Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11, Part Nth

Sunday, 6.26.05

I put it off – it’s too much to bear. Scared of where I’ll have to go and where would I even start besides, so I don’t. Later, feel stomach drop and coil as I place pen to pad and force it out. Feel its weight shoving me to cower in a dark corner, wanting to find that black space to weep and grieve. A visceral firestorm I can’t control – I am scarred.
Few understand – that day, THOSE days and there were two I fear I’ll never come back from. The one which took what innocence was left, the other, what hope. I can’t spell them out, no matter how many ways they’re spun. Tragic. Devastating. Help.
Love is what they stole; sweetness and grace.
Like those boys broke her and it broke me.
Like years later, buildings would fall and who knew how much they meant to me – yes, to ME – before it happened? And I walked these streets – these very same streets – and my flash snapped 144 times and I thought, Who these people? On my streets. Clueless. Clueless. Candle burning. Sign carrying. Slogan rhyme spouting. College kids painting each others’ faces. Yuppies carrying flags. Connoting New York with the rest of the country like no one had ever done before. This city, separate, unholy entity, shifting cussing pummeling.
And they all said, “What have THEY done to US? To MY New York?”
Cuz if you were born in Peoria – or anywhere outside the four boroughs, for that matter – and lived here for fifty years, you cannot comprehend what it meant for those of us born and raised in their shadow. To have been at the top at five years-old. To have been homeless in August of 2001 and counted on their presence for restroom and air condition.
Cuz if you witnessed that footage 10,000 times on your television set, you cannot begin to fathom what it was like for those of us watched it happen right before us in (un)real time.
Cuz “They” are us.
Those of us planted with seeds left strewn from Vietnam and the Nixon administration, who remember in detail the first Bush’s reign, knew it was coming sooner or later. And still, we were ill-equipped.
Afterwards, the silence like mounds of wool, occasionally interrupted by the chief minion churning out gibberish.
I fell into literature – all those dead authors, poets I’d previously been intimidated by, thought were too good for the likes of me. Wrote my own Dangling Man, begun prior to 9/11, after my arrest and ahead of my ever having picked up Saul Bellow’s’.
And I saw us: weak, wasted, impotent, broken, down. Unworthy vessels. I thought, It’ll all be over soon. I came to realize I was and always had been a pacifist. And that my life bore the contours of a writer. Except I didn’t care cuz it didn’t matter. So I crawled into their uterine linings, clung to those walls and they did not understand why. Soon, they too would be gone.
And it wasn’t long before SSSUVs with U.S. flags in their every window, I’m Proud To Be An American blasting from Z-100 on their radios were skimming through red lights again, cutting off, honking horns, mowing down families. Our previous religion of insouciance recuperated, reapplied, and further enhanced. Cuz Nietzsche was wrong – what doesn’t kill you doesn’t make you stronger, only more anesthetized.
And more blunt.
Months passed, the invisible siege continued. Powder got a few – I waited for mine in the mail. And waited.
New devils were appointed, while old ones stepped down, awaiting a different vibe. They’ll be back.
A plane fell out of the sky onto Howard Beach and A-list celebrities feigned support for “our city” while refusing to step foot anywhere near it, yet still wanting us to patronize their latest product, endorse/provide for their fame, fortune, futures.
Years passed and the date, for me, became Holy. Deeply observed. Respected.
And now, four years later, me, still here, still wanting out, except to a different station. Cuz I no longer dream of another me in another place, sipping sweet sangria, head shaking, saying out loud, “Finally” and “I deserve this” over and over. Today, there is no perspective because it doesn’t matter and aspirations are but formulae for heartache. Today, love has become enemy territory and it’s just as well.
There are nth days of suffering left; I can’t care.
So this year, I’ll deny the day. One out of 365 I won’t be confined, held captive by the memory of four airplanes and three (yes, THREE) tall towering towers. Cuz much like how them boys were in the room, egging me on every time she and I made love during those years following their round assault, there are three ugly buildings walk with me each step I take in this, MY city.
In 2001, the world left behind a century of suffering to enter one of blatant and full desolation, so thick with tumult and despair as to be unfathomable. So unfathomable, we refute its existence daily. Why? Cuz it’s too much to bear and where would we even start? We are not strong enough; we are no pioneers.
So many dead and damaged. And it changed nothing. Nothing. No. Thing.
Mankind moves on, but not really. The world bristles and I can feel it rush past me, paying no mind. I believe I don’t care but know deep down it’s only wishful thinking: here I sit, at 1:06am, on an N train to Forgotten, Queens, devastated, my life shifting, about to change. Here I sit, hunched over, finger down throat, heaving; throwing down line after line, feverishly working my way out of the dark.

Thursday, March 18, 2010




Saturday, January 23, 2010

Break Me Off


There are people living the life you, JB, long for in places like Napa and Spain. They eat mangos and Banana Sour Cream pancakes, sip on margaritas, chocolate-almond coffee and fine red fucking wines.
People living where quiet can be heard. I go there sometimes, in my mind, and it hurts. That life not meant for me – I’m ephemeral; I don’t even exist.
Governed by my emotions because I don’t trust my intellect – it’s manipulative, where the narcissist resides, while in my heart is where God Itself lives. As such, Buddhist country is what I really need – a spiritual land offering space and privacy that might help calm this ridiculous chaos inside. This ridiculous chaos inside.
Yes, I am hungry. Starved for business unattainable. Brotherhood, Social Justice, Honesty. Simplicity. Purity.
A Home (I’ve seen photos of Hitler’s bunker and am envious – something to strive for).
And Sex. It’s been a while, but here it is again, that stirring in my belly, the familiar want and need – my forlorn libido often voracious, gluttonous even, it’s a wonder sometimes how I get anything done.
I know you know what the fuck I’m talking about. Your back arched, making an immense misty racket, whimpering, then hyperventilating, before shaking like an epileptic, pins and needles starting from deep inside your Gorgeous and crawling out to your extremities.
I need it slow and rhythmic and from the sweltering basement-bottom of your soul. Cuz I am old-fashioned when it comes to romantic relationships, but not old-fashioned enough that I won’t tie you to the bed or let myself be blindfolded.
I know it can be good again, hot and sensual and flowing.
I know it can be good again, the way it did before I knew what to expect.
But what makes me a passionate lover is also what makes it difficult to be a human being.
I fear, doubt, weep, inside I kick and scream. Every day breathe in and out, now and then lunge forward, very often stumble back. Occasionally inspire a friend, triumph over a vice, comfort a stranger, produce and emanate infallible love (somethings I love: the sound of Claire and I clicking; these extremely rare and precious moments of quiet; the intimate light from my candles; chocolate; honesty; lips – I love lips).
Try to buy the possibility that there is still hope for me.
Me: pink icy-stained white t-shirt and baggy boxers, baby-blue-beaded rosary round my neck, its silver cross embedding itself into my chest. On this cold concrete floor I lie, listening to Robert Downey, Jr. croon (closest to my own singing voice I’ve yet heard) cuz it’s what healed the last scar, six months ago. I let it work me, allowing for the cut to dry and flake off and blood to flow back into both my heads.
In self-imposed solitary confinement that nevertheless feels like freedom right now, in this moment.
On the ceiling, a panoramic view of Rio that is almost, but not quite as spectacular as the one of my tethered Soul.
To be aware of oneself and others at all times is a tall order and I know perfection is unattainable but OH HOW I WOULD LOVE TO BE WONDERFUL.
We’ve all got obscene amounts of latent power – us ghetto bastards, in particular – and here is my best attempt to clear those slums, untie them knots, manifest my muh fuckin individuality.
Mind jumbled, I’m forcing it all out, thoughts and emotions swirling about my head; I grab many as I can and slap them down on paper, mixing and matching my mad rants to form some kind of ghetto gothic aesthete.
Summer looming before me like a large looming thing and I’m ready this time. For frilly flower dresses and halter tops, flip flops, ankle bracelets and shimmery legs, smell of shampooed hair, perfumes and lotions and sweat, sweetness emanating from pulse points, movements, gestures, advances. Dear Lord – You know the rest. Lemme catch my breath, take a swig of my reality.
Like those sirens outside howling, red and blue lights slicing through this twenty-five year-old curtain, pieces of scotch tape almost as old holding it together – broken soul’d brothers expressing grief by assaulting each other (1001 pitfalls for boyz n tha hood), just outside my cracked, caged window. Their shouts interrupting my flow, reminding me why my malaise from twelve to twenty-nine – we, mi gente, still catching hell (years ago, elders sat on benches while little-uns played wiffle ball and tag till the sun went down, after which ghetto thugs took over; I am the only one left and those summer days are over – overcrowded inner-cities leave no room left for innocence).
And now I’ve switched back to Bach by way of Yo-Yo Ma and Thomas Newman’s Shawshank Redemption cuz I can’t deal with lyrics – words like swords, voices like screeching tires; would that we could express ourselves without them – our bodies can’t lie (like in Seattle with MW, March of 2000, squeezing each other till juices flowed out, sucking, savouring it all, deep wet kisses, the smell, the texture, the taste of her, Sarah McLachlan’s Ice Cream on repeat, over and over, till we drifted and I dreamt I was falling again).
Bringing me back to my cravings – an embrace and a damp, slippery kiss.
And I want to say, “Be earnest with me,” but that’s a sure way to repel most ordinary city dwellers. I want to say, “Remember who I am and hold me close to your heart.”
I want to say, “Stay.” Are there still reliable people in existence? Were there ever? Tell me.
Oh, I know my net worth and it is steep. My Love, when governed by Truth, is wide, e x p a n s i v e and my shoulders are strong as my tongue. It would behoove you to move beyond shallow waters and dive into my deep – there’re magnificent, mystical creatures down here in the midst of evolving (experience that rarely seen playful side, soft like fleece and softer still, something like the fuzzy texture of a daffodil only sillier like the giggle of an infant; or the equally evanescent hoodrat, laid back at house parties, where it can freestyle and cuss like a gangsta rapper – there’s an art to it, folks).
Who’ll be brave enough?
I’m not holding my breath.
Gluttons for punishment. Not me – I’ve my problems, but not learning from my mistakes is not one of them – I’m too old.
Eventually there’ll be another You – whether out of love or immediate necessity, I don’t know.
Meantime, here I am, sinking into Billie Holiday’s voice – pure and unadorned, dense with heartbreak, sounding something like Heaven to me in this moment. It makes me sort of happy and, hunched over, poised on a breakthrough, I pray to my guardian angel (I suspect a brother named Rob twelve-years dead): Stay with me, stay with me.
S t a y w i t h m e .