POETRY BY CANCER CAREGIVERS: I'm rendered mute

Langer, Corey J. MD

Oncology Times:
doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000407172.98638.7f
Poetry

    Submissions are welcome from oncologists, oncology nurses, and other cancer caregivers. E-mail only, please, to: OT@LWWNY.com, and include affiliation/title, address, and phone number, along with a photo, if available.

    Basic science

    Is a foreign tongue

    It has all the vocabulary

    But none of the sense

    Of the clinical dialects

    I speak so well

    I've entered a new landscape:

    The realm of proteomics,

    And lineage promiscuity

    (as if cells had sex)

    Downstream effects

    Cascade in

    Foaming rapids

    Into random pools

    And into the powerpoint museum

    Of abstract notions,

    Where color-coded genetic dots

    Of microarrays

    Re-invent Seurat

    Only the pictures are incomprehensible

    A wayward alien, I've landed

    On a shimmering spider's web

    I stick

    To every filamentous thread.

    Thoughts congeal; my tongue

    Grows thick and heavy.

    My mouth glues shut

    I await instruction;

    Maybe then I'll learn

    From 2000 until 2006, COREY J. LANGER, MD, was the President of Delaware Valley Poets, a grassroots group based in Lawrenceville, NJ, that conducts monthly workshops and hosts monthly readings. He continues to spearhead its monthly readings, which are now done in tandem with US 1 Worksheets at the Princeton Public Library.

    He was born and grew up in Long Island, NY, and matriculated at Boston University in its six-year medical program, where he earned a BA and MD in 1981. For 22 years until June 2008, he worked at Fox Chase Cancer Center, most recently as Medical Director of Thoracic Oncology; he is now at the University of Pennsylvania, as Professor of Medicine and Director of Thoracic Oncology. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and serves on the editorial boards of several journals.

    His poetry has been published in Brooklines, A Muddy River Anthology, A Different Latitude, Thatchwork, Annals of Internal Medicine, Edison Literary Review, Quick and Dirty Poets, Identity Theory, U.S, 1, and U.S 1 Worksheets.

    “This poem,” he says, “was written at a medical conference during a basic science lecture that I found quite incomprehensible.”

    © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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