Skip Navigation LinksHome > October 10, 2011 - Volume 33 - Issue 19 > POETRY BY CANCER CAREGIVERS: I'm rendered mute
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Oncology Times:
doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000407172.98638.7f
Poetry

POETRY BY CANCER CAREGIVERS: I'm rendered mute

Langer, Corey J. MD

Free Access

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.

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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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