The day it happened, I was going to clean my kitchen. I wasn't working, and I was going to get up early and give my kitchen a good cleaning.
I woke up to hear my mother starting to get ready for work. I could tell it was going to be a beautiful day. It had been a good summer weather wise, not too hot. I was still in bed, planning on getting up at 6:30.
Then Chris Bruney came on. He was the morning news announcer on KPFA. He said that a plane crashed into one of the towers in New York City. At first I thought well, great. This is what happens when a traffic controller doesn't do his job. I hope they get everyone out okay.
It went back to music. I stretched out in bed. Then Larry Bensky came on. He said another plane just hit the second tower. I sat up in bed. Now I was feeling scared. "Mom?" I said. "Turn on the news. Something is going on in New York."
She turned it on and she said: "No, it's happening in Washington D.C. Something with the Pentegon." She switched the channel and then suddenly we realized what was going on.
I didn't want her going to work. If they were bombing New York San Francisco was next. My dad called, telling her Jean, don't go to work, don't go. They could do BART next, don't go to work.
Her boss called. The building was shut down for security measures. Stay at home and be with your family today.
We didn't know what to do. Then I knew. I had to give blood. I'll go to the blood bank and give blood. After I called a friend of mine who has in-laws in New York, we went to the blood bank.
The line was so long, so incredibly long. Young and old, they were all there.
That's when I started to cry.
And that's when we went to the movie theater to see if there was any comedies that were silly and wouldn't make sense. There was. Rat Race. Starring Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz, Cuba Gooding Junior, Dave Thomas, Rowan Atkinson, Kathy Najimy, and John Cleese. We sat down in the darkened theater and about ten people were there as well. We all laughed our asses off.
This is why I love Whoopi Goldberg and the rest of the cast of the movie. For two hours, I forgot everything but the smell of the popcorn and how silly the movie was.
I don't remember the rest of the day; I was sad. I knew we would come out of it, but how? When?
I still don't know.
And I still have to clean my kitchen.
Yesterday, I lay awake in the palm of the night.
A soft rain stole in, unhelped by any breeze,
And when I saw the silver glaze on the windows,
I started with A, with Ackerman, as it happened,
Then Baxter and Calabro,
Davis and Eberling, names falling into place
As droplets fell through the dark.
Names printed on the ceiling of the night.
Names slipping around a watery bend.
Twenty-six willows on the banks of a stream.
In the morning, I walked out barefoot
Among thousands of flowers
Heavy with dew like the eyes of tears,
And each had a name --
Fiori inscribed on a yellow petal
Then Gonzalez and Han, Ishikawa and Jenkins.
Names written in the air
And stitched into the cloth of the day.
A name under a photograph taped to a mailbox.
Monogram on a torn shirt,
I see you spelled out on storefront windows
And on the bright unfurled awnings of this city.
I say the syllables as I turn a corner --
Kelly and Lee,
Medina, Nardella, and O'Connor.
When I peer into the woods,
I see a thick tangle where letters are hidden
As in a puzzle concocted for children.
Parker and Quigley in the twigs of an ash,
Rizzo, Schubert, Torres, and Upton,
Secrets in the boughs of an ancient maple.
Names written in the pale sky.
Names rising in the updraft amid buildings.
Names silent in stone
Or cried out behind a door.
Names blown over the earth and out to sea.
In the evening -- weakening light, the last swallows.
A boy on a lake lifts his oars.
A woman by a window puts a match to a candle,
And the names are outlined on the rose clouds --
Vanacore and Wallace,
(let X stand, if it can, for the ones unfound)
Then Young and Ziminsky, the final jolt of Z.
Names etched on the head of a pin.
One name spanning a bridge, another undergoing a tunnel.
A blue name needled into the skin.
Names of citizens, workers, mothers and fathers,
The bright-eyed daughter, the quick son.
Alphabet of names in a green field.
Names in the small tracks of birds.
Names lifted from a hat
Or balanced on the tip of the tongue.
Names wheeled into the dim warehouse of memory.
So many names, there is barely room on the walls of the heart.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries