.

  18. That’s pretty heavy and it shouldn’t surprise me that you unblinkingly trudge into the topic on your blog. Why would be any different that what you show with everything else?

    You have a heck of a community here and that’s a good base, along with Piano Man and your writing. I can’t say that I look forward to reading what comes next, but I’ll be here, not knowing what to say, mostly.

    • I suspect that we’ll figure it out together. Wait until I tell you a bit about what I noticed while researching prosthesis options and a recovery robes. It was… very telling (when it comes to our society). I think you’ll find it very interesting. I sure did.

  19. Dear Magaly I am so sorry you have joined the C club. My own wife Maureen had different cancer (myeloma) but fought like lion (she was a Leo) for many years. I am sure you will have a lot to write about and laugh about too as you observe life in all its stupidity.

    • I shall fight like a ram (and you know how stubborn we, Aries, can be). Your ending sentence made me laugh. I couldn’t have put it better myself, “life in all its stupidity”, indeed.

  20. are a beautiful creatrix..and gorgeous soul…yes, yes..share your ALL, be you.. it is an honor to know and be a part of your precious world and journey.

    Shine on warrior-queen..please know I am a friend here always who admires and loves you (and your magical world )very much..I deeply appreciate all that you shine out, give and share with us all. You are in my thoughts and heart !
    Massive hugs and much love to you..for all you have endured and are going through.
    Powerful poem…and magnificent photo..that sunflower spirit holds a lot of magic and healing..beautiful! I look forward to your poems and creative essence always…you are one powerful wild woman!

  21. Lady, I am NOT going to worry about you! YOU are strong, positive, and will take care of business. On the soft side, I wish I could give u a hell of a hug.. Yes, cancer is scary, its a nightmare no one wants. But your strength and positivity that I witness thru your writings, I know, you will ace this!. Otherwise Piano Man and the Princess ( is that her nickname) will be riding your ass… Which I am sure Piano Man…. Not gonna finish that sentence… As far as a separate blog, to hell w/that.. You know your readers, we can take it, I may not understand all the medical jargon, but I will be able to feel your emotion… ((HUGS))

  22. You know you are constantly in my thoughts and prayers…so glad to see you “rip that label” off and still be YOU…and, now you have my husband focused on your boobs…he wants to know what tattoo you are having lol (I may want to have one similar 😉 )

    • *CWS* I’ve no idea what the tattoo will be yet. We’ll have a lot of time to design it (of course, there will be red and black). But we must wait until we see the shape of my scar before I start consulting all my visual art goddesses *cough, cough, cough*.

  23. I’m glad it was caught early and is treatable. And you are so right not to make a separate blog for this journey — this is LIFE and that’s what you, your poetry and this blog are all about.

    Amazon warriors only had one breast too. You are more than worthy to join their exalted ranks!

  24. Dear Sweet Magaly, I am so sorry to read this. I can only say stay strong, I do not think it is time for you to go, and I will send to you the best energy. And you seem to have a good plan. Perhaps you are entering a new territory, and will have much to learn. One day soon you will awake and it will all be over, and you will be well again. That is my hope.

    You are precious, and your writing is wonderful!

  25. So sorry to hear this news but i am delighted that you got it caught early and can fight this. I love how you write, i love that you do not garnish it and you serve it wholesome and raw. It is is not often i read something on facebook and am moved to actually come and READ a blog. Your words do that. Yes they do and i am so pleased to have such an inspiring friend. Thank you for being you Magaly.
    Hugs and positive vibes for the fight.
    June x

  26. I love Rommy’s comment. BOOB! You are a warrior woman, my friend. I am thankful Piano Man is there to see you through – and we are, too. You have the most amazing spirit, Sunflower-Woman. Rock on. We will be with you along the way.

  27. Warrior on Magaly. And Dance. Always Dance. Even if it’s only a toe wiggle. One bloody toe. And giggle. And know that in the months ahead, as you rage against the invaders, you will *always* still BE the spark of life – in passion and ink, spirit and heart; bobbed boob and all – hell, hold onto all your dreams, and fight like all midnight thunder growling …. and softly cry when it all seems too much, with those you love and trust the most, and who love you back – just as you are – just as the beautiful you will always be –

    So dance the wild warrior’s woman’s dance; you will always be hypnotic and entrancing.

    prayers, light and love to you ….

  28. The universe and I are usually friends… Just before I visited your blog, I changed my pc wallpaper to pictures of sunflowers.. so I get that it was sending me your way but the news that you have so generously shared, just turned the universe upside down and shook it. But I know that you have a universe inside yourself – that is the one I believe in right now.

  29. I am so relieved that it was caught early and is treatable! You are one of the strongest people I know Magaly ❤ we will get through this and one day will look back and roar (with laughter and more yummy poetry) 😊

    Sending hugs and lots of love ☕

  30. Magaly, I am so sorry about your diagnosis, but damn….you are a mover and shaker and a fighter. AND an inspiration. I am glad you are going to continue to share in THIS blog. I will journey with you.

  31. Even outside of cancer support groups, the number of online writers either living with cancer, living with cancer patients, or living without cancer patients is overwhelming. Sometimes it feels as if all writing and social sites for those over about age 30 are one big cancer support group. (I’m a multiple myeloma widow myself.) If this scares away the young and timid–well, it just does!

    I’ve not heard from Barbara (“Bright-Sided”) Ehrenreich lately but have a feeling that, if still blogging/Twittering, she’d like this poem.

    • We can only be who we are. If someone prefers not to deal with that truth, we can’t do a thing about it.

      I just googled Bright-Sided, and the subtitle of the book made me laugh. Mostly because it’s a terrible truth. I enjoy bright and positive as much as the next girl, but I like for it to be founded on something. I shall give the book a go, it sounds intriguing.

  32. Even outside of cancer support groups, the number of online writers either living with cancer, living with cancer patients, or living without cancer patients is overwhelming. Sometimes it feels as if all writing and social sites for those over about age 30 are one big cancer support group. (I’m a multiple myeloma widow myself.) If this scares away the young and timid–well, it just does!

    I’ve not heard from Barbara (“Bright-Sided”) Ehrenreich lately but have a feeling that, if still blogging/Twittering, she’d like this poem.

    (So, has this comment been posted? If so why is it still looking unposted? Typical Wordmess. I had a WP account at a site that died, and some days WP still doesn’t want to accept that my real site is a Blogspot.)

  33. I was going to write some gallows-humor quip about how you could now train in archery, horseback-riding and swordsmanship and become an Amazon.

    But you are already a warrior. And your gallows humor is a weapon against which no cancer can stand.

    My mother had survived breast cancer through a unilateral mastectomy and hormone treatment (chemo nearly killed her). While I’m sorry for your diagnosis, I know that with early detection and treatment–and a few wild poets to join your friends and family–you will not just survive. You’ll continue to thrive.

    Witness your truth, through whichever poems you choose to write. I will read them, and laugh/cry/hurl with you!

  34. Now you will officially be a one-breasted Amazon warrior! Beautiful, strong, unstoppable! And always, always, My Hero. ❤️🖤❤️

  35. Magaly! I’m all caught up now- while listening to a Latin band on a cruise ship!
    Cancer picked the wrong person this time.
    I love your weapons of warfare! I’ll be here anytime you need to rant or laugh 😂
    This foe has been round to my family 3times- and it doesn’t scare me. I’m right there with you.
    Ps I hope you’ve let the docs know that there’s fiery ink in your veins- just so they know ❤️💃💪🏽💪🏽

  36. Magaly!!!!!!
    I love this poem, I read it and re-read it and just love it, it’s so full of quintessential Magaly attitude that I really admire.
    Somehow I missed this news in the flurry of living. I am sorry to hear about fucking cancer visiting you but I will tell you, I actually think you have very big and very sharp teeth. Like, from my perspective, you are so full of teeth and love and sex and fury that you could defeat anything.
    I’m also 100% here for all of it and need no censoring, as all of your other friends have already said. Sending lots of love and love and love…. xo Marian

  37. Magaly,I just learned of your diagnosis and I want you to know that Jesus is my Healer and I will have you, your Piano Man and the Little One in my thoughts and prayers. Healing Power to you.

    • Thanks very much for the prayers, YAYA. Belief is a wonderful thing to have, it keeps us going like few things can. I believe in the power of my spirit, in the good energy of those around me, in my writing, in all the wonderful things Nature has created for us… and in the Healing Power good people send my way. 🙂

  38. After reading your poem that brought me here, I can see that you have so much of what I call “good fight” in you. That is such a great thing to have, you know. Take care, Dear Friend. And keep all that spirit fired up! And just as importantly, keep writing and doing creative stuff, as much as you can! I have had to have two major surgeries in the last five years and was encouraged each time to resume working on creative activities as soon as I was able to, by nurses, by doctors, by occupational therapists. Art is medicine, without a doubt.

  39. FFS… I didn’t follow stuff & what??? Come on Ms Wicked… ohhhhh fuck it, you made me laugh & cry in one blog post, btw, just because I cried doesn’t mean I don’t know you be ok… my mummo lost same boob at 70, now 85 & powerhouse, but yes, shitload of shit… fuck I can’t think of anything but 4 letter words now… but ‘love’ love that you will be ok, ‘hate’ you need to struggle with flossing, and ‘haha’ you know I am reading posts & writing comments in reverse… can I say ‘shit’ again? Bloody ‘hell’ ‘fuck’ it… I think you may take up archery soon, those amazons sacrificed a tit to be the best, nothing got in their way, thinking nothing will get in your way on the path to kicking cancers ‘arse’ xox

    • I love all your word, my Shelle, especially the ones that burst out of you in such explosive ways. 😀 And crying and laughing is quite all right, they cleanse the soul and such. Also, I’m pretty certain they are excellent arse kickers.

  40. I agree with you that talking to whoever you want to is a good idea. It’s true that people might not understand but how are they going to understand if they are protected from learning about it. Besides these days everybody knows someone with cancer or has previously had cancer.

    your poetry, a lot of the times, bites. That’s why I like it. It gets under the skin and breaks things open … hmmm. a bit like Alien, lol. Having your thoughts/things you thought you knew/feelings/etc broken open is not a bad thing — people just have to get used to not feeling safe.

    • I think the concept applies to everything, not just cancer. We can’t scream about people not knowing about something, or having no idea what it is like for us, if we keep mum. It just won’t happen.

      If we want people to know us, we need to show them the bits of us that say who we are and what we need. Otherwise, we have no business complaining. Life is very difficult, but it would be a lot less so if we all understood just how hard it is for everyone else (or how they make things easier)… in big and small ways.

      I’m not quite sure if I agree with the last statement, that “people just have to get used to not feeling safe.” I believe that we need to understand that the world might not be completely safe, that nothing is fully guaranteed, but that we can make each other safer if we take the time to know each other (and the world) a bit better.

  41. Coming here a bit late (from Trinkets and Armor 5) and everyone else has already said all the good things which I endorse and agree with. Only cannot refrain from comment on that doctor – doesn’t he understand that writing is what we do to help us heal? From mastectomy, widowhood, state-of-the-world-despair, whatever. Also what we use to celebrate – love, friendship, the beautiful world we live in, being alive…. xxxx

    • I think that some doctors make the terrible mistake of forgetting that people are not their illness and that not everyone responds to illness in the same ways, and even worse, they might not understand the need to art to heal. It’s strange, isn’t it? The idea of someone not knowing this. So weird.

  42. Tit-ellating post Magalay, sorry I hadn’t seen this, but have been keeping abreast with everything and today wondering what your tits (sorry tatts) will be after surgery… seriously Ms Wicked, I feel a bit of a boob writing so late and missing this post until it came on my feed via your PM.
    Totes rooting for you, you approach this like everything in life, YOUR way, deal with it anyway you want, just beat that shit into oblivion… uggg reread my comment, guess I will leave the writing to you and stick to my acrylics 😉 xox

  43. L-M-A-O to Dude, where’s my boob?. I love that! You have a wild sense of humor and make everything so fun. Cancer is a very wicked thing, and no doubt it bitches and curses at you. No shttin’! As I like to say, F’ck cancer!

    Well. Glad to have talked to you a bit last night, tho it was short. As always, I wish you well, and am still praying for you loves. You will still be that beautiful, gorgeous woman, even with a single boob. Please keep us posted. Sorry for writing this a month late, but I know it’s worth the wait lol.

    I love you! ♥ Be at peace, and take it easy. Sending lotsa love, prayers and hugs. And many blessings… you are one! ♥

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