the inspiration for ‘nine twelve’

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.
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the velveteen rabbit

Cold. Blue dawn.

The velveteen rabbit was hobbling up the road with one button eye just a hangin’ from a thrice restitched socket, his nerves just a hangin’ by a thread. He looked back every time he heard a sound. The two lane highway was just ahead. He was dragging a broken leg behind him, and his cotton tail was blackened by mud. He had dropped himself off the side of the bed, after hours wrenching himself out from the little girl’s grip. He had dreamed only of this moment in time, for many years now. With what stuffing he had left for brains. There were gashes and cuts where the dogs and cats had bit and clawed him. Even the wretched maid who always put on an careless face when left alone to do her dirty work, had been known to throw his entirety into the washing and drying machines. With bleach! Dear God!

Yet none of the abuse he suffered by those to whom his life was tangential, could ever compare to the heartless depth of the one who loved him! His child companion. She loved him past living, and his experience was a perpetual dissociation to the heights of the ceiling (where her thick little pudgy arms could not reach him), looking down. Watching his limp carcass get dragged around and squeezed violently. Covered by her great human weight, every time she rolled over in her sleep. Oh hell on earth!

His fur rubbed down to the quick.

He reached the highway and held out a broken thumb. Someone in a mid-twentieth century Volvo slowed down then pulled to the side to pick him up. Sweet freedom! With all his might he pulled himself together, and hopped on up and into the car.

No sooner had he got up onto the back seat leather, when a young boy, about the same age as his child companion, only maybe a little younger and more full of reckless abandon, grabbed him about the neck in terrifying fashion, and reached over him to shut the door closed. Then peered closely at him. Fingered his shivering velveteen residual. The car pulled back onto the highway, and the boy then began to show immediate disinterest, and lovingly flicked away at his single button eye.

self-helpless was i

i saw you before you were born. the interview went well. you were optimistic towards the opportunity ahead.

although all the suffering baked into this cake was unappealing,  wholeness of being beckoned.

despite western ways to be forced on an eastern soul, despite aggravated assault in the capitalist moshpit, despite countless insipid efforts towards persona redux, and begging martyrs of grave emotional toxicity, you would not resist the call.

you bravely went under the spell of your god, and i watched on edge as they cleared your cache and robbed your memory bank, ritual washing you.

then they dressed you in snow white linens as your affect went flat. baby powder and the shaving of head.

you will do well in America, they told you. you looked at them blank. confused but so willing. tears suddenly welled up my eyes and placed you safely inside

one saltwater drop. after you left me, my love, i carefully swept up your off-color locks. with my hands.

tearful i took up the salt and pepper remnants of my one true love of this life. on my knees now.sweeping.

weeping. i held you soft in my hands there, and ritually cursed the insipid god who i believed at that moment, responsible for this.

our unchained tragedy.
my uprooted life.
unmoored heart.
broken.
again.

thus played out my own true story of so-called personal growth, and self-hepless was i. amen