Still Life: 2001

Still Life: 2001

We wake in the late sleepless   flicker of early  morning   TV
early  in the   21st    Century of Our  Lord    and     just    then
something     the air: a  resonance,   wavering.          Between.
the first plane         folding itself into liquid   glass   and   then
the second     expanding     into      fire   and    disappearance
the sense of lost in space,   functioning     inside         dis
belief. Each of us spat from the circuitry—a bit like    falling
off the bus, but bruising in visible—switching channels and
robot waving those useless  clutching  pincers  wrapped  in
aluminium foil and calling danger, danger             and I don’t
remember thinking     Jesus we’re all fucked now,   but   just
nothing, the falling

resigned, desperate bodies, dropping        small        animated
dolls the choking skyline         the       camera     jerking    down
concrete. Strange quietus   in    the   blood those early weeks.
Hyper-awareness. Belonging.         like the world said:
to wake up, I got to set my skin on fire… and it did   and here
we are soaked in     jet-fuel             acting-out some Hollywood
teenage dream laughing and flicking matches from the box.

In   Leaves   of   Grass    Whitman writes        The United States
themselves   to  be  essentially  the  greatest  poem.  But  then
9/11 is described                   the         greatest       act       of       art
the    world    has     witnessed     —     a long way from Whitman
and not half as smart as it thinks it is and right now           truth
seems a world from either.

Instead we’re         homeless          in the gridlock of electro-
night;      poverty/Of autumnal space.     This,    at least   for us
is the mundane revolution,    the anorexic mystery of      800
000 channels. Of course for them it’s something else:    a loss
of limbs, thunder in the earth… Somehow we’ve all got

stuck         inside       the movie                 and we’re playing it out
again and again at 24 frames a second

and so you’re there in the cinema and                          just on the
credits               a black-toothed boy-child leans to the curving
shell of your ear whispers              To wake up, you need to set
your skin on fire
and so you do.

First Published in Heat 19.

 

 

twin towers

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