Saturday, July 2, 2011

5 World Trade Center, autumn 2001

Place of the Dead

Where is the Place of the Dead?
We seem to have trouble keeping them buried.

During the Great Flood of ‘93 there was a kind of miracle in a Missouri cemetary. The flood opened some graves and some of the corpses ESCAPED. And when the dead rose the living were scandalized and labored to fish the corpses out of the wild river, but many of the Dead were quicker than the Quick and never could be found. They were the lucky ones, the ones I envy. They rode the river to the sea, while the others got stuck in metal boxes and placed in a neat row in a pit that was filled with dirt by a bulldozer. A return to the primal sea at least makes a poetic sort of sense, and that might be the most you can ask for.
Does a person “need” to be remembered after death? After I die I no longer need to be remembered, but maybe the living need to remember. They also need to forget. Put the dead in their place. The Place of the Dead.

Washington Square Park: Nearly 2 weeks after being nearly obliterated during the vaporization of the Twin Towers, I relax on a bench in a park where long ago men were executed by hanging.
Walk to the Village.
Despite the Death Smog that covers the city, happy people sit at sidewalk tables, drinking, eating, laughing, talking on cell phones. The smog smells like a burnt electrical cord combined with something you don’t want to think about.
Walk below Canal Street:
join the carnival crowd of picture takers, rollerbladers, baby stroller pushers, souvenir T-shirt buyers and sellers, cell phone chatters - an ugly mass of people with no sense of the sacred, except for the odd mourner here and there, the odd pilgrim.
And what are you doing here? What did you come to see?
I wanted to go back to the center of the world
where I used to sit on a bench and drink coffee
and watch the human race pass by.
Every day the city wakes up to the anguish,
to the fact that something very big is missing.
the entire city wakes up like an amputee haunted
by phantom limbs.

Already Dead

10/21/2001 Dream:
I’m near a graveyard and small creatures, like animated stuffed animals -- grotesque, decayed -- come up, mocking, taunting. I realize they represent “the dead” and I tell them to get out of here, go to their place, the place of the dead. I’m sort of herding them out, kicking them, because theyre laughing, dawdling. I feel its my responsibility to take care of this, putting the dead in their place.

You tried to fight, then you tried flight.
You’re on one of the upper floors.
A burning jet plane is a couple of floors below you and the room temperature is climbing toward the thousands.
All doors lead to Hell.
Better open a window.
Hey, if you can’t stand the heat ...
Time for a quick, life-changing decision.
Here goes. Go. Going. Gone.
Out the window.
Into the sky.
What do you do, what do you think,
Accept this.
Learn to like the sensation of falling.
How bad can the splatter feel? It will only take an instant. Maybe a severe sting, and then gone.
Here goes. Go. Going. Gone.
Accept gone.

You will never die.

The Book of Life is ripped apart.
The wind blows its pages over the City of the Dead
and the finger of God, scratching an infinite itch, writes a new scripture on the sky, and its hallucinated by a freaked out street poet who copies it down on a restaurant napkin.

You will never die you are already dead.
You will never die you are already dead.

Pick up your cross and follow me
Pick up your electric chair and follow me
Pick up your gas chamber and follow me
Pick up your gallows and follow me
Pick up your lethal injection and follow me

We are all caught in the net and pulled out of our lives.
Pick up your cardiac arrest.
Pick up your hit and run.
Pick up your cancer.
Pick up your head-on collision.
Pick up your HIV.
Pick up your pneumonia.
Pick up your overdose,
your slashed wrists, your gun shot, your drowning, your suicide jet.
Pick up all your natural and unnatural causes.
Follow all the dead walking crawling falling flying.
Every day is a life or death situation.
You had your moment.
Now you are called up, called out, called back.
Recalled. Taken away from your self.
Can you remember?
You will never die.
Did you forget?
You are already dead.