Monday, May 14, 2007

616 days, 5 hours, 53 minutes, 45 seconds

Ponging Bush again, she thinks of dodge ball. The pre-kickball school recess days, when everyone had a fair advantage, when it wasn't teamwork, no one had to choose her first or last. Beating her head against a brick wall. Those Trick or Treat Halloweens of her childhood where she used to spin on her head, no arms, and still she never got the candy apples.

616 days, 6 hours, 55 minutes, 40 seconds

She uploads the new pink Hairy photos from her camera, realizes there's one photo from a few days ago. Part of her Leaves series. A filter cigarette butt on the sidewalk, surrounded by some soft petals, and a few hot pink buds.

This is getting ridiculous. She started this series last fall, capturing the butts, trying to set them apart as objects of beauty, remembering tobacco is a leaf as well. A close smoker photographer friend can't bear to look.

She never thought it would go this far.

616 days, 7 hours, 26 minutes, 38 seconds

Meet Hairy's younger brother.
He lights up, as on an ex-ray.

616 days, 9 hours, 54 minutes, 39 seconds

She says lesions. He says legions. She thinks of Legionnaires' disease. The first outbreak was at a historic Philadelphia hotel in Center City right near the Medical Towers Building where, years before, she'd been getting her head shrunk.

616 days, 9 hours, 59 minutes, 25.7 seconds

A blue brain and a grey brain. But nothing to squeeze today. The botox is working. Even these little lesions could be causing the headache. But that's the least of her worries. Walking up to E.A.T. for lunch, they stop in the gift shop, where her husband buys her two large white marbles, one with blue veins, one with red and orange. He'll keep them in his desk, in case she needs them.

616 days, 13 hours, 21 minutes, 47 seconds

A friend writes that three weeks ago she had something called a pelvic reconstruction operation. Lovely, huh??! Sounds like a maneuver in Iraq!

616 days, 13 hours, 35 minutes, 29 seconds

The widow of her husband's best friend recently finished sewing a quilt for her first grandchild, all the wonderful storybook animals, using pieces of her husband's shirts within the pattern. She remembers those shirts. Remembers him walking out for a cigarette. Remembers him trying one patch or another. Remembers her husband's voice on the phone when he got the call that his friend had a heart attack a Yankee Stadium. These memories are what hold her fast and far from seventeenth floor windows.

616 days, 13 hours, 52 minutes, 19 seconds

A strange-sounding voice on the boob tube talks about being born on an island where swimming was a way of life. He used to love to swim. Then he got throat cancer from smoking. He breathes through a hole in his throat. If he swam the water would drown him.

Big deal. She detested swimming.

Little children, in another public service announcement, say "we" smoke two packs a day, a pack a day, we've smoked ten cigarettes since we got up this morning. "We" is me and mommy. Me and daddy.

Children think they're the center of the universe.

For a limited time, New York City is offering smokers a free patch to help them quit. Quilts, blouses, skirts, blouses, carryalls, vests, even a clock now. She used to love patchwork.

616 days, 23 hours, 29 minutes, 43 seconds

So Bush walks up to the bandstand, stands behind the female conductor silently for a moment. No, not to give her a backrub. At last she realizes the president's standing there, waiting for her to pass the torch, or the baton which he thinks of as a torch. Stars and Stripes Forever. Just like Daddy taught him to play on the little multicolored xylophone he used to adore. Bang bang bang, bang bang bang, right, left, right, left. He picks up his pace and the musicians follow smoothly. Speech done. This was supposed to be his exit music. He gestures more wildly. This is Jamestown, 400 years ago today the first real Americans camped out here. Bang bang bang, left, right, left, there's no Cheney head to hold him in check, no Daddy to hold him back and, off steroids tonight, she's too tired.