Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three Years Ago

When the planes hit the World Trade Center, I was working at the hospital in the Human Resources department. I was not sure what to think of the situation. I believe I initially felt a sense of panic rise up in me because my family was separated - we were all living in different states. I called home and talked about the situation with my parents. Later in the day, I went up to the cafeteria and watched the replaying of the attack on the many TVs in various corners of the lounge area. I watched people running and crying, smoke rising, fires burning, people jumping, and listened to the news commentary. Later in the month, our hospital went into a higher security status. Life changed a bit, it seemed. We were a country in mourning at a great loss.

Though I don't agree with the entire poem - I do remember these words of a
favorite artist of mine regarding that tragic day:

self evident

us people are just poems
we're 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
approaching hyper-distillation
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it's part of a pair
there on the bow of noah's ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
or please

and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky

and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar
looked more like war than anything i've seen so far
so far
so far
so fierce and ingenious
a poetic specter so far gone
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling
over 'oh my god' and 'this is unbelievable' and on and on
and i'll tell you what, while we're at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every tv
that's been trying to convince me
to participate
in some prep school punk's plan to perpetuate retribution
perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air
and there's ash on our shoes
and there's ash in our hair
and there's a fine silt on every mantle
from hell's kitchen to brooklyn
and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
and pour


I remember all of that - from afar. I listened to the many interviews following the tragedy. I watched people hold up "MISSING" photos of loved ones and talking about them on TV. I was not there, but my heart grieved for them.

And I wanted the people who did this to us to pay. I wanted to see those who had the audacity to try to bring us to ruin...I wanted to see them brought to justice.

And I wanted to be with my family again.

No comments: