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

Forrest Gander

If I were to change my name

I would change it to something

light and leafy like Forrest Gander,

the name of the poet whose poem ‘Pastoral’

I am reading now: ‘swarms of midges

bobbed up and down like balled hairnets

in the breeze’; nothing blunt and earthy,

like his nearest namesake, Forrest Gump

would write; but ethereal; I see he has a degree

in ecology and was born in the Mojave Desert,

all part of the grand design; his photo

portrays him, smiling, upstanding, arms outspread

as if ready to take off on another flight of whimsy.

photo courtesy of Ulle

Wish I Had a Name

I wish I had a name

something exotic like Sterling Holy White Mountain,

the name of the author whose story I’m reading now.

Not my name.

My name is bland as white bread, white as the face cream

my mother used to apply,

and shorn of all mantric significance,

It’s cute and cuddly like ‘Iggy’.

I want something mildly mischievous like ‘Flea’ or ‘Slash’.

‘Slash’ is good but I’d settle for something less edgy

as long as it was colourful. ‘Vance Blossom’, for instance,

named after a deep-pink velvet used on a sofa for the Cobble Hill line.

It is apt as I like to lounge around.  

Chandler, Chandler Manning, I like — I made that one up,

the sort of guy

who doesn’t run away from fights or who is scared of lifts,

a bit like me in my more mythic moments.

In Which We Become Two Famous Men

We hadn’t seen each other since Covid began and had forgotten each other’s names.

It was at the gym and the pulsating music upstairs during a class made hearing difficult.

Martin, he said.


Martin as in Martin Luther King.

Ah. I’m John.


John as in John the Baptist.

Ahh, he said.

We shook hands and had a brief chat over the music.

Henceforth when we saw each other, especially after a long time, I’d remember him as Martin Luther King and he’d remember me as the preacher who baptised sinners in the river Jordan.

*which famous person first comes to mind when you say your first name?