Waiting For the End of the World

Oh Arizona, you slay me:

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project has called Arizona’s proposed law the “most extreme bill of its kind,” one that would be more restrictive than any others currently in force in the US. Although it includes exceptions if the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the woman, there are no exceptions if, for instance, the fetus is found to have a life-threatening condition or other severe impairment. Banning abortions at the 18-week mark would also preclude women from obtaining information about the condition of the fetus, as many medical tests are either not performed or are not conclusive at that early date.

The bill doesn’t stop there. Under this law, if a doctor performs an abortion after that 18-weeks, he or she can be charged with a crime, have his or her license revoked or suspended, and can be held liable for civil penalties if the father of the fetus decides to pursue legal action. The bill also requires a mandatory ultrasound for anyone seeking an abortion at any stage of pregnancy (hello, transvaginal probes) and mandates that a doctor offer to show a pregnant woman the ultrasound, describe it to her verbally and provide her with a photo of “the unborn child.” It would also require a woman to wait 24 hours after the ultrasound before she can obtain an abortion.

I have a proposal of my own: it’s time to empty a state of religious wackos and let women move there who want to be left the hell alone. No bishops with squishy, dudely feelings. No snake-handling mouthbreaters pounding their fists and parishoners. No church ladies pursing their lips and pushing their daughters through the abortion clinic’s back doors. No more witchhunts and small-town gossip. Out they all go.

In go women who have no use for men with control issues. In go women who will never need a women’s shelter. In go women who get the healthcare they need in peace. Women can make a living there because there’d be no need to compete with men for jobs, so from construction to scientific research: it’s all women. All women, all the time. It’d be a state with one menstrual cycle for all, but few of us really need those anyhow. Children would never need to fear child molesters.

We’ll take South Carolina. It’s kind of nice there and I like the ocean, but I sure would enjoy hearing Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham kiss women’s asses in vain attempts to keep their jobs. Let the yahoos and godbotherers clear out and we can all have drinks on the porch on long, sunny afternoons. Men in other states would have to reconsider how they treat women because, in fact, women would have someplace better to go. And when you called, Arizona, you might not hear back from us for a long, long time.

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A Magnet And I Am

In January, I shot my mouth off in my doctor’s office by mentioning I’d had some sort of brain explosion and suddenly my doctor, who is amused by every breath I take, stopped laughing. I felt kind of dickish about that. Anyhoo, she told me she’d ditch her trainee and I should make an appointment come spring. What with the warm weather, I figured it was time to turn myself in. Yesterday, I had my doctor’s undivided attention for about an hour, which was a whole lot like having all searchlights find me at once, only with a charming European accent and excellent shoes. My doctor is a damn fascinating person. You may remember me whining that I used to be Me, now I’m me and have little idea what happened in between. Starting tomorrow, we’re going to try to find out. This brought up lots of issues I had pushed to the back of my mind, including who I was and what I think now of the artwork I was doing then. And then, Adrienne Rich died. I feel speechless about that because one of the last things I did as Me was to exceed my time limit at a huge, prestigious academic poetry reading for which I was the opening act and Adrienne Rich was the feature. It was a bridge-burning move of Golden Gate proportions in which I put on a good, visceral show and never did it again. In the bargain, I lost the protection of another famous woman artist I had grown to love. I never wrote another poem. Then my brain cut me off.

In another life, maybe Adrienne Rich and I would have been friends now. Maybe.

This morning, my friend Robert sent me a different obituary for Adrienne Rich, leading us to conclude that Robert’s life broke in half at just about the same time mine did. I remember being the engine that pushed an art scene, a comedy troupe, an underground life for dozens of people too fired up to stay home at night, but it’s a distant memory now. In it, I look like Annie Sullivan in Danskin capris. As the day wore on, I felt a sense of my place in things firming up. Finally, as I was sitting in my cousin Carmello’s hair salon, I heard this on the CD player and just about sat up straight at the shampoo sink.

In the early nineties, when I was burning a swath across the landscape, I sat at my Mac at nights, listening to music in languages I didn’t speak and writing my next performance poems. Blue Bell Knoll was one of my favorite albums for this kind of work. It possesses a certain emotional plasticity that lets the mind wander and the characters flow. I wrote some of my best work listening to this album and haven’t listened to it since. In the salon today, it seemed like the Universe was shouting my name. Carmello reminded me today wasn’t the first time that’d happened in his shop.

Okay, I hear it. But why? What is there to know?

Living In A World Of Make-Believe

Topaz went on walkabout, so now everyone covered with fur gets a collar with the bell snipped off. Sweetpea sports this topical green peace sign collar which sets off her lovely honey boo-boo eyes.

Drusy models this silver paisley collar, but she'd look beautiful in any old thing. Topaz, on the other hand, is completely freaked out and once again has told me to talk to the paw.

There’d Never Be A Love Song

A little over an hour ago, I was trying to move around a bit so I wouldn’t feel like I’d spent the day in bed again. In the living room, I was polishing my nails and waiving my arms like a jet-propelled lunatic while Thursday’s General Hospital lurched to its inevitable conclusion. Sweetpea lay on the couch, licking her paws. Topaz sat on the sideboard, bathed in the golden afternoon light and looking back at me. Some time later, time measured perhaps in minutes or seconds, I looked back and saw no cat on the sideboard. A lot of tiny things happened very quickly in a row:

– I stopped what I was doing and walked to the open window where I saw

– a hole in the screen about the size of a six-pound cat

– without thinking, I looked at Sweetpea on the couch and walked up the stairs to find Drusy

– who met me on the stairs, and I stared at her

– then I kept walking up, hoping to see Topaz, who is often invisible.

– When I got to the attic, winded, and did not see Topaz, I did not panic. I came downstairs.

– Without thinking, I looked at Sweetpea.

– Thinking I was doing things out of order, I walked outside and saw nothing.

– Thinking I was overreacting, I walked across the strip of grass that passes for my front lawn and around the side of the house, where I saw nothing.

– Thinking I should go back in the house, I found myself standing on a corner of the sidewalk when I saw a tiny face peek out from the far, dark side of my back porch and I wasn’t one hundred percent sure who it was.

– Suddenly, my heart was in my throat. I called, “Topaz? My darling?”

– The face starting running toward me and hissed, then became Topaz in the light.

– I scooped her up and carried her to the front of the house. She fought me the whole time. I lost my grip on her once I was inside the vestibule, but before the door had closed behind me. For a moment, I wondered if I had just lost her again

– but I opened the inside door and she ran inside.

– Once the crisis was averted, I sat down in the living room and had a flaming nauseous panic attack.

This worked out well because I didn’t listen to rational me and I acted before I thought about how I was going to feel about any outcome.

To no one's surprise: not talking.

On the bright side: my lungs worked great while I was hyperventilating.

Longing To Linger Till Dawn

You see that movie last night with pretty pretty Dorothy Dandridge singing –

A woman can do what she’s gotta
Even if it isn’t what she oughtta

– while rowing a canoe made of feathers and Adam’s Sour Apple Gum? There’s no such movie, you say? Huh. At least this fever comes with an awesome imaginary video soundtrack.

On the other hand, via Digby, being awake is no picnic:

Naturally, I’m going back to bed.