I confess that today I’ve been thinking of the World Trade Center and all the people who lost their lives on this day eleven years ago. I worked in NYC in the business district – Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, and a host of other short term gigs at investment banks. Even in the World Trade Center. This was in the nineties, and I knew a lot of good people who worked those hallways, mostly temp workers creating documents and presentations and graphics for the bankers. They were dancers and writers and actors and artists who worked the graveyard shift trying to make some cash so that they could pursue the art they loved.
My time in New York City was probably like a lot of young people’s time in the city, filled with enchantment and heartache, confusion and awe. The city stripped us down and built us up differently. Or it showed us who we really were. Or who we really weren’t. A lot of chipped and completely shattered dreams. A few fine beautiful friends lost to the scourge of HIV. Neon and rain on empty streets. Walking home in Brooklyn past the brownstones.
I was already in Alaska when the Towers went down, but we didn’t have a television so I missed all the footage. It wasn’t until several years later that I saw a film of those huge building being swallowed into a plume of smoke, and I could not stop crying. The tears came silently from a deep part in my body, the one that remembered all those people, everyday folks and heroes alike suddenly being snuffed out on the streets that I once walked with great regularity.
The city is still a part of me, just as much as Alaska is. It is sunk into my muscles and my memories. It will never leave me.
Dorianne’s poem says it better than I ever could. (Thanks Joshua Robbins for bringing it to my attention early today).
When a dead tree falls in a forest
it often falls into the arms
of a living tree. The dead,
thus embraced, rasp in wind,
slowly carving a niche
in the living branch, shearing away
the rough outer flesh, revealing
the pinkish, yellowish, feverish
inner bark. For years
the dead tree rubs its fallen body
against the living, building
its dead music, making its raw mark,
wearing the tough bough down
as it moans and bends, the deep
rosined bow sound of the living
shouldering the dead.
September 10, 2002
by Dorianne Laux
from Facts About the Moon