SEPTEMBER 11: I'm up early waiting for the cable company to arrive. My cable has been out for two days, which means I missed The Apprentice (I am, afterall, a reality tv junkie) and now I've lost track of The West Wing, which has become my guilty-before-bed-pleasure on Bravo. I've watched the show off and on for five years, but now it's become a fave, particularly Allison Janney as C.J. Craig. She's a great actress and that's a brilliant character. I don't watch a lot of the boob tube because most television really sucks these days. I tried to add up how many hours of tv I watch in a week. I think around five or six. I watch the Amazing Race, West Wing, Life Laundry, Location, Location, Location, The Apprentice. That's about it. Of course with reality tv, the shows come and go. I might watch the new Survivor and I usually try to keep up with American Idol. Now I'm just rambling...on to the next topic.

Last night I finished reformatting the Java Monkey Speaks Anthology. There is still some editing to be done, but it's pretty much complete. I think this will an amazing book. There are some incredible poems by Mohit Basin, Gary Coseri, Karen Wurl, Cherryl Floyd-Miller and many more. I even have a couple in there. Kodac Harrison is reading it now and we'll be tweaking it throughout the weekend. The goal is to have the book out in October. Watch this space.

Tonight is the Voices Carry event at the Carter Center. I'll be performing with Cecilia Woloch, John Stone, Ayodele, Alice Lovelace, Ralph Tejeda Wilson, Tania Rochelle, Cherryl and Kodac. I think it's going to be an amazing evening of poetry. We're dedicating the reading to the victims of September 11. It's hard to believe that three years have now passed since that day. I was on my way to work at the weekly newspaper I used to edit down in Fayette County when the radio announced that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. The dj's thought it was a small plane and even made a joke about it, but then their tone changed and the seriousness began to sink. At the office, we turned on the tv just in time to watch the second plane hit. That image is burned into my brain, along with the gasps and cries of the people on the ground who were watching. Then we heard about the Pentagon, the Pennsylvania. Everyone in the office cried. I will also never forget driving home that evening on the eerily empty highway. One of the giant traffic message boards over the highway read: "Airport Closed. National State of Emergency." Chilling.

So here we are three years on, and Osama is still holed up in a cave, while his top advisor goes on Al Jazeera and proclaims America is doing nothing in Afghanistan. In the meantime, over 1,ooo US soldiers are dead, the majority of them fighting the senseless war in Iraq. How we got from Osama to Saddam is still a mystery to me. Rather than rallying the country, our dumbass president has divided the country. What a sad legacy just a short three years on.

Below is Toni Morrison's poem written just days after the attacks. It is one of the best poems ever written, in my opinion. It jump-started my own poetry writing again after a dormant period.


Some have God's words; others have songs of comfort for the bereaved.
If I can pluck courage here, I would like to speak directly to the dead--
the September dead.

Those children of ancestors born in every continent on the planet:
Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas...born of ancestors
who wore kilts, obis, saris, geles, wide straw hats, yamulkes, goatskin,
wooden shoes, feathers and cloths to cover their hair.

But I would not say a word until I could set aside all I know or believe
about nations, war, leaders, the governed and ungovernable; all I suspect
about armor and entrails.

First I would freshen my tongue, abandon sentences crafted to know evil
--wanton or studied; explosive or quietly sinister; whether born of sated
appetite or hunger; of vengeance or the simple compulsion to stand up
before falling down.

I would purge my language of hyperbole; of its eagerness to analyze
the levels of wickedness; ranking them; calculating their higher or lower
status among others of its kind.

Speaking to the broken and the dead is too difficult for a mouth full ofblood.

Too holy an act for impure thoughts.

Because the dead are free, absolute; they cannot be seduced by blitz.

To speak to you, the dead of September, I must not claim false intimacy or
summon an overheated heart glazed just in time for a camera.
I must be steady and I must be clear, knowing all the time that I have
nothing to say--no words stronger than the steel that pressed you into itself;
no scripture older or more elegant than the ancient atoms you have become.
And I have nothing to give either--except this gesture, this thread
thrown between your humanity and mine; I want to hold you in my arms and
as your soul got shot of its box of flesh to understand, as you have done,
the wit of eternity: its gift of unhinged release tearing through the
darkness of its knell.


Anonymous said…
I love that poem by Morrison. Good luck tonight.

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