10.28.2001

tumors. tumors and tumors and tumors and tumors. and taking apart the word itself and finding only cells that multiply and multiply and multiply and understand no boundaries and cells that react to harsh therapy and innocent cells that die and cells that occupy brains in grandfathers and cells that overpopulate the cerebral cortex and sap all the nutrients and cells that create malfunctions and tumors and tumors and tumors. tumors that come to me in the movie theater, watching drew barrymore and crying because i cry at movies - it's what i do, it's what's expected - i cry at movies because movies are glimpses of lives that i want or lives that i am deeply familiar with or lives that have experienced enough of what i have or have not myself experienced and so i cry at movies and my friends giggle at me because i cry even at previews for movies because they are all the sad or beautiful moments of movies packed into two-minute montages with that guy's voice-over starting every one the same, "in a world..." and then there is the new kevin spacey movie or the new russell crowe movie and tumors coming to me there, as i'm not drinking my two-dollar-fifty-cent sprite, as it's melting beside me in the cup holder in the theater and my friends sitting next to me and i lean over and say, just before the feature presentation begins, that my grandfather has a tumor, it's in his brain, and there, i've said it, and it's been said and i'm not all that worried, because how can i be, he can be a mean old bastard anyway, and he is going to die one day anyway, but i am concerned for my family and what they are thinking, but it is true that i love him regardless of my own life and sometimes in spite of it. that is how family works. the tumors just come to me in the movie theater and in the car, driving, not listening to the radio and not being concerned about those who are cutting me off or driving too slowly in front of me - all i am thinking is tumors and tumors and tumors and tumors for what else is there to be thought about? the brevity of life? hasn't that occurred to me too often and always, as i inch my way towards that drop-off, that cliff of the end, as sometimes i try with running starts to throw myself over, yet always stopping right here, this spot of the immutable present? is that what a tumor is supposed to conjure in the car or in the corner of the party, sitting, watching the drinks and the drugs consumed and feeling sleep pounding at the door of my eyes? should tumors bring to bear the idea of death? or, is it more about a crowding of the brain, a crowding of the flesh and the pushing out of you, out of your eyes and your chest? tumors remind me of the hollow vacuum of my head - how memories go on forever into darkness and into forgetting, how love is never the thought at the forefront where it belongs, how the preciousness of life is held here, where the cells don't regularly multiply, but rather we kill them off by the millions with concussions and with beers, it is here, in our heads where all that we know is stored, where the value of life is held and thought keeps the world together, our reality in hand. it is the tumor pushing my grandfather out of his own body. it is the tumor that occupies all thought, so that the only things that remain are tumors and tumors and tumors and tumors.

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