Then and Now

Pascal Campion’s “9/11: Then and Now.” In his cover for the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Pascal Campion depicts two people, likely too young to have experienced the day firsthand, sharing a moment of comfort and consolation on the rebuilt site of the World Trade Center. “Emotions can often be difficult to express in words,” Campion said. “But I’m a visual artist and, in my chosen medium, emotions can transcend words.” Behind the couple, the memorial reflecting pools, the footprints of the old Twin Towers; the wing-like silhouette of the Oculus, Santiago Calatrava’s gleaming shopping-mall-cum-transportation hub; and the illuminated office towers that make up the present-day skyline. Life has gone on. And yet, almost two decades later, the surroundings remain imbued with the memory of the events that took place on that day and by the absence of what was. (The New Yorker, September 13, 2021)

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


Notes: Illustration by Pascal Campion with Quiet World. Inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky, from “Notes from Underground” (1864): “I want peace. I’d sell the whole world for a kopeck this minute, just not to be bothered.”  (Source: )

She’s Gone (Again)

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Four days later, and the tops of both thighs still burn, sensitive to the touch. No, nothing to do with running, which is another sad story, left for another day.

I load my canons, yes one “n”, and fire.

  • The Tort: “You entered into a verbal contract. You said you would stay.”
  • The Economic: “Manhattan is nose bleed expensive. You’ll drain whatever savings you have.”
  • The Nostalgic: “I’m turning your room in an extension of my Den, and calling it my West Wing.”
  • The Desperate: “You know in Italy, kids live with their parents until well into their 30’s.”
  • The Fear Mongering: “I’m cutting you off Netflix, Amazon Prime and yes, AT&T Mobile Service.”

Nothing works. And we’re off.

The family caravan departs in the Resettlement. Eric (Son) drives the U-haul with two friends. Mom, Dad and Rachel are up ahead in a separate car.  Waze estimates 44 miles – a whopping 1 hour 42 minutes to lower Manhattan.

The rain falls gently, setting the appropriate back drop.

It’s a five-floor walk-up. I now know what a 5-floor walk-up means. No elevators and narrow stairwells. Walk-up means walk-up. With furniture, furnishings and oversize and overweight boxes, all up five floors – on foot. With adequate resistance provided by non-ventilated, A/C-free hallways. The musty carpet fibers are pulled deep into the lungs with each trip up and down the stairs. [Read more…]

Perspective of time and distance alter substance

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In the poems I have been thinking of and writing the last few years, I have grown aware that childhood is a subject somehow available to me all over again. The perspective of time and distance alter substance somewhat, and so it is possible to think freshly of things that were once familiar and ordinary, as if they had become strange again. I don’t know whether this is true of everybody’s experience, but at a certain point childhood seems mythical once more. It did to start with, and it does suddenly again.

~ Donald Justice, from an interview with The Missouri Review, quoted by Linda Pastan, “Yesterday’s Noise: The Poetry of Childhood Memory,” Writer (vol. 105, no. 10, 1992)


Credits: Art – Pascal Campion. Quote: Memory Landscape

 

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