There is a democracy to disease. It affects both rich and poor, young and old. It strips away layers of pretension, peeling off the veneer of who we taught ourselves to be, and revealing who in fact we really are. It is one of the many reminders we are given of our common humanity. This poem spoke to me. I hope it has something to say to you.



For Jim


You say you’ve been dealt

a bad hand, aces and eights, then straight

to surgery where your viscera were cut,

flushed, and folded back in place-this

ups the ante-you who’ve held all the chips,

have known no limits, now declare

just how to play out this hand.

You never bluff.

And as I se you shuffle

Down the hall toward chemo,

Doubled up, risking it all, we’re 52 again,

Each with a full house.

You raise. I’ll call.


Ted McMahon

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26 Responses to Democracy

  1. PJ says:

    Good Evening Jorge,
    I am not familiar with this poet. I am going to have to look him up. I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you.
    Perhaps I should have started out by saying, WELCOME BACK. I do believe that is a huge smile I see on your face. Your time with your favorite Poet and his Lovely Wife is showing. SMILES.
    Have a grand weekenmd , Jorge. I will work tomorrow and then have my Sunday and Monday off. ( My weekend. )

  2. PJ says:

    Oh No!
    I forgot to type my last line, as I always do for you.
    Until next time…Keep Smiling.

  3. Holy says:

    thx for the comment – love the poem – sends chills.  And your democracy point is spot on.
    It\’s too bad most of us waste most of our breath living the veneer life.
    Your northern Cal pics are so gorgeous – must take a drive down the coast sooner rather than later.  And that slug pic…excellent!

  4. Kathryn says:


  5. Fenix says:

    Hello Jorge:
    Thanks for your visit. Your page is very interesting. I will come often.
    Have a great weekend

  6. Marilia says:

    Que pena que não entendo ingles…
    Mas valeu só pelo fato de eu ver as suas fotos nos albuns…viajei!!!!
    Fico imaginando que seus textos devem ser ótimo…ms na minha ignorancia, vou ficar imaginando!!!!
    Beijos e bom final de semana!!!!

  7. Pamela says:

    What an awesome poem…your appreciation for poetry is engaging and inspiring…thank you.
    Thank you for stopping in today and for the well wishes.
    BTW: My son will be glad to know that his words are appreciated as well…hopefully his inspiration will only grow!
    Be well, also and have a lovely weekend.

  8. Gracia says:

    Hi Jorge,
    The poem is a good one. Disease doesn\’t care who you are are what you have done. We play it like a game. Some win, some lose.
    Something like life, I guess.
    Keep well,

  9. Lakota Clay says:

    52 indeed.  Let\’s see \’em! 
    But that doesn\’t mean we can\’t keep playing?  This is way too fun. 
    Thanks. L.

  10. Gelert says:

    That was wonderful. Yes indeed, the great leveller, where you see at last what really matters. Thanks for this poem.

  11. Cheryl says:

    It had a lot to say on many different levels.  It was good…

  12. Marie says:

    Iam so glad to hear from you again!! Does this mean that your favorite poet has flown back to Paris?  Goodbyes are always very difficult but we console ourselves by telling ourselves that it is not really "goodbye" but rather "till we meet again".
    Oh, yes, even to this modern day and age, Japanse mothers still make obentos for their children.  I used to wake up so early in morning to make the obentos.  Now that I no longer have to make them for my children, I miss making them so I usually make obento for my husband and myself about once a week.  I feel great whenever I make them.  I think it is because it allows me to release some of pent-up desire to demostrate my creativity, LOL!!
    Hugs, Marie

  13. Beach Bum says:

    Good poem – cancer sux.  Any disease sux.  But hopefully when our time comes we\’ll deal with it with grace.

  14. Charlotte says:

    Really reaches out and grabs a person doesn\’t it?  Thanks for sharing the poem.  hugs, lottiemae

  15. redvelvet says:

    Good post… ironically, my friend Jim has cancer also…

  16. Holy says:

    violent agreement? oh my!

  17. dawn says:

    hi  Jorge,
    im glad you enjoy the music. you are of course welcome anytime 🙂

  18. Yolanda says:

    thanks so much for the welcome back. I like knowing I was missed lol

  19. Christopher says:

    Hello Jorge!
    It\’s good to be back too my friend! I have to thank you for dropping by when I was MIA. I was really touched and I appreciate it. I was feeling quite bad that I couldn\’t reciprocate it for so long, but it was simply impossible for the first few weeks.
    My new job is as an Operations Analyst at a fantastic company in the mobile communications industry.It\’s the biggest profit earner in Sri lanka and it\’s growing at a rate. My job needed my 150% attention in order to quickly grab hold of the situation. I\’m feeling a little less lost now. There was so much to learn so soon and I\’m still learning as fast as I can.
    I agree about the fact that disease democratic, except when the impoverished are afflicted by AIDS, more than the well to do, as in places such as Africa. But point well made!
    Do take caremy friend,
    Your bud,
    Chris 🙂

  20. linda says:

    I am lucky at poker……..

  21. Stephen Craig says:

    Jorge,  Poetry of this nature does make one count one\’s blessings.   As ever be well.  Stephen

  22. PJ says:

    Hoping this finds you having a marvelous evening.
    Until next time…Keep Smiling.

  23. Joe says:

    Hey J,
    Hope all is well. 
    Interesting poem.  My sister once told me (after stumbling across my poetic journel) that true poetry must be so personal that it hurts.  If you can, pls pass that on to Ted McMahon.

  24. Jill says:

    Dear Jorge,
    Sorry to stay away so long. At the end of the month we will be filming in Miami for 12 days and there\’s so much to organize and get done before parting. I\’ve caught up on your prior blogs. I like your idea about the National Service. I believe you would get along well with my father. He constantly is making proposals along similar lines. His most recent effort is to found the International Center for Self-Understanding based here in Costa Rica. I was amused to find out about your other occupations and I agree they are very enriching and important in terms of understanding more about life.
    I\’d have to think a while about Passionate Asymmetry. Psychologically speaking it is very interesting. My outlook about illness is quite different than that expressed in Poker Face.
    My blog is about keeping the doctor away, but I don\’t mean you, so please come and visit!

  25. PJ says:

    Best Of Evening to you Jorge,
    Stopping in to say that. Well…I guess I ahve said it now. LOL.
    Until next time..Keep Smiling.

  26. Betty says:

    Hi Jorge,

    Your post is particularly relevant. The poem is touching and true.
    I spent about ten days helping Dean do the thing he wanted most to do: give a big party. That is what I know I can do for him – I can help him do the things he wants to do. It was humbling to have so many friends and family come to help me help him. For me all is bittersweet these days.

    Have a wonderful time with your son.


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