Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I was all wrapped up in a novel and didn't want to go to bed at a decent hour. I finished the book (Compulsion, by Jonathan Kellerman) half an hour ago. There was a character with a neuromuscular disease, as well as several mentions of "myelin." I remembered that the stripping away of the myelin sheath is one of the characteristics of MS.

Somehow I wandered from here to ALS, then to a musician who has it, and I concocted this metaphor-mixing, possibly overly sentimental "poem," with a little help from Wikipedia with medical and baseball terms. It needs a LOT of work, but I might as well get something down here on the blog and get it over with, here on Day 1.

I'm sorry. It's not very good. But it's a first draft.


He rolled his wheels down the staff,
picking off each note with the precision

of Gehrig’s RBI, filling the field
with glorious rounds of song, and touring

town to town, himself his fine vehicle
until the motor started to stall:

his hands too weak to catch
the pitch, his legs wrung from the run. So

he brought on bigger wheels to keep
the tour going, stopping now and again

to pray to the gods of all that is bright
for the sickness to burn out.

And when he stops, the tour comes to him:
we gather around him

and raise up his songs in a circle,
an embrace, to lift the lucky man

on our frail clouds of sound.

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