PSA Level

A Real Holiday

Those glossy dazzling travel brochures
never do it for me. They always drumbeat
exotic cruises, faraway islands, big cities.
Mountains of cheap travel destinations.
a trip to be remembered for your lifetime.

Not quite what I want. So here I sit staring
at my baffled travel agent and demanding
a booklet on PSA escapes. A real holiday!
No requisition forms and no blood samples.
No doctor appointments. No PSA numbers.

And how long would you like to get away?
Easy, I shout, a few months, maybe a year.
My travel agent looks me straight in the eye.
Why that’s bloody irresponsible! Think of it.
You could do serious damage to your health!

As our tantrums fade, she agrees to help me.
Give me your medical emergency numbers.
We need to plan. Sure, I say, here they are.
She vanishes and returns with her cellphone.
It’s your doctor and he wants to talk to you.


These days you’ve turned your life
over to PSA numbers. Undetectable?
Or, if detectable, is it rising, falling
remaining relatively the same? And
whatever direction it is tilting toward
what does that subtle shifting mean?

It’s a matter of reading hieroglyphics
by candlelight in some shadowy cave.
Your life dedicated to the deciphering
of that writing on the wall. And just
where do you stand, where do you live
in the middle of that maze of numbers?

Easy. You are Mr. In-Between, afloat
upon the three, six or twelve months
between numbers. Days when you drift
fool yourself that nothing is changing.
Days when you breathe, laugh, curse.
Days when you’re almost yourself again.

Sonnet for PSA High

Boys in trouble, not meant to mix
with the regular healthy crowd, they
get packed off to their own boarding
school, the famous halls of PSA High
where the teachers are their doctors
where courses fall down upon them
so complicated and convoluted, they
throw their hands up in the air, afraid
they may never learn anything at all
where they try to be good, do as they
are told, where they shiver on the seat
of some clinic chair, hands cupping
hope, anxiety and requisition forms
their blood writing its next PSA test.

Subscribe to PSA Level