A Yankee's Musing

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Living Each Moment

I though I knew
pine needles pierce
feet hardened by cement.

Which way now?
Lost hardens the soul.
Fuck it.

Rabbit punched sternum ache
a word misunderstood.

Curl inward for peace.
Embrace solitude.
Hunger for the moment.

Disturbing yet compelling
this life
I thought I knew.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ten Years Since 9-11

But it feels like yesterday. Just as vivid, wrenching, like razor blades running along my nerves.
I spent this day with my NYPD Auxiliary unit providing security for the Firemen's Memorial Celebration. Perhaps 10,000 firefighters there---and familities, and people. Among the FDNYC Firefighters, were Firefighters wearing patches from places like: South Africa, Australia, lots of cities and towns in California, several cities in Texas, Florida, Michigan, Canada, Massachusetts, and perhaps most of the states of this union. The ceremony at the monument was gut wrenching---the names read---Amazing Grace sung---tributes made---bagpipes played. This ceremony ended as everyone left for the mass not so far away. No news coverage---they were downtown--ground zero--with families and dignitaries protected by the NYPD. I have mixed feelings about this.

Ten years ago my unit worked long shifts and many days helping out--we covered our precinct while the regulars were downtown digging. We saw those on the edge of madness fall deep and perhaps never return---one was shooting at all uniforms because he thought we were at war and all uniforms were enemies. Another person leapt upon cars screaming to be taken by the aliens who were attacking us. Two young boys were playing chicken with the cars on Broadway---when we stopped them and held them, they collapsed into tears of anger and fear because their father and mother went to the Twin Towers to work that morning and had not returned---would they? Another woman knew better, her man would not return, and she leapt from her building and was skewed on the iron fence outside. The attack did not end with the towers, it continued in the minds and hearts throughout the city. And people who did not flee, became a small town of caring individuals who brought food to those in uniform, flooded the Red Cross bloodbanks, by the hundreds carried candles to the Firemen's Memorial and the local precincts and firehouses, hugging anyone in uniform they encountered.

Ten years ago feels like yesterday.

Thursday, September 08, 2011


First an earthquake, then a hurricane, and now a strike. Draining. and the tenth anniversary of 9/11 this Sunday. The emotions pile on. No landline working. Have you ever tried to correct that problem on line, or even by phone. There is a step-by-step menu that seems so legit; but in the end, you have to make an appointment for days ahead of time and be there for 12 hour time frame to wait for a technician to come, or not come. Now come on folks, all this without getting to speak to a human being---just you and the computer that has programmed questions and answers---any deviation, it does not compute. For example, both my landline phone and internet stopped working a couple days after Irene. Worked great during it. So---you can report the phone, or you can report the internet, but not both at the same time. Does that make sense?

I love teaching, but cannot teach right now due to strike--but I have to come into work because I am on an administrative line which means, no union to protect me. So I walk through the lines where my friends and colleagues are picketing, come into school and face irate students who have been told by the Administration to come to classes only to discover there are none. There's a real credibility issue on the line here. The tension is thick inside these walls. Someone from administration or non-teaching lines visits the beginning of each class--no professor shows, it is written down and given to Administration. I have met with each class to explain strike and give them my syllabus and contact information. I was harrassed by a golf coach, no less, who insisted I had to sign a paper that I held class. I refused since I did not hold class nor would I. Ever seen an English Professor and a golf coach get into an argument? I'm sure glad he didn't have his golf clubs with him. Some students saw it and in the end one said and the others agreed, "I've glad I don't have golf." Insanity inside here. Classrooms are empty for the most part. Students wander the halls confused and angry. Some students are organizing others to picket with faculty. I remind students to read critically the opposing sides websites and make up their own minds--their money and education are at stake here. Educate themselves about the issues involved. Some stare back at me blankly---most read between the lines and ask, "What are those website' addresses?" Maybe there is hope.