Monday, October 10, 2011

Swimming Underwater / Prologue

   Daughter dying and I'm mentally clipping newspaper articles.
   Been doing it for years. Some are gruesome dealings like the lady soprano in Metairie who hacks up her best friend in the church choir because best friend is having an affair with the soprano's husband. Choir-mates. Both women, soprano and alto, faces upward, concentrating, the name of the Lord on their lips as they strain for clear notes. The description in the newspaper article of the polished kitchen floor is about the detectives slipping on the waxy tile from all the blood. Another clipping concerns a pregnant woman visiting the French Quarter who is shot in the stomach, bullet lodging in the brain of the fetus. Labor is induced, then baby undergoes surgery.
   Both okay.
   Random shooting not yet solved.
  Interest never waning in the dark dealings of human misery, the newspaper so filled with death, dismemberment, the reason for collecting them because of the oddity losing its appeal in sheer volume, clipping articles becomes even more selective.
   Humor and irony rule.
   The darker and funnier the benchmark the better.
   John Lewis Jones tells judge and jury that a voice from the dead told him to rob Max's Superette in Fat City. He loses the case when he adds that the voice also told him he could keep the money.
   Or these headlines:

   Bible-quote contest loser sought in killing.
   Golfer hits hole-in-one, drops dead in Mass.
   Assistant coroner commits suicide in autopsy room.
   Mugger hits mob boss's mother, 94.
   Woman scattering son's ashes drowns.
   Award-winning foster parent convicted of molestation.
   Husband, wife shoot each other at church.
   Man holds chickens hostage in effort to ward off police.
   Five posing as New Orleans police stop real officers.
   Gun safety lecture misfires, leaving N.H. minister dead.

   Or one of my all time favorite headlines (which one way or the other tells the entire story about us all):

   Man on hike to prove people good, robbed, pushed from bridge.

   Aware that people I loved have died in this hospital where I was born, having lived long enough to be confounded by those facts, daughter struggling to live, to survive the very efforts at saving her, Dr. and nurses frantically replacing a dislodged trach tube in the hole in her throat, I stand in the hospital corridor, thinking about my daughter, clipped headlines flashing in my head like the one about the Colorado man who is killed bungee jumping because he is attached to a cord that is 70 feet too long.

1 comment:

  1. Love the contrast here of a daughter's condition and the seemingly irrelevant intrusions of the bizarre. There is a certain truth in that, in how the mind makes what it wants of reality, imagination and the channeling of our thoughts around each.
    Keep it coming.