Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Formal Feeling Comes: Or, Just Forms

I am aware of the prognosis of my illness and I understand that treatment is palliative rather than curative. I consent to the management of the symptoms of my disease as prescribed by my Attending Physician and/or the Hospice Medical Director. My family and I will help to develop and will participate in a plan of care based on our special needs. [Virginia Dept. of Medical Assistance Services, Request for Hospice Benefits form]

How will my body be received once it arrives at Georgetown?
Very special care will be given to your very special gift. You can be assured that your remains will always be treated respectfully, carefully, and sensitively. The doctors, students and healthcare professionals here are mindful of your serious and generous intention to enhance their opportunity to study human anatomy. They are aware of their debt to you for offering them such a priceless source of learning. [Georgetown University School of Medicine, "Information on Bequeathal"]

In accepting these services, which are more comprehensive than regular Medicaid benefits, I waive my right to regular Medicaid services that are duplicative of services required to be provided by the Hospice except for payment to my Attending Physician or treatment for medical conditions unrelated to my terminal illness . . . I may be responsible for hospice charges if I become ineligible for Medicaid services. [VA Dept.]

I understand that unless the donor has indicated her/his preference, which is binding, Georgetown will not share the use of a cadaver with another Medical School without the permission of the Next of Kin. [Georgetown]

Mercy wanders in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. She
climbs to the top of a mountain, one of the Old Woman
Mountains. She sits down, filthy and hungered. Who.
Why aren't you floating? I have to do this this way.
[Alice Notley, Culture of One]

I understand that I may be billed for co-payments and deductibles required by my medical insurance. I understand that I am responsible for notifying Heartland immediately of any change in my insurance coverage and that I am responsible for any charges not paid by my insurance carrier resulting from my failure to do so in a timely manner. [ADMISSION AGREEMENT: Election of Hospice Benefit and Consent to Treat]

Dear Dr. Braddock:
If you die in your sleep do you know you are dead? Your clinically precise word order is a failure of dream-work. It gives an effect of harmless vacancy. Why this violent tearing away?

[Susan Howe, That This]

(Revised from "Donating Your Body to Science")
7. The donor is in fetal position or has contracted limbs.
Rationale: The body must lay flat on a table in order to be placed in our storage area.


May the elements of the earth not rise up against us or the elements of forms, containers, urns, bearers of ash. My son's teachers say his prosody is good when he reads. He scans. I scan form after form, email, pdf, fax, fail. Repeat. I understand the progress of my treatment, where I am my mother. I do not sign for--but as--her.

My sister-in-law tells me about a book in which the inside is larger than the outside of a house. The house of my mother's body still contains her. Not the her a "memory table" can organize, but one on which photographs are set beside the white out. Each visitor must dip his brush into the white substance and cover over a part of her face, her arms, her legs, her breasts, the cigarette she held up in the 1950s black and white snapshot.

Her body is an urn. Ern Malley was a fake. Poet of air, not the dump. Culture of one, where one is multiples of one. He was two men, but a third poet. Why do we say a dog has a good "personality"? The neighbor who walked Murphy died; I knew his widow by the dog she walked. She is he because his little dog loves her. I call Murphy's Funeral Home to make back-up plans, just in case mom's body is "excluded." It's a family-run business. There are the Murphy's on their website, all eight of them, looking out. It was Martha J. Keefe, because the "O" had been too Irish. Whited out. Half the women in Cork looked like her.

I can't remember why I wanted to make a codex.
Marie doesn't know the word "codex." But she tries not
to remember, by making what she makes containing
all her memories and yours, o garbagers

Random access memory. Trunk of a tree or block of wood. The plank in reason. Rationales for "exclusionary criteria": as if fact mitigates fact. If your body is obese, it will not fit in our storage area. Or: "the anatomical relations are altered." No alteration where alteration found. Donne was a nasty poet, Ben notes. Ambition is as ambition does. Has nothing to do with flies, but with aggression. "The point is not to suppress your anger, but to watch it and let it go," writes The Motocycliste.

I am short with family, short with friends, short with cat, short with dogs, short with newspaper commenters, short with people on the phone. I am short. My mother is short, as was my father. Shortness runs in the biological family. My mother's body, stepping into the tub, taught me what a woman's body is. Pubic hair red, her head of hair was brown. (Born a red-head, her hair color changed within days.) It is now mapped otherwise. Choose satellite or map, or the hybrid that offers pegs & pins on photographs of actual streets. They will try not to use IVs, as that might exclude her body from "donation to science."

In Notley's book, Marie's shack gets burned down, and again. Her dog is killed by mean girls. My mother's mother put her dog to sleep when she was away. My mother's body is a house that will be burned. Her cremains revert to Next of Kin, where Next of Kin is I who sign the forms as her.

It means that I make perfect sense. [Notley]

The the. That this. Here, thereafter.

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