Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The day after the world changed

It is eerily quiet here in harlem. There are no cars on the streets. There are few ambulances. All of the bridges and tunnels have been closed. I went for a rollerblade in the park. It is sunny and mild. The sky is a clear blue. There is a feeling of great sadness everywhere. We still can see the smoke in the distance. Everybody will know someone who is dead. There is nothing to do but wait.

There was a dance festival this week at the Twin Towers base. In Ten days they were presenting ten world class dance companies. All for free. I had gone there several times already. After one concert I had a drink with a friend at the top. Afterwards we wandered around the plaza. The weather had been hot and crisp, perfect summer days. After the Ballet Trocadero I had sushi with friends there along the hudson. We looked out at the yachts and into the lives of the very rich.

Having worked at the World Trade Center many times I had never liked it. I used to call them the twin towers of world hatred and greed. But, the more I traveled the more I realized how special they were. Venice has it’s Riva degli Schiavoni. Paris it's Eiffel tower. Rome has Constantine's Arch . Here in New York we had these magnificent skyscrapers. The will it must have took to build something like that. All last week I was telling my friends. "You have to go there. This dance festival is really something special and the location is unbelievable. You turn your head up and you can barely see the top." The day before yesterday the weather turned stormy. That evenings show was canceled. I went down anyways. I don’t know why. I rode the A train downtown and stood there at the base. I looked up at them in the rain and thunder. Then I went home.

I used to be a food worker there years ago. We had to be there at seven thirty in the morning. The kitchen staff had to be there at six. Most of us were actors, dancers, musicians, painters, you know, the type of people who never have a serious job. People who didn't really fit in anywhere. Besides us, most of the people there that early in the morning were black and latino, maintenance workers, cleaning people and the like. In fact the whole building was filled with shitty jobs. And thusly filled with so-called "minorities" to do them. I know people who work there. Nobody close, but I can see their faces. They are people who were just trying to make enough money to live.

Just last year I was working at 1 WTC on the 89th floor. I quit that job because the boss was an asshole. He never showed up until ten. The rest of them, they had to be in by nine, they are most likely dead. They tell us not to be afraid. But we are afraid. They tell us not to be angry. But we are angry. They tell us that life must go on as if everything were normal. But it is not normal. Nothing is normal. The towers are gone. A great shadow remains. They have won something. The question is, what?