Monday, November 14, 2016


I never knew : war zone,
multiple-level dangers,
anarchy truly put. It was
like this in the immediate
aftermath of 911. I couldn't
shake it. As if I had a paltry
headache of my own, for 
weeks. Yet, compared to
the downtown problems 
of anyone else, I was a
complete asshole with 
not a care in the world.
There was smoke here
that smoldered on 
for weeks. Dark gray,
it just kept pluming out.
I was there once, just
staring at rubble, and, 
all of a sudden, this
large slab of steel and 
concrete, whatever, 
maybe three remaining
stories up, still there,
in some jagged way,
just broke away and
crumbled to the ground.
A little more of something.
Anyone underneath that?
I never found out. They
were directing fire-hoses
onto smolders for weeks, 
trying to keep down the
acrid air, the dust and 
debris, the solid life of
smoke and danger. I
got so sick of seeing
men in fire-suits and 
big boots it, in turn, 
made ME sick. No 
one talked. Nothing 
was ever said, or if 
it was it was as a 
side-handed direction 
of words to nothing. 
My mental-solution 
mind, the worst part 
of what I have as a
mind, tried seeking 
answers  -  was there 
glass in this rubble? 
Had it all melted? 
At what degree does 
window glass melt? 
Does construction 
steel and I-beams 
really return to molten,
and give way, and melt, 
and curl down? There 
was no support high up 
from down below? 
Here at this level 
on the ground? Those 
who jumped, what 
happened to them, how 
long is a descent? I 
tried configuring a 
special sort of death 
for that contingency, 
but couldn't. All I 
came up with, for 
the pain and anguish, 
was 'Pain necessitates 
a future.' Meaning 
that, the seven or 
eight seconds for 
them on the way 
down were surely 
the worst of it, poor 
souls. Once they hit, 
there was nothing  -  
certainly no future, 
thus no pain. To feel 
'Pain' one would need 
the future in which 
to feel it. Not there.
Blessed be them, 
except for their end. 
I felt listless and angry. 
I had nothing left. What 
had become of all this  -  
a shit-civilization now in 
tatters? Or was it just the
myopia of a dumb New 
Yorker, whose viewpoint 
goes not farther than either 
of the rivers and who then
assumes the entire rest 
of the world thinks just
 as he or she does : 
clammy, restless, 
paranoid, neurotic, 
repressed, elite, 
snobbish, jaded, 
attitudinal, overly 
proud, haughty, 
bitchy, greedy, cheap, 
high-handed, noisy, 
boisterous, crude, 
angled, ethnic. All 
of that and more. 
Who wanted it? 
No wonder people 
laughed. No wonder 
others ran off to 
Idaho, Vermont, 
or Alaska. 
People milled about; 
were closed. It was all
like some big, horrid, 
holiday had been imposed,
giving people time off, 
but no joy to go with it.
Very paradoxical. Here's
the thing about New York.
It's invisible. It's a ghost 
city you need not ever 
know about. It's not the 
people and the places 
there today and now  -   
that's nothing. It's a 
non-existent place, 
it's unseen and secret; 
and it can only be 
apprehended and
comprehended  by 
certain people. You 
need first the wave-length 
propensity, the proper 
touch and light, the 
tradition of legacy and 
learning. You need the 
past, because that's all 
that lives there. This 
rubble, I knew, this 
rubble was merely 
the present, and the 
future. It deserved to 
die, but not in this 
way. I couldn't quite 
come to grips with that. 
The funny thing was, I 
was just coming to grips 
with it, finding its place, 
the Twin Towers, the 
World Trade Center, 
locating it in the 
morass of all this 
past and present. And 
it was slowly, about 
then, just beginning 
to fit in. I was almost 
seeing it differently  -  
the little tie-shop, with 
the piano-keyboard tie 
I'd gotten as a gift, the 
luggage shops and lotto 
stores and all, arrayed 
on the streets leading 
to it, ragged-looking, 
stupid and bizarre places  
-  emporiums of junk, 
food stalls, shoe shops, 
the Doll Hospital and  -  
yes, yes, even, behind 
St. Paul's, the Pen Hospital, 
where expensive fountain 
pens were fixed and tended 
to, generations-old, handed 
down in wealthy homes, 
over and over. A few 
lurid sex shops, when 
sex shops were still 
mostly paper-magazine 
porno-smut sheet selections.
A different world. Tailors 
and menders, hat shops 
and travel bureaus. It 
was just all coming 
together, after 25 years.
And then it was gone.

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