Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11, an excerpt, "I remember thinking, They are shades. They are gone."

I'm letting myself feel it this year. One moment I was thinking about my mother who'd died in August, the next moment I was in a new kind of numb.

It is strange, or not, but I watched the second tower fall on a television in a bar. I'd called an elderly friend on a routine check-in, she started screaming at me and I had the sense to go outside and pay attention. I don't have a television. During the next days and weeks I was thankful for the absence of repetitious terror, visually, at least.

The bar wasn't usually open so early. I don't think, I didn't track its timings and now it's under new ownership, and shiny and glossy so I don't have the luxury of sentimentality, another plus.  Anyway. Anyway. Anyway.

. . .an excerpt from "Everywhere Woman Is Born Free,"* which I posted here in full, a few years ago.  It's in my collection.

Carr Futures/Tower 1/WTC
I remember working one Wednesday
on the 92nd floor.  The people were pleasant,
like they’d all make great neighbors.
I remember pangs in my stomach.  An ulcer?
and asking a friend if I should see a doctor. 
I’m going out on a limb here, Sarah,
but you gotta have some fun.
I remember my mom died a month earlier.
I remember Martha called to say she was
in Jersey and did I want to visit.
I remember being asked back to Carr Futures
after Martha and I made plans.  I called
my friend on a limb.  Should I turn down
work right now?  I remember I went to Jersey. 
It was a Thursday.  I remember rolling down
grassy slopes with Martha’s grandkids. 
I never went back to Carr Futures.
By 11 a.m. on Tuesday everyone was gone. 
Everyone.  Every employee of Carr Futures
who was there that day was gone. 
Where were they?  I remember the floor plan:
the oblong lobby, the maple reception area. 
The offices beyond.  I remember wondering
if any of the exits were contemplated. 
I remember praying it all went fast.
I remember thinking, No one
I remember thinking, So many in such a short time?
I remember thinking, They are shades.  They are gone.
I remember thinking, Not one person made it out
Poof.  I remember, No one?

The Armory
I remember the Armory across the street became the
first DNA collection center.
I remember my neighborhood a media event.
I remember streets blocked for two weeks.
Everything darker than a nightmare.
Candles, vigils, wax on sidewalks, shattered flames.
Flyers on every wall.  Photographs of smiling people
with their hair well-groomed, missing.
I remember being interviewed:  Do you want revenge?
I remember telling the people of France I wouldn’t
put anyone through this. 
I remember hoping someone understood.
I remember there was no getting away from it. 
The doors of my building opened to the funeral train.
I remember the line down the block and around
the corner.  Loved ones waiting to register.
I remember trying to give blood.
I remember being asked to hand out fliers.
I remember crying because I wanted everyone
to understand I cared as much as Jennifer Lopez.

Sarah Sarai...excerpt from *"Everywhere Woman Is Born Free," (click on poem title for full poem), in The Future Is Happy

Carr Futures was a commodities broker/trader. They've merged. Jennifer Lopez had given money or visited the troops.

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