Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Explaining Silence

So, yesterday was September 11, and all I did was post a video, which I had hoped was representative of what I was trying to express. Unfortunately, it came out darker than I had planned. I shot this latest "New York Minute" from the Brooklyn Bridge on Friday morning as I rode to work. The full moon was setting, the sun was rising. I thought the one minute clip, void of words, would speak for the somber anniversary.

Today, you get some words.


Last November, I sold you a tie.
Actually, you won it from me on eBay.
We were in the same city so,
via e-mail, we agreed to meet.
At lunch, I took the subway
downtown, found the security desk,
they called you to the lobby, you handed
me an envelope with twenty-eight bucks.
I gave you a bag with a necktie,
an Armani with blue flowers.
It wasn’t really my style.

Today I thought about you,
New Year’s Eve, wondered,
found the old e-mail in AOL archives,
found your name, looked on
the list, searched for your company
on the net, got a hit –
an article about Avalon Partners
and its founder, Vincent Au.
Read all about how,
when he came into work
that day back in September,
you were there with some
other guy, Victor Wald,
both your names in black and white.

And how, when the airplane hit
twelve floors above Avalon Partners,
Mr. Au got out, and you did too,
made it down eighty-four floors
but your co-worker, Victor Wald
wasn’t so lucky. He was last seen
sitting helplessly in the stairway.
They buried him in November.

I called Avalon and a cheery receptionist
answered the phone. When I asked for you
there was a pause, a “Hold, please,”
and then, she came back on and said,
“He doesn’t work here anymore.”

I have your old address in Brooklyn.
Perhaps I will write to you,
send you this poem, ask you:
That day, that bright sunny day,
were you wearing that tie,
the one with blue flowers?
And if you were, will you ever
wear it again?

new york city, 12.31.01

[Copyright © 2002 William Dickenson Cohen. All rights reserved.]


Anonymous said...

That poem gives me chills. I remember when you wrote that...you sent it to me in California. It's both beautiful and haunting. I do hope you send it to Mr. Lam.

And by the way...I think the quiet of the video does capture the mood of the day.

bonnie said...

Oh jeeze. I think I need to go cry now.

Been wrestling with wanting to write about it, but not having time to think about what to write, and not wanting to write without thinking. I put some pictures up, and danced around it, but never really got to writing about the day itself.

The video actually sent chills down my spine - I recognized where you were, but there was this odd, disorienting sense of not being able to figure out which way you were facing.