Sunday, September 11, 2011

SEPTEMBER 11, 2011

• I remember the alarm clock going off and hearing the news that a single plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers.
• I remember going downstairs to the lounge in my building in time to see the second plane hit.
• I remember having no context or frame of reference to understand what I was seeing.
• I remember being told by my PA school program director that if I went downtown to help, I would be permanently removed from school.
• I remember going to the ER at New York Presbyterian and seeing the staff gowned and gloved, not yet knowing that there was no one left to save.
• I remember standing in line at the Red Cross at Rockefeller University, and finding Emily. September 11th would become our anniversary.
• I remember the scent of molten steel, dust, and incinerated flesh that hung in the air like a shroud.
• I remember the sound of fighter jets flying overhead in a sound that would frighten me for years afterward.
• I remember the haunting stillness of the Avenues, free of sound and motion, that lasted for days.
• I remember how quickly the fliers went up, printed pleas for the disappeared; lives captured lovingly in brief paragraphs and photographs.
• I remember September 12th, walking, in tears, past block upon block of those photographs knowing that they were never coming home.
• I remember how the sun and rain eventually bleached those fliers of life, yet how long they endured.
• I remember going downtown while the pile still burned and seeing soldiers with automatic weapons and looks of stunned disbelief on their faces.
• I remember sitting outside of AA meetings and hearing stories of Father Mychal Judge, and how many men and women he had ushered into sobriety before dying on that day.
• I remember the deadened stare of my friend Russell, and how he told me that he couldn't survive another Firefighters funeral.
• I remember the black and purple banners hung from FDNY station houses to honor their (our) dead.
• I remember the guilt I felt when I was told that I would not be able to enlist because of a "preexisting medical condition". I still feel that guilt.
• I remember that New York City will always be one of the most magnificent and savagely elegant places on this earth.
• I remember.

Friday, September 9, 2011


"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star." Nietzsche