Picket Lung

I know it’s important during week four to keep up the fight, the resolve, the rah-rah-rah, but here on week four, day four, I have woken up with a serious case of Picket Lung.

That’s the Radiohead song Laura House and I wrote yesterday while we walked, because we picket in a very active construction zone. (To be fair, I kept making her come up with more lyrics with me, while she marveled, “Wow, you’re really going with this thing, huh? Joke’s kinda…. okay!”)

If Thom Yorke walked our line, perhaps we’d get to hear:

Picket Lung

picket lung… all inside…
after the dust settles,
what will i have?
alveoli burning
dump truck churning
what will i have?
will it be more, more, more, more, more, more, more
or nothing but
picket lung?

green envelopes
i walk for
green envelopes
searching in hope
according to jim.
just saw him
again.

eyes filled with grit
i thought i saw you on the other side
you were walking away
you were walking towards me
round and round and round and round
i want to scream but can’t because
bloody Picket Lung

media blackout
anxiety.
negotiations
hidden.

take me
out of here
put me in a job
work the table
pitch the room
get me out of this circular prison
noise crashes my head
nasal cavities implode
picket lung
picket lung
picket lung

I tried to take a photo of the construction area we’re in, because I don’t think you can really understand what it’s like to have an endless stream of dumptrucks beeping and churning just a few feet from your face. But my phone doesn’t really capture the grime.

“I’m going to have to get AB down here to take some pictures,” I said.

“She’s a photographer?” Laura asked.

“Yeah, but also her camera is so fancy that it’s impossible to take a bad picture.”

“Wow. That’d be nice. Just a camera that makes everything pretty.”

“Including your life.”

“Yeah, I like the idea of a camera that no matter what, your life looks great. Here’s me in Bali. I’m completely content. And here’s me in Ireland. Here’s me getting married.”

“You look so beautiful. Where’d you get married?”

“On a rainbow.”

“Perfect. I love the unicorn ring-bearer. Here’s a picture of me with my baby.”

“You have a baby?”

“Yes, I do now. And here she is graduating high school. Yesterday. Here’s her first steps.”

“When was that picture taken?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Mmm, something to look forward to. They grow up so fast. Oh, look at this picture of me with George Clooney. That’s when we were married. And I love all your pictures of you and Matt Damon.”

“Me too! I like this one where we’re swimming in 1968. Oh, and here’s the four of us, when we all went on that ski trip next year.”

“Oh, you look great in that picture.”

“So do you.”

“Here’s my house in France. Here’s my house in Arizona. Here’s my yurt.”

“I love your yurt.”

“Me too! Don’t I look content in it?”

“You do. Here’s me with my dad.”

“I thought your dad was dead.”

“Not anymore!”

“This is the best camera ever.”

“It really is.”