I wrote this piece – nine twelve – while lying in bed on nine eleven, fourteen years after the world trade towers got struck by airliners and caught fire and burned for an eternity and went down after the ones who had held hands and jumped. All day I had been trying to avoid any media coverage or images related to the disaster, unsuccessfully. Sometimes i just wish we could move on. Without the fear of forgetting. We could move on and still remember, couldn’t we? Anyways I guess I thought I had moved on and maybe I hadn’t completely processed it all.
The day it went down I woke up in Chicago next to my housemate who had recently shared with me her love of the Sonic Youth and we had something in common besides getting high and going to thrifts. It was a bright and sunny day and long past dawn. I was hungover and lit a joint. She was still asleep. I turned on the tv which I had recently fished out of one of the closets and put in an awkward place on the hardwood floor with the rabbit ears by the door to the bedroom. I never was big on tv. Anyway, I had taken the first few drags on the pinner and had to blink many times, because the smoke was in my eyes, and then the smoke i saw billowing out the sides of the mammoth building in the heart of the beating heart of the USA, New York City. The first plane had struck, the second was yet to come, and for many minutes with the coverage the way it was I only saw a burning building and presumed some jackass had played ding dong ditch on their boss with a wastebasket full of shred. Then the phone on a cord in the hallway rang and knocked me out of the wide awake nightmare. I raced to get it, stoned. Feeling immortal. Feeling immaculate. I was all of 28, and in a year and two months I would be kicking dope in rehab, in California. I was a young blood and my head was hard as the rocks. When I told my mom I figured it was only a matter of time, she called me a Communist and hung up the phone like the good baby boomer she was. I shrugged and went back to the tv. She had been calling me a Communist since the day I brought home the Soviet red bible with its candy red cover, the Marx-Engels reader. I woke up my girlfriend and we watched in awe as the second airliner slammed into the second tower. And the tears began to fall.
Fourteen years later I am different and still the same. I wrote this piece on nine eleven. On the surface it has nothing to do with nine eleven. But the feeling that inspired this piece was a feeling of finally moving on from a tragedy. The tragedy of the country. The tragedy of my life back then. The trade towers were not the only thing burning. I was.