What It’s Like

It’s like an ambush when you’re drifting off to sleep

a kookaburra in yr throat

an earth tremor in yr lungs

an opponent in yr bed

a double rainbow popping up in yr thoracic sky

lit up with pain

like that late train to Bedfordshire forging thru the Valley of Rumbles

a cock-eyed gift from the gods when you’ve run out of things to write about

it;s gentler than Golden Staph and comes with a puckish name


but all you’d like to do is clobber it over the head

And a sudden thought occurred to me: if you wanted to overcome an opposing army

all you’d have to do is infect them with the hiccup virus and they’d lose the will

to fight !

every now & then on a dark & stormy night ….

Why would you even do that? she asks as I demonstrate the pose in the spacious confines of her consulting room.

It’s known as the king of the Asanas, I say.

But it’s a headstand! she scoffs.

No, I say, calm breathing and meditation is involved too. It stimulates the mind and body.

And how long do you hold it for?

Up to eight minutes, I say.

She looks alarmed.

We’ll see what the cardiologist says,she replies.

A few days later I’m in his office.

Can you show me? he says.

So I do. The polished floorboards are a little hard on the hands and head so I do a shortened version.

Well, what do you think? I ask.

It just looks wrong, he says. No, you can’t do it after the operation. We can do a modified version.

He instructs me to lie on the floor, put my legs up in the air, stiff and hold.

I show my daughter.

She calls the pose, ‘The Dying Cockroach.’

I’m not happy with it but I bite the bullet.

However, every now and then on a dark and stormy night when no one is watching, a little devil gets inside me and i flip onto my head and swing into the Shirshasana.

Eight minutes of bliss.

  • pic courtesy of Jennifer Pentland

I Fractured my Funny Bone

I fractured my funny bone

on the bedpost overnight

got into a squabble with myself:

you’re wrong.

No, I’m right !

when a CRAAACK

splintered my sleep


split the night

I fractured my funny bone

on the bedpost overnight.

Now I can’t pull a pun,

or even crack a joke

or wink a double entendre

I’m a sad sort of bloke.



I’m walking down the corridor

in my zig zaggy socks

just me and my sturdy side kick.

I admire how slender, sturdy he is.

I like his bling though it’s not the sort

I would covet.

His face I like, its open and informative,

the moving lights that run across his lips

showing someone is home,

that I’m being monitored.

Hey! I’m here for you.

Walk on brother,

he says.


You’ve just had two hours of chemo

and an injection of white blood cells.

And you’re jumping out of yr skin

Where’s the party ? you say.

Where’s the party?

But there’s no party.

There’s only the house meeting.

That will do, you say.

You can turn that into a party.

Warrior Princess

The Warrior Princess

You shouldn’t have done that, I say,

flushed the wee down the toilet.

Sorry, she says. I didn’t know.

It is one in the morning.

I can’t sleep, I say.

No wonder, she replies.

There’s too much light in the room.

But I’m claustrophobic, I say.

But it’s keeping you awake, she says,

drawing the curtains.

Sometimes you have to ride through your fear.

Get to the other side.

What’s your name? I ask.

Zena. I’m your nurse for tonight.

It’s a lovely name, I say. Xena, the warrior princess.

She smiles.

She’s Greek. I’m Filipino. Besides my name

starts with a Z.

Goodnight, John. Remember what I said.

I will. I’ll try.

I sleep for four bountiful hours.

I wake up at 4.38, bounce out of bed,

write three poems, including this one.

To me, she is still Xena, warrior princess.

  • pic courtesy of pinterest

Things I’ve Heard about It

The Things I’ve Heard about It.

It is a cancer.

It is not a cancer.

You will not die from it.

You will die with it.

It is the cancer you want to have

if you have to have a cancer.

It is indolent. Lazy.

And that strange name.

Long as the name of a Welsh railway station.

Waldenstrom macroglobulinaneamia.

Try saying that in one breath.


  • pic courtesy of Wikipedia

Maybe it was the Meds

Maybe it was the Meds.

Maybe it was the meds

but I felt a little trippy

so when the nurse leaned over and said.

we’ll give your cannula a good flush in a minute

I said, O wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve had my cannula flushed

& the room broke up.

Rhianna and Jacob joined in the fun.

It was that kind of treatment room.

Don’t worry.

We all have our heads screwed on

but with the lids a little open

to let the silly in.

At the Blood Clinic

We are sitting across from each other

trying not to stare

looking down at our phones.

There are some paintings on the wall

but no one is looking at them.

Perhaps they are the sort of paintings

that are not meant to be looked at

but are there to establish a presence,

maintain a mood.

Then I notice the paintings,

half figurative, half abstract

in faded denim blue

with black, springy squiggles

like a cat’s whiskers

are not signed.

Perhaps the painter was half abstracted

when he painted them

& simply forgot.

The Message

The Message.

Okay. Okay.

I got it.

I got the message.

No gym.

No hanky panky.

No chasing after

runaway hats

in the park.

No bending down

or reaching up..

Go placidly.


It’s only been two days

since surgery.

*pic courtesy of pinterest