Tuesday, September 11, 2012

week one: september 2001


My city buried in dust:
fine cement powder
coats my teeth,
burns my eyes,
stops my tongue.
All week long,
endless smoke billows over Wall Street,
filling the canyon end of Broadway,
wafting through my head
like the smell of fire in the walls.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

meeting someone in new york

I had that classic shot of Manhattan from the airplane window as I flew up the Hudson on the way into LaGuardia, parallel to the City's skyscraper grid, as if the flight pattern had been directed specially for Continental Airlines and the City of New York by Woody Allen or Nora Ephron. I swear I heard Gershwin playing, possibly on the crackly airplane headphones, but I can't say for certain. As I watched the World Trade Towers, then the Woolworth, Con-Ed, Flatiron, Empire State, Pan Am, and Chrysler buildings rise and fold below me like a pop-up book, the words passed through my head: "I could meet someone there."

The words did not come with the excitement of school-boy expectations, but rather cautiously, with a slight sense of foreboding. I was still a priest, after all. And this would no longer be the pastoral suburban hillsides of the enlightened Berkeley that I had just left. It was bigger, grimier, unreflecting, relentless. From above, its shining monoliths opened and closed to reveal deep sooted crevices well suited for contraband and anonymity. I could see myself getting lost in there, without anyone knowing. Lost, with all the connotations of disappearance, misdirection, intoxication, swept away.