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I am...a New Yorker
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Wednesday, March 19, 2003
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The sidebar is inconsolable...and pissed off!

I am...not sure I will finish this entry, wake up, go to work, hold my brother, be kissed again, write again, walk the streets of New York or see the morning sun lend a pinkish glow to the skyline of my dreams.

Every morning I wake up, the shade is up just enough that I can see the city before I rise, and I say, "You're so beautiful, I love you."

I wonder how long I'll wake up surprised to be alive every morning, as I did throughout that fall.

: : :

Tonight, I went to a reading of Alice Walker's poetry, inspired by September 11th. She was introduced by Erica Jong. The poems were so beautiful and insightful, I was amazed by Walker's soothing and regal presence.

When Alice Walker said, upon being introduced, "Thank you Erica," I pretended she was referring to me and said to my coworker in the next seat, "You're welcome."

I thrilled to hear Walker say, "I've always loved Erica's work for its daring and freshness."

Even though I was not the Erica in question, it was about as cool as bell hooks telling me, "The world needs more courageous women," which was indeed about me.

Most of the poems were about healing and trusting that the good in the earth, others and ourselves would prevail. What a message to hear, just as the bombs began to drop. After a rally in support of the only congressional representative to oppose the war, Walker received an anonymous phone call. The man called her a "shitty bitch" and threatened, "I know where you live." She concluded the poem by saying he was too young to understand that

All of us share the same address
all of us live in the same house

Here are other lines which resonated with me, please forgive any misquotes from my hasty notes. Items in brackets are where I know damn well I didn't get the quote right:

Garden of Many Fruits
To my delight, I find myself in a garden of many fruits
Infinite is the garden of many fruits
I set out to savor every one
I am everywhere at home

[On Advertising]
[They] tuck away your nipples and suck off your hips
and make you smell
like no one that ever lived

I imagine Jane Goodall -- observing her cousins and wondering [why we care]
[more here, describing how Jane Goodall is just like her name and her hair, hips and clothes never change]
She wears no perfume but integrity

Dead Men Love War
They sit in boardrooms
dreaming of a profit
that outlives death

[For the Soldiers]
Thousands of feet below you
there is a small boy
running from your bombs

He lies steaming
in the desert
in 25, 500
or 100 oily bits

If he came to your mother's house
he would have been invited in

[If you make it home from the war]
gather yourselves
set a place for him

All above can be read correctly in Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth.

: : :

At the end, the other Erica presented questions by the audience. One was, how does Walker reconcile her roles as activist, feminist, author and poet?

"It is insperable," she said. "I don't really think of myself in compartments."

If this was to be my last night, in New York or on the Earth, so be it.

[Next entry: "Writing Poetry"]
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Replies: 1 Comment

http://www.upi.com/view.cfm?StoryID=20030321-023627-5923r

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,919642,00.html

Posted by michael @ 03/22/2003 02:47 PM EST

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