A Coach

We’ve got great cheerleaders all around us.
Maybe not those beauties at football games.
But we’ve got family and friends and those
who wish for us nothing but the best. Yet
somewhere in the middle of that helpful mob
is the simple us, is the night, is that stretch
of time when we’re thinking and waiting alone.
Somewhere on the sidelines of that dark field
we have to invent a coach, make him up
out of ourselves and our hopes. Someone
stubborn and cheerful stuck inside our head.
Someone in the habit of winning games.
A tyrant who shouts give it your best shot.
Slaps us on the back. Claps while we play.

Extra Stop

And yes, Santa Claus did arrive last year
reindeers through the cold December sky

extra stop, not for toys but for a special toy
the da Vinci robotic surgical system, a robot

waiting for the surgeon’s joystick commands
to remove the prostate with amazing precision

cameras and mechanical arms doing the task
while a grateful Ottawa businessman and wife

two true versions of Santa Claus, drop off a
cool million dollars to keep the robot going

so men with prostate cancer may have a gift
may find a way out from their enclosing walls

not just upon the cold month of last December
but in the march of months and years to come.

Get It Growing

Merry, magnificent and a bit mad
that male marker called moustache
hangs above the lip like a hairy hello
offers several neat appearance treats
you can grow yourself a Horseshoe
or sport a droopy classic Fu Manchu
tuck it under your nose as Toothbrush
cause a big fuss with a giant Walrus
launch a planned spontaneous row
with the standard Pencil-Mouthbrow
or be a room's single brightest star
roar in with your waxed Handlebar
whatever facial splash you choose
it's a fashion win you just can't lose
Movember, month of the moustache
wear it as prank or as a dashing view
the men of prostate cancer thank you.

Rare Bird

When you’re down and out, exhausted
by the cancer treatment circuit, sometimes
you need someone on the other side
who is merciless. A health care professional
who goes at you with no-holds-barred, who

lights into you with such razor-sharp jabs
they leave you laughing. Boot to the backside
to jolt you from whimpering over your woes.
Gets you chuckling in spite of yourself.
Rare bird, short on the soft coos, all for
the squawks that get you squawking back.

So to Lisa for her irrepressible scoldings
for days begun with the bite of her banter
(when are you going to figure out whether
your bladder’s ready for your appointment?)
these preposterous words of true gratitude.

The Summer Guys

It’s the only way I can think of them
our small early morning gathering
in the dead middle of dark winter
looking for the first light in the sky
sun a fly ball you can’t see to catch.

Four of us sitting inside the alcove
just outside our Radiation Suite 22
waiting with full bladders, wanting
to get up and dance rather than settle
into idle chatter of how-is-it-going?

Could be a quartet of bleary retirees
huddled for coffee at the local mall.
Could be a group for a poker game
and considering it’s prostate cancer
poker is really not far off the mark.

Yep, these four verses are really for
the summer guys who laughed me
through my 33 treatments at old 22.
Bill, Richard, jovial George and Ed.
Happy a new day happened to them.

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