ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


"The Islands of Langerhans" by E.M. Schorb


                              Islands of Langerhans--
    scattered cell groups in the
    pancreas which produce insulin

Stream of consciousness, WWII Veteran,
Hospitalized, diabetic, dying. . .

                                                       in memory of an uncle


                Woke once to    
                white-smocked aliens    
                their poetic rap   
                the crystaline
                active principle of
                the Islands of Langerhans
                palm trees swaying    
                ukulele music    
                Hollywood presents the
                Islands of Langerhans
                with Boris Karloff
                as Langerhans
                the mad scientist who invites
                the alien pod people to land
                and institutional footsteps
                down the hollow hall    
                hollow footsteps down      
                hollow footsteps
                in an echo chamber    
                Silver Hollows near the sea    
                ukulele music
                on the crystaline
                Islands of Langerhans     
                emerald islands
                in a crystaline sea   
                in Oceanside in
                Golden Land    
                Silver Hollows
                in Golden Land    
                near the sea    
                where you can see
                the Islands of Langerhans    
                in an echo
                of crystaline footsteps    
                down a hollow hall    
                where white-smocked aliens
                rap poetically     
                where you forgot to take
                your insulin
                you know you can go
                into sugar shock or
                insulin shock    
                if you don’t take care of
                your only friend    
                and you like a kid    
                have to spend all day
                at Disneyland     
                eating cake and candy
                and swilling beer
                Disneyland in Golden Land    
                ukulele music
                palm trees swaying    
                the Islands of Langerhans    
                their crystaline
                active principle    
                poetic rap of the
                white-smocked aliens   
                who took samples
                of your blood   
                on a raised white table   
                The beach at Langerhans
                is heavily fortified    
                and there’s a rough surf    
                many died
                before they hit the beach    
                awarded the Purple Elvis
                and the Flying Saucer   
                for the bullet plugged in
                at the neck
                and drove down
                and out through the ribs
                under the right arm
                rapping he’ll be out of it
                in a day or two    
                rebalance of sugar-insulin
                treat as shock   
                then nothing but
                the white-smocked aliens    
                who landed at Langerhans
                I was afraid
                when I saw them    
                they echo’d and echo’d    
                down the long hallways    
                a Silver Hollows sound    
                but they will transfer me    
                to a VA hospital    
                heard their crystaline
                poetic rap
                echoing down   
                wasn’t afraid of God’s
                musical castle   
                wasn’t afraid at all    
                because old was young
                when we hit the beach
                at Langerhans at    
                not Langerhans    
                at Normandy  


Schorb’s most recent collection is Dates and Dreams—short fiction, prose poems, and cartoons—with an introduction by X.J. Kennedy. Last year, The New Formalist Press published Schorb’s Words in Passing, a selection of formal verse. His work has appeared frequently in Offcourse.

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