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.