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Well, it's nearly here, with the corresponding blue skies and gorgeous afternoons. So much of our personal 9/11 experience took place on these boards, I thought it fitting to start a topic here.

I just pulled out this old piece of writing from the New York Observer for someone who wants to republish it, and thought it might be a way to start.

For that issue, which came out at Christmas 2001 they asked 50 New Yorkers to write a short essay about the day before the attacks. And this was mine:

September 10, 2001

We awoke to glitter on our pillows and other less symbolic traces of the opening weekend of our new East Village nightclub, Daddy. Since the previous Thursday, the Baudelairean "sounds and perfumes" had swirled around my husband Johnny Dynell and me for three nights: the race to finish construction yielding to well-wishers, lines down the block and late-night diva cameos. With our coffee, we caught up on email bouquets, including Romy's: "Thank you, Daddy. Just standing on the sidewalk felt like real New York again."

In our work, even the prosaic tasks have some glamour attached, I mused, while carrying a wilted pile of evening dresses and costumes to the dry cleaners: the bias-cut satin gowns and tuxedos that are staples of High Season, the rhinestone-adorned "DADDY" t-shirt Johnny wore for opening night photos, the Gilbert and Sullivan bustles from our show at the Last Wigstock a week earlier.

"Lots of parties," the dry cleaner commented. "Tomorrow okay for these?" "Wednesday even," I answered. "Lots more parties then."

I remember the music - a favorite Jackie 60 theme tape that perfectly matched our mood, "Pooped Out Party Girls." As Courtney Love, Nico and Garbage deadpanned, we caught up on booking acts for the club, marveling over the available routines of Brooklyn's Pontani Sisters; Godfather Chair Dance, Punk Can-Can, Ganges A Go-Go. An electronic harpist of indeterminate gender had sent a CD with a note: "I would love to perform...Regardless, my Mistress and I shall see you at the opening of Daddy."

Yes, night school was in session in New York, and the fashion shows as well. There seemed no human way past the marathon demands of the next seven days, beginning with Marc Jacobs' show and party that night. I climbed into bed, surrounded by the last surviving flowers from opening night.

When I awoke, Johnny had returned and the night had gone. "I wish you had come," he whispered. "It was on the same pier as Wigstock, but Robert Isabell had covered the whole thing in beautiful grass, with hedges and thousands of gardenias. Marc looked great, and everybody you like was there."

"There'll be another one tomorrow," I said through a yawn. "I'll see everyone then."
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burstdream, i
flying flames of
muscle, eyes borne from
one end of doorsky to
the rushes brother

a phonecall placed
from high edge of
his hip bone.balance
created by thrown
blood we share-universe
broken floor.wh e r e

a r e y o u i a m
a l r i g h t. no

thing happens for
mile inbetween
empty eyes and
blindtouch of
tongue.the new

tomorrow lays
burnt and fallen.come.

come for me then.collect
me as though you
were my father. i

rush to ground now no
name or address.why

did i look.simple and
human. for the risen
moan is now in me

saved.learn one
human invention, the


my faults if you are
now too sick inside,
the guilty and dead are
not available as
i.imagine the sound

of an earth with no
human on it at
all.let us

government with
its own street so
open conflict is
not a thing able to
be brought. in

which city do you
reside? romance?struggle?
arrogance? make-believe?

contradiction do you take
for your humanity, reason?
order?hope -condition
of empty hands.where

am i, to
my brother?his
voice downtown there
wrapped by storm of dust,blood
and bones.

hello?hello? its
about quarter to eleven sorry
i missed you
i'll try you at home

noble is man,merciful and kind?


Images (1)
  • wt_2
Last edited by seven
Worked a corporate gig at a major talent agency during this period while moonlighting the bars. My favorite client for whom we booked speaking engagements was The Honorable Ann Richards. She had no qualms about filling us in on the depths that W would sink to win. (He of all people brought public her ages-old bout with alcoholism during her schoolteaching years when he ran against and unseated her as Gov. of TX - so much for anonymity).

I was listening to the Rolling Stones' Some Girls CD on my commute to work that morning. The song playing in my ears after I got out of the subway and was walking into the midtown office building on 57th Street at 9:00am was "Shattered." Still jamming to that song on headphones, oblivious to anything else, I took the elevator up to the 18th floor, the song ended, and I saw the expressions awaiting me as I stepped off the elevator.


(M. Jagger/K. Richards)

Uh-huh, shattered

Shattered, shattered
Love and hope and sex and dreams
Are still surviving on the street
Look at me, I'm in tatters!
I'm a shattered

Friends are so alarming
My lover's never charming
Life's just a cocktail party on the street
Big Apple
People dressed in plastic bags
Directing traffic
Some kind of fashion

Laughter, joy, and loneliness and sex and sex and sex and sex
Look at me, I'm in tatters
I'm a shattered

All this chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter 'bout
Shmatta, shmatta, shmatta -- I can't give it away on 7th Avenue
This town's been wearing tatters (shattered, shattered)
Work and work for love and sex
Ain't you hungry for success, success, success, success
Does it matter? (Shattered) Does it matter?
I'm shattered.

Ahhh, look at me, I'm a shattered
I'm a shattered
Look at me- I'm a shattered, yeah

Pride and joy and greed and sex
That's what makes our town the best
Pride and joy and dirty dreams and still surviving on the street
And look at me, I'm in tatters, yeah
I've been battered, what does it matter
Does it matter, uh-huh
Does it matter, uh-huh, I'm a shattered

Don't you know the crime rate is going up, up, up, up, up
To live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough, tough!
You got rats on the west side
Bed bugs uptown
What a mess this town's in tatters I've been shattered
My brain's been battered, splattered all over Manhattan

Uh-huh, this town's full of money grabbers
Go ahead, bite the Big Apple, don't mind the maggots, huh
Shadoobie, my brain's been battered
My friends they come around they
Flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter, flatter
Pile it up, pile it high on the platter
Last edited by mr.joe
Letter emailed on The Day:

Like alot of folk, I imagined I could walk downtown and have a look.

I got over to the river, joined the crowd standing still and silent, staring at the
thick single plume of black smoke.
I started walking downtown with others. We were stopped at Houston Street. People were trying to force their ways through the police barricade:

"I live down there!"

"My husband's waiting for me!"

"My dogs!"

Cops were fighting to keep people from crossing Houston... One cop screamed,
"Why don't you all just go the fuck home while you still have homes to go to!"

We were morbidly attracted, needing to go see and know with our own eyes, what's right here in our own backyard.

They have evacuated every building in midtown.
If only I could go tomorrow and do a normal day of work and get 'distracted.' But in this context, what is normal
about Penthouse magazine anyhow?

It is very, very peculiar not to be
able to ignore the bad news on the news.

When I first moved here I dreamed constantly of bombs hitting New York. I grew up in the 50s, every night listening for air-raid sirens, and in time packing a suitcase
full of my favorite toys, in order to efficiently
run to the bomb shelter with them.

So it did not seem so unusual, to my subconscious, under that repertoire to clean out
my bank account by 10:00 AM and make a dash
to Whole Foods for $300. worth of groceries... because they did close the store by 11 AM while I was checking out. I exited to a frantic crowd trying to get in...

And all access into the city is cut off. No bridges or tunnels are open.
We are indeed an island.

It is eerily quiet and calm in my neighbourhood, which
makes the thick plume rising from downtown
all the more nightmarish. Those are bodies burning down there.
Who can conceive of it.
And an enemy still nowhere in sight?

Diary September 12th, 2001 --

I fell asleep last night in a dead exhaustion
at around 9 PM on the floor in front of the television.

It is turning into alot of work to watch television, but *must get* all the details...

Woke up an hour later to yet more repeat images of the plane striking Tower 2,
the plane at a million miles an hour
screaming into the building. From this angle, that angle, no, here's still the better angle.

Though I felt like I was a thousand
years old, I made it to bed and passed out again.

When I woke up it was still dark and for a moment I forgot. I felt good, and well-rested.
Then I remembered.

When I realized it was 3 AM I knew I was in for a terrible time. The hours before dawn are anyhow the most anxious and nerve-wringing.
But there I was with my perfect 6 hours sleep, fully conscious. With a brain steeped in anxiety at its worst:
intellectual, psychic and physical anxiety all at once.

The sense of those structures
destroyed so nearby... I could feel the
gashing in my own body, I writhed at the absolute castrating.

After lying awhile vainly hoping to go off and sleep it through, I got up and started cleaning.

The television was still on. How had I forgotten to turn it off. Everything on television
is a part of me now, is why...

I vacuumed, I washed clothes, I scrubbed the bathroom, hearing the TV
describe how -- as the fires burned though the centres, at temperatures
twice as hot as that required to melt steel, the top tens of stories
came crashing down on the lower halves, thrusting the Towers into the ground.

Folks imagined the Towers would tip over, but no, they were designed to plunge straight down into ... granite?
The physics were inconceivable.

I realized I was bent over as if a weight was holding down my neck. I straightened up. I was myself embodying the feeling of tons of concrete and steel falling down... on a body.

This crashing crushing down caused a minor earthquake, a blip on the Richter scale at 2.4.
Apparently one reason I had yesterday
wandered in a trance state.
With a sense of strange calm
and purpose, travelling over half of downtown Manhattan, in crowds as equally
silent and calm. With no apparent concern for the state of my semi-crippled feet. I'd absorbed some of the crazy electromagnetic wavelengths
from the tremouring epicenter itself.

The heat was so intense from the burning that another building next to
the Towers crashed to the ground.
Two more buildings were so damaged they
were certain to fall. The violent heat had melted to spaghetti their steel internal structures, so they wavered in place... Huge structures cutting into the earth, straight down like knives into butter.

How could the authorities imagine they could dig out these pancaked hunks of concrete and steel, of wallboard, furniture,
papers and equipment, all of it burning not only above, but below ground: layered
with sizzling blood and flesh of human beings?

Tormented by the visceral image of this crushing, I waited for no-one to come out of it but an enemy. Many could not, clung to the dream of rescue, of their beloved ones still alive and waiting in the mille-feuille.

I lost no-one in the catastrophe. I don't even know anyone who knows someone who's lost someone.

Except my butcher. Whom I was standing in front of yesterday in Whole Foods, when a woman rushed up to us and told us "World Trade has collapsed."
I just thought she was crazy.

I watched my butcher wrap my meat, weigh it, then unwrap it, weigh it again, and wrap it, and unwrap it, and weigh it, and
finally gave it to me with the wrong price.

"My niece is in the World Trade," he whispered. I could not interrupt this thought.

As sophisticated as the building of these structures had been,
my television told of how there was just an old-fashioned shovel and bucket brigade taking it away.

By the end of the first 48 hours, this tireless
bunch of buckets removed 6,000 tons of ash and debris.

I had to stop cleaning my tiny pile of dust, start to dress,
get to the office as early as possible. Get my morbid fixations diluted by more
'realistic' obsessions.

Dawn came up on the new and wretched day.
Was there going to be another attack?
Were they setting us up for a bomb?
What had really exploded in the planes?
What if a malignant bacteria had been unleashed?

I ate some of the masses of food I had purchased the day before.
My hunger seemed wrong.

I went out into the day and felt sick to see the sun.
No the sun didn't care if thousands of people were dead.
The earth beneath the Twin Towers pierced, violated and defiled.
But Nature is resistant and indifferent... Though perhaps peeved now.

I saw people with the New York Times, with the full-color dramatic explosion cover. I remembered on my television
it had said no New York Timeses could get trucked into the city; The Times is made in New Jersey and had to be boated over today.
I asked someone where he had gotten his.
"Inside Penn Station."

By the time I walked the five blocks to the Station I was tired and nervous and hot.
I followed two women in long green scrubs, rubber caps on their heads,
sheened grey with dust... to the escalator and down into the Station.

The crowds parted to give these women way.
The holy dust of the wreck upon them,
they were saluted by a hirsute black man in Army fatigues.

Between these two - the medical personnel and the soldier - the war had begun in miniature.
Between their upright forms writhed the nonentity crowd, en route to profane purpose.

The women's name tags were askew, they were obviously exhausted.
But not tired out like me, rent by the neurotic fantasy of what a personal annihilation meant.

They had seen actual dying people, real dead people, had saved and lost them to the very extremity of their ability.
I was but exercising, however fully, a heated intellectual fantasy.

(to be continued)
Last edited by S'tan
I loved that S'tan... thanks for sharing

I think one of the most upsetting sight were the hours after 9/11 - First the panic that there was more to come, then the sheer chaos of the people rushing around to hospitals, posting flying looking for loved ones they truly believed had made it to hospitals. Tragic. The way Union Sq was transformed with endless candles, posters, flyers and friends and family searching for loved ones.

Then there was that acrid smell and dust- I remember walking around with a scarf around my face. And for us folks below 14th that total lock down, shops without food deliverys, empty car less avenues and seemingly endless smoke from the WTC site.

Hatches I think was the closest to the site?
The phone rang early that morning , My Daddy calling to tell me to turn on the TV. I saw the
first plane sticking out of Tower 1..I dressed and ran out of the house to the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Greenwich Ave and stood in still silence in the middle of the street with a million others watching as the second plane hit Tower 2..I ran home and got my little orange girls bicycle and peddled feverishly towards the towers. I made it all the way to White Street. Stopped by police barracades I stood looking up helplessly with a young cop and a dozen other folks until the towers started to collapse. I hoped on the bike and never looked back until I reached Houston Street. I know I was in shock.
I went back to my apartment in the village and turned on the TV and stayed there until later that night when Jamie and I went to the foot of Christopher Street to cheer the firemen as they went by. Last night watching it all over again on TV I can still remember those feelings. I think I never really got over it because I feel nervous and shaky this morning.
Hope you all are alive and well this morning, that's all I have to say. I wrote a few haikus about 9/11 in my journal, and a long rant about Bush and the war on terror and the fact that Bush was starting to regret the war in Iraq. I read it when I "finished" it and thought --Damn that's harsh--and I wish that we all could stop mourning and start living life again. For some of us it's easier sad than done. It still pisses me off, what happened that day, and what happened since then. And you know what I did five years ago the day after 9/11? I hung out with some drag queens! and I thought, damn, what a way to celebrate the fact that we all should help each other, or as Bono sang-"carry each other" and try to survive this, as Miss Gloria Gaynor would say "I WILL SURVIVE"--can I get and A-MEN up in here?
I began my annual remembrance tonight, watching the incredible docko "The Falling Man" - was finally on the Discovery Times channel. IMHO the best film piece yet on 9/11 - NOT for the faint of heart, as it focuses on those who jumped, including the famous - and quickly supressed - photo of the man falling to his death.

In the morning Nova and I will go around the corner to leave flowers at the firehouse on East 13 Street. Those 12 plaques on the building are as close to Ground Zero as I need to get, a reminder every single day of what courage those men had.

Then, in the afternoon Ill be shipping out box after box of feathered headdresses and beaded costumes to San Francisco for our show there. Throwing a handful of sequins and glitter at the day - seems like the right way to spend it this year.
This morning I woke up late for work and rushed to get ready, forgetting that today was 9/11. Looking in the bottom drawer for a note pad that I wanted to use at the office, I pulled out Time magazine 9/11/06 with the cover shot of the towers collapsing and thought how odd to pull this out of nowhere and on the anniversary of that dreadful day. I still think of all those beautiful and brave firemen who died and it brings tears to my eyes even now.
Walking home from a big poetry night at St. Marks Church, the tribute in light was on, and I thought once again of that morning now eight years ago. This year in remembrance, I have featured the topic from that morning and the days that followed - it will stay on top of this forum till the weekend, then go back to its permanent home in Best of the Motherboards.
Last edited by Chi Chi
Last night as I have done for the past eight years I left two dozen roses and a note under the memorial plaques naming the six lost firefighters on the front of the firehouse at the end of the block. The roses were there with several other offerings. This year, the firefighters took the roses and the note inside.
There is a zone in me still lingering ungrounded, after years we still do not know where this will have us collectively end up.
Last edited by seven
Been away from the boards for quite awhile but never stopped missing many here. anyway...

It has always bothered me that wars always start within a small community of fanatics & blows up into killing innocent people with NO affiliation to ideas of said fanatics. Be them church or state sponsered ect.

what ends up happening everytime ... the waring parties get tired of the bloodshed & make up again without concern of all the missing fathers/children/ families, hopes & dreams lost.

yes ... vietnam was my 1st exposure & now we're on friendly terms with them again. OMG ! & I can only thank my mother for stopping me to join the marines against my fathers wishes of glory & duty i grew up with. I would also of course not be here with my friends on the motherboards had i listened to my father.

That's how i remember 9/11

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