January 13, 2002
I don't know what to say. I don't know what to say.
Except that this is the first page I've done post-9/11. And I wish that
weren't significant. Am I just dramatizing myself to believe that it's
significant? Do I really believe that this site is somehow temporal?
That it goes only forward? Of course I don't. How could I when I made
it so that it was a mass of tangents, so that all the links went backwards and
sideways, so that whim and illogic were its guiding principles. My
whims. My illogic. So that I was the only person who'd know what linked
to what. So that it made sense primarily - exclusively? - to me. So
that it was a game. My game, and primarily for my amusement, but also
for the amusement of anyone who happened by, who got trapped (like my
friend Kayte) and couldn't find their way out again, or their way back
to someplace logical, to an index. To all my incomplete indexes. Am I
not clever, Fabrice? Have I not a mind like a maze in an English garden?
Like the caverns at Tora Bora? Larger than expected, and far more
I don't know what to say. Hasn't everything been said already? I'm going
to tell you how it was for me. If you want to leave, then leave. I'm not
going to give you a link. I want to write this down. I walked home at
noon, I guess. From my office on 49th Street. Everyone was walking. I
had a head cold. I was going to quit smoking. Here's what I realized:
on historic occasions, people have headcolds. They are wearing scarves
around their necks to keep their throats warm. They are wearing jeans
to work on a Tuesday because at least they are going into the office and
that counts for something, doesn't it. On the walk home I bought a
strawberry Frozfruit. I said to myself remember everything. I remember
that Starbucks was closed, and two black women walking ahead of me. I
think they were talking. I remember their hips in front of me,
silhouetted against the gray pavement on First Avenue. I remember a car
turning right off of Park onto 56th Street. I think it was a white SUV.
Perhaps. Perhaps it was small and red. I remember it in two dimensions,
top to bottom. The turning car. The car beside it. The gray paved
divide. Black asphalt. The bark of a tree. Orange brick. Green leaves.
I remember that traffic on Park was heavy, on First it was nonexistent,
except for one bus, filled to capacity.
I remember the soundlessness, although there was noise. And I remember
now, in the present tense, why I did not write this down before. Not
because it is unspeakable, although it is unspeakable, but because I did
not want it to become a story. Because I did not want to relate vision
to language, the real to the abstract, because I did not want the abstract
to acheive even that victory, by which I mean that when I choose a word
the word seems more real to me than the memory, so that now the brick on
Park at 56th Street (was it even 56th? It was a side street on Park, going
The narrative required absent details; this is a story and a story must
have continuity) seems more orange to me than red, the tree which might
have been surrounded by hedge is hedgeless, there is no grass tufting up
around the inelegant feet of the tree, and even this I may be dreaming
now, filling in from other memories of other trees in other divides on
Park Avenue in the Fifties.
Here's what I want to say: So there's your fucking story. But why
should I say that? I wrote it down. I made you know. It wasn't anything
you knew already. It wasn't something you asked for. I didn't have any
responsibility to tell this. It wasn't important historically.
Or maybe what I'm doing is talking to myself. There's your fucking story.
What did you think? That you could use language as silica gel? Stick in
the memory and two days later it will be dry and perfect, flawless, lifeless,
But of course it can't be. Painless and identical. Flawless and lifeless.
The second day after, the wind changed, blowing the smoke north, uptown.
I left work early and walked east through the molecules of people's bodies.
In the air, the sun drew rectangles of dust and ashes, of concrete and
letterhead, tibias, fibulas, fax machines, eyelashes, of rugs and light
bulbs, microchips, mousepads, alveoli. It doesn't hurt me to talk about
this. By that time there was distance. Enough to have perspective, of
sorts. Occasionally. It was just that first day. I've never watched anybody
die before, except in movies. Not by the hundreds. Floor by floor.
Like dominoes. Like a house of cards on my grandmother's living room
carpet. No. Like a hundred story office building crashing down onto
itself. This is the force of gravity. This is the power of hatred.
If you want to go back into the otherworld, I don't blame you. Here's
Some things will never wash