Sep 4, 2015

The lighter is dimming.  The man who loved light is less and less loved by light in return.  He's gotten tangled up, like a dolphin in nets, tangled up in those tubes and wires, and all the paraphernalia that goes with living at man's end.  Meanwhile, the doctors won't say.  They're afraid to predict an outcome; afraid of being sued.  Afraid that when people find out the true consequences of say a pacemaker, they won't want it.  If the signs are stable, they say, then there's nothing to do.
Yet the lighter is in more and more pain.  The data is hopeful, yet he feels worse and worse. His knees are swelling; he can no longer walk; he's dizzy; he's losing his coordination, his ability to reason.  It galls him no end that he can't remember 'chicken, sauce, tea' five minutes after you tell him to remember those words.
And all the while he's kept in a resort-like rehab center where the admitters tell everyone that there are two Diebenkorns hanging on the walls. What they don't say is that the rehab area includes the forensic wing.  Down the corridor from the lighter, a woman goes through 108 bird calls every evening.  Then some occasional screaming.  Nurses shake their heads. Drugs are readily available, although it's hard to find a nurse to provide them.  Who knows what's wrong with these nurses? They find a bleeding sore on your elbow and then forget to take care of it.  Life goes on, but just barely. The light in this place is mellow and ghastly.  The cat wandering around is 17-years-old. There's nothing to be done. The man who has defined cinematic light is left alone.  His friends have largely deserted him.  Still, he's willing to play his part whatever it is, but he is as though without a director to explain the scene.  And all the while he listens to Gorecki's Symphony No. 3.  With Dawn Upshaw.  Not what you should be filling your head with at such a moment;  the tears roaring down his tough cheeks the color of a dirt road after a good rain.

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