Saturday, September 11, 2004


Seems like the number eleven will always historically be shaped like the World Trade Towers on a perfect sea-blue atmospherical autumnal morn. The number eleven. The number my old girlfriend always inisted that we close our eyes and make a wish when 11:11 would flash across the numerical sockets of her digitalized clock.

"It's eleven-eleven, make a wish." She'd order, her eyes clasped as if she were about to blow out waxed candels atop childhood frosting.

Eleven-Eleven.The double blurred rendering of the singular first whole numerical measurement. Eleven, towered black stalks swiftly wounded, crumpling as if on invisible stilts, into the folded white oblivion of the page.

I remember (like most people) that I was both extremely anxious yet calm and extremely shocked and felt extremely helpless. I've heard that the body releases some sort of chemical toxin into the blood stream in moments of spontaneous terror that soothes the bristling, panicking nerves. A year before I was invovled in an horrific car wreck right after I broke up with my girlfriend Vanessa. I was heartbroken and every organ inside my flesh already felt limp and abandoned inside. It was a bad accident. I could have easily "sloughed the physical garment" so to speak. At the exact moment when the cement truck slammed into the drivers side of my Buick, an inexplicable collective 'calmness' saddled my entire nervous system. I can't explain it, but I remember surrendering to the vicissitudes of gravitity and physics. I had no control of my fate, no harness over my movements. My battered vehicle ploughed into the opposite lane oscillating out of control, like a demon possesed oujii board. The windshield disintegrated into thousands of glass molecules and I heard the voice of calmness (which wasn't the voice of God--I wish--but it was a lulling feint octave of my own voice) saying:

"This had to happen, David. All the craziness over the past three years. This just had to happen. There was no other way. Your are just arriving at the next port with an incendiary bang."

I body surfed my way across the confetti shards of dashboard shrapnel and found myself looking up into the furrowed brows of paremedics flanked by stuttering lights; the sounds of sirens painfully shrilling in my dented ear lobes.

When my father would pick me up from the hospital later that evening, Main street was closed and we took a detour home. Ironically the histroical ornate street we drove down was called High Street (even though it was a low day). It would be the same street where I would live and write in less than a year. We even passed a house where someone who I will one day call "Uncle Mike" was currently residing.

Of course we all remember where we were, what we were doing. It's like each of our lives were waiting for this detailed event to transpire so that in the future we could all somehow have at least one "connection"--one culturally spooled thread of universal commonality tautly connecting the kite strings of our collective pysches into one mystical bow.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was going through a sloppy divorce. Everytime after she and her soon to be ex-husband would painfully make love they would hold each other afterwards and play a game called "Where you were."

"Where were you when...." He would always say.

"We talked about where we were on certain momentous events in our life." She once told me. "We talked about what college class we were attending when Challenger exploded. What job we had when the Berlin wall came down. Even where we were when Cobain shot himself. Stuff like that," She said.

"It was almost as if the summation of our marriage had become nothing more or less than the history channel." My friend told me. "But what was weird was that, we actually felt closer to each other when we were talking about where we were during certain histroical events that often entailed extreme loss and pain then we did when we were actually making-love."

Same with this day three years ago. Everyone rememberes where they were: The televised-hearth never once marketed a commercialized blink, promulgating the now familiarized armageddon avalanche over and over again. Tom Brokaw stated from the outset that "A declaration of War" had been made. The day before, the media seemed obssesed to the point frivolity over close-ups of Chandra Levvy's bad perm. Now there was national penetration; there was domestic welts and interior bleeding. There was global insecurity and political ambiguity. There was a feeling of isolation. There were feelings of hatred.

I was teaching english at an alternative school. A student from Palestine named "Awad" was in my class and I remember hating him when he mockingly told the class that 'He' was behind the attacks. I wanted to choke him, to asphixiate his sockets in his skull.

---TC Irony....just now reflecting over my expired feeling of abhorrance for Awad, my Iranian (dissident) journalist friend Mohammed just walked up to me and offered me a cigarette. Ah...smoking, that's one way to proseltyze World Peace. Just ask my dear friend....... ---

Here's me favorite prayers for the victims of that moment...

" O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins, bestower of gifts, dispeller of afflictions!
Verily, I beseech thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.
O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount."


Last wed on Navy Pier my spiritual sister split open the palms of my hands like a phone book and told me not to move.

"You have to sit real still and try not to flinch." She said, somewhat excitedly. " I've been reading palms for a long time."

Arya scrutinized the calloused topography of my hands like she was intently focusing on a road atlas. I made lame jokes. She told me to shut up and to be still. She kept intently staring into the inside of my hands as if seeking for something lost. As if the plates on my palms were magnifying glasses and she was trying to see a date on an old stamp or antique coin. She kept squinting and bowing her chin. It felt like she was looking 'through' my fingers. Through my flesh. My hands began to feel seperate from my entire body. Crazy "Captian Universe" who flaps his fingers daily trying to sculpt sentences was now detached at the wrists. His hands, open and smooth and calloused, belonged to somebody else. They were stationed in front of her like an open hymnal.

My hands no longer belonged to me. My two opposite fingered tablets now belonged to someone who knew how to read and intuit the mystical alphabet scrolled within the lining of his own skin.

"Okay I can't see anything in this one." Arya said averting all her attention from my right opened palm to my left. "You're only the third person who's palm I have a hard time reading."

Arya gazed at my left palm. She squinted. "Four times." She said.


"You've had your heart broken four times."

Four times. Well, so far I can only think of two, two times when I've felt that I've really lost everything in my heart. Two times (Vanessa and Megan-the yin/yang of my tortuous heart) have I experienced the arteries and vectors of my heart gradually freeze up into stainglass before shattering, scraping the inside of my chest with pierced glass residue.


On this day three years ago I ran home from work, to my apartment, to a payphone where prostitutes would solicit clients. There was a gas station fraught with lined cars waiting to fill-up before the price of gas purportedly surged.

I saw her face in the numbers as I called long-distance, to her apartment. Her husband who didn't like me was in the same room.

I called Megan up and told her that, even though it was three years since the last time we saw each other and kissed, I called her up and told her that I loved her. Told her that I was sorry how I treated her--I asked for forgiveness and then I told her that I loved her again.

I'm so thankful at that moment that she was there, even if all I had was just her voice to hold me.

The most stirring, riveting image from that day was of a couple who held hands as they leapt from the side of their sabotaged hell. I wondered if, like arya, they looked deeply into the other's palms before they kicked off the ledge and dipped into the painful dregs of this world. I wonder what they saw when they looked into the fleshy latitudinal lines of each others hands. I wonder if they saw something other than death. If they saw an atlas--saw a place where they were going.

As I told Megan that I loved her again, told her simply not to talk, I thought, that, if I was in that office building coerced to leap, how much of a blessing it would be that I could have a palm, a perfect smooth palm to hold, to hold me as I fell. At that succinct moment, I was so thankful it was her hand that kept me afloat while the entire world suddenly all at once began to fall.

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