From Galileo's Tears


The water man from Phoenix said - "You have to recognize we're a closed system - the earth is a closed system - 3/4 of it covered with water, only a small percentage of that is drinkable...the rest brackish. The challenge is universal. Consequently, it being a closed system, we're drinking the same water that Napoleon drank. We're drinking the same water that Archimedes drank. We're drinking the same water that Galileo drank. So you just have to recognize that, put it into that context, and realize you can only do so much with it."

MUSIC - SOLO CELLO (with sound effect of rain underneath from video audio)

VIDEO - projected into wheelbarrow bin and monitor on file cabinet - (rain, upstate mountains in fog, reservoir lakes with ice and snow)

It rained tonight as Galileo's tears boiled hot in my Maxwell House. Usually I hate Instant, but this tasted different, richer, more...rebellious. Insistent Instant. It had never crossed my mind that I could be sipping the sweat and salt from the Inquisition's nastiness over 300 years ago.

Leaning back, I smell France and Marie Antoinette's cake. I take another sip, blowing first to cool, steam rising, curling back in on itself, whooshing the warm brown liquid around in my mouth, savoring images of Joan, the Maid of Orleans, dawn, head bowed, her newly metaled knee down on the ground, resting in the dew that covers the battlefield, her forehead wet with holy water. Of Melissa Ethridge in the pouring rain on stage in Texas, rain on her face, sweat on her upper lip. Of my grandmother Marjorie, now dead for twenty one years. Her tiny Chicago countertop kitchen, the drops of water collecting on the wall next to the stove water boiling our 3 minute eggs as the black & white TV fills with pictures of women in Vietnam stretched out in rice paddies...not sleeping.

Most of the coffee's in me now, down and inside the parts and passages that make up me. Where does the black of coffee go? I think of the East River, the Atlantic Ocean, my eighth grade cloud charts, of Phylis Schlafly and Gloria S., of mothers whose water breaks too far from help...holding the cup, its curve a circle, I think of all my nieces Jacquelyn, Madeleine, Lydia, Jessica, Becky, Arya and Emma. The last of the liquid cool now, I drink all that remains, letting the possibilities of past, present, and future swim, float, dive, and pool together, as if time were just a part of it and water...was the heart.