The tenth anniversary of September 11 is not funny.
There is no kind of snarky remark I could make about this that would be worth making. It is a shattering memory.
At the time that it happened, I didn't have cable. It was only years later that I saw the video images. I did, however, hear the voices of people in the street, played unedited on KPFA. It filled me with grief. And, in that, moment, I felt connected with every human being who has ever witnessed the thoughtless terrorism of war.
The event fit neatly into an impression on my soul already left by something I had seen when I was nine or ten, peering undetected into a room where adults watched television; a documentary on Hiroshima, an animation, wherein a child was left clutching a mother's hand, off of which skin fell like a cast off shell, a baby bathing who was suddenly and instantly distorted into a grotesque creature with its eyeball falling out of its socket. Melting. People. Melting. The animation began with an image of children pointing at an airplane overhead, the way children do.
For years, every airplane overhead called to mind the thought of nuclear annihilation. I was confronted viscerally by a horror and evil I had never been able to fully imagine before.
And, on September 11, 2001, I was again in the presence of horror and evil. It occurred to me then, with a deep sadness, that this kind of horror unites anyone in the world struck by the misfortune to live through its occurring.
It makes me deeply, deeply sad about being human, and at the same time, moved by my own experience of compassion.
What else can you say? What else is there to say?
Here is poem by my mother, the inimitable Bronwyn "B" Gordon:
So sure of the necessity,
The people who order these deaths;
All the horrified Japanese women,
All the terrified Vietnamese children,
Running and burning, burning and dissolving
Into charcoal silhouettes, into ash...
And the people in the North Tower,
And the people in the South Tower,
Pragmatically and ideologically speaking --
In the righteous minds of the powerful,
All necessary deaths.