9.11.11

september 11th.

mention that date and i flash immediately to where i was when i first got the news. i now live on the other side of the world, but i will never forget the day.

10 yrs ago, september 11, 2001, my husband and i were still asleep in topanga, california when we were woken by a distraught voice through the answering machine, telling us to turn on the tv. still half-dazed, we pointed the remote and the next moment the room was flooded with the most horrifying images. i know here in south africa, people cheered at the sight. i don’t understand that. my immediate thought was for my husband’s family in new york and then the sheer horror of all those people trapped in those buildings. it was horrendous and i don’t think the world will ever be the same.

i was never eager to gain an american passport, but after that day in 2001, i became an american citizen. partially so that i could have a say in who next occupied the white house (even though my first american vote was an exercise in futility), but i identified with all those incredible americans who are not yahoos, who are against any kind of war, who, when you meet them, will embrace you with wide open kindness, generosity and spirit. even though i’m born african and that will never change, i’m glad and proud to be one of those americans and whether i get to live on american soil again or not, i will always be glad of the welcome and opportunities i received and still do, everytime i return, and i will always miss the love and friendship i was given so unreservedly by those americans so generally and stereotypically, reviled by many around the world. i’m glad i know otherwise.

and i’ll say it again. i’m proud to be one of those americans.

(this is a poem i wrote at the time)

fragments 911/9.11 


tomorrow is late
for the clocks were stopped today
time evaporating in a fiery ball
and with it all we know
of how a life is lived
a ghostly gray oblivion holds sway
so many vivid lights

flickering
…off

today fear took flight on grim wings
a grisly nightmare from which we

shaken,

cannot wake

the mind rebels
my mind repels reality as if any moment now
i’ll see the credits roll
relieved i’ll find that this is just
the spill of celluloid unspooling
a blockbuster

the world is rapidly unhinging
our souls are singed –

indigo tinged with rue
People horrified by the attacks on the World Trade Center
frozen faces mirror my feelings
the gashes of tear-stained stricken eyes
horrified hands aghast clasped
over silently screaming mouths

“this is the way the world ends
this is the way the world endshttps://i0.wp.com/www.julyseventh.co.uk/images/jamesmayesmissing-510pix-w-2007-06-28-1422.jpg
this is the way the world ends…”

tomorrow is late
and despite our hopeful waiting
for some
today will never come

we are standing in the shadow of dark wings
we need to send out the light
we need to bend back the black
we have been to the depths

now let us ascend

(this is mostly a repost of something i wrote a few yrs ago, still relevent … )

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namaste

when i left town last friday, the world was caught up in the throes of a fairytale wedding. when i came back on monday, everyone was talking about the death and funeral of a man hated by many. there has been much rejoicing at the death of bin laden and much controversy at the rejoicing. i remember being woken up in los angeles by a phone call to turn on the tv on september 11, 2001. minutes later we watched as the towers collapsed on the other side of the country and i remember the tears i shed at the horror of so many deaths. my ex-husband is from new york and i remember our fears for friends and family.

and yet, whatever the world may think of him, though he was abhorred by many, i cannot rejoice at another death.

this is a poem i wrote at the time:

fragments   911/9.11                   9.15.01

                

tomorrow is late

for the clocks were stopped today,

time evaporating in a fiery ball

and with it, all we know

of how a life is lived.

a ghostly,  gray oblivion holds sway;

so many vivid lights  flickering

…..off.

today fear took flight on grim wings,

a grisly nightmare from which we shaken, cannot wake.

the mind rebels.

my mind repels reality as if any moment now

i’ll see the credits roll.

i’ll find that this is just

the  spill of celluloid unspooling-

a blockbuster.

the world is rapidly unhinging.

our souls are singed –

indigo, tinged with rue…

my feelings are mirrored in the frozen faces,

the gashes of tear-stained, stricken eyes,

horrified hands, aghast, clasped

over silently screaming mouths:

“this is the way the world ends

this is the way the world ends

this is the way the world ends…”

tomorrow is late

and despite our hopeful waiting

for some,

today will never come.

we are standing in the shadow of dark wings,

extended.

we need to send out the light,

we need to bend back the black.

we have plumetted

and plumbed the depths –

now let us ascend.

and today i would like to extend this wish i wrote for someone dear to me, to you reading this. have a good life. to quote gold fish, get busy living.

have a fabulous odyssey with  marvellous adventures.
be safe and successful in your endeavours.
laugh long and loud with enough tears only to bloom the bulbs of joy.
walk in the world with honor and respect for yourself and others.
have compassion as well as passion.
be truth.
magnify and be magnified – be magnificence personified.

i honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells.
i honor the place in you, which is of light and peace.
when you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.

namaste