Body as history book
The night before, I was disconsolately frantic, bordering psychosis. G fed me whiskey and cigarettes and benzos and wrapped me in a blanket as I sat in the corner. I was groundless and confused and oppressed by just sheer “something’s fucking wrong and I don’t know what”. After plentiful chemical intervention, I slept. If you can call it that.
Some things from that long ago don’t register anymore, I’ve lost their memories. It doesn’t happen often but here and there someone will mention how I was ten years ago, or how different it is these days, me with my feet on the ground.
The sun had barely risen, and The Prince of Ireland banged on my door to wake us up, I didn’t have a television or radio.
“New York is under attack.”
I am a pacific sort but I have an endless fascination with war history. Some of this is the distance I feel like war has granted me – though there has been no point in my personal timeline that my government wasn’t engaged in military action somewhere. I’m just lucky as fuck that it is always somewhere else.
We stumbled over to G’s and The Prince’s apartment, a few doors down, barely awake and in boxer shorts and tank tops, me hazy from the cocktail. We stared at the television in this-isn’t-happening kind of silence. That immense tower in NYC was on fire, so tall, so terrifying. And then the second plane. And the rapid news of other hijackings. Of other threats. L.A. on alert.
And all of us, jesters and storytellers, we had no words.
I still don’t understand it. I understood the riots of ‘92. When I protested the Gulf War with fellow high school students, that kind of physical/psychic energy anger made some twisted sense.
What was this? What did anyone in those planes and buildings do to incur an unmediated declaration of war. Why had there been no diplomatic salvo?
What the fuck is Al-Qaeda?
Since then, being at war has been unrealistically distant.
Yearly, today is metaphysically difficult. I don’t ever remember it is.
I was cloudy last night, overwhelmed with fuck if I know. I woke up and realized why. This anniversary is cosmically hard on me. And while I don’t like being confused and I’m terrified of having no words, I don’t ever forget that war is done on people who have nothing to do with whatever is ostensibly at stake. The counted and the untold uncounted lives of people doing the dirty work of the men in suits and ties who make war, those lives deserve my difficult day, they deserve my recollection, however far away they may have lived.