So I guess there wasn’t enough drama in the world— Bin Laden is dead, terror-alerts have already lost their edge, a week without tornadoes, floods not providing TV currency-- America is once again back to obsessing about celebrity infidelity and sex with chambermaids. It is not the ethics thing that engages us hypocritical Americans; I think it is the ‘fall’. The way people watch gamblers put down three million on black and the needle goes red-- seeing someone lose it all, and the kind of reverse thrill for the guy that jumped and realizes his parachute has opened one-too-many times before. Forget extreme sports. This is IT. Even the most skeptical of New Yorkers at least made a joke about the End of the World on May 21.
I was on the subway at 6:10 PM. Not unusual...but somewhere between 23rd and 68th a guy had a seizure in the last car. There were at least 19 other people having a kind of seizure because the MTA is reducing service and the human rat population of NYC is more stressed than ever, crammed together, exchanging illnesses and bedbugs, breathing in someone else’s partly-digested pizza. But this guy... for him ,the world ended. Maybe one tiny electron-sized point for you, Harold Camping...you could make a microcosmic case somewhere.
I’m also reading Saramago’s ‘The Stone Raft’ in which a kind of a parable of hell-in- the-Iberian-peninsula opens as a slowly-expanding crack in the earth. One of his characters is an old pharmacist who feels the earth trembling and when the seismographers attach a meter to the guy, the needle moves.
My friend’s feet hurt. Not specifically his heel— just in general. He is 55. He thinks they are just wearing out--- getting ready for the end. My other friend fell and found out when they x-rayed her broken bone that she has cancer, stage 4. Everywhere. Why did they not, during all the over-charging insurance-allowed diagnostics we go through--- why did they not know this? Her heart is fine, her blood was fine...but it seems she is broken everywhere and they can’t fix her except they are flooding her with absurd poisonous concoctions which had made some Biotech executives and their shareholders rich enough to put 3 million down on a gambling table on any given night. She is in a hospital--- her world as she knew it, ending.
Forty-five minutes later they let us off the train, sweaty and edgy... it was raining... we crammed onto busses. On mine an off-duty cop was yelling at his daughter and some psycho made the mistake of commenting. They screamed for a while and then pulled guns and badges and I thought about the cop that shot himself in the head on 36th Street last week. I even closed my eyes. Braced my self for someones spattered guts. My own.
But I was soon home, cooking cheap pasta for myself and my son who is back from school and jobless but apparently not homeless and had already eaten and can dis my poor attempts at motherhood. Never for a second did he consider that the Subway Series would be postponed for eternity. And I wake up today--- as always, first tearing the dark sleeping bear from my chest, and I go through the day with his shadow, waiting.
But outside my window I can sense this music— not a streetfair or car speakers or the Mr. Softee truck or the endless practising of the girls downstairs, desperate to be perfect....but some tiny song... the daughter of the cop, with her black balloon, asking me about my guitar... her eyes begging... and I gave her that wiggled eyebrow thing--- no, not just a guitar--- a window— something you long for, not that low-life loudmouth father with the whiskey breath and the tattooes and over-pierced ears who took you to the park and vents from the fake authority of a uniform. You tiny abused sexy thing. Come with me. Remember. SIDDOWN he yells. She is pressed against the window. Sing, I say. She is waving. Her name was Adriana. She was 4-almost-5. A pink heart on her shirt. Sing.