but did it?
did it really start with september 11?
it feels right to say it started then, it feels like what we all agree with. everything was moving along, and then september 11 happened. and then the world stopped and nothing was the same again.
but when i dig around under the grief, under the twisted memories and through the barricaded chest, i see other things. and i wonder, did it start there? or did it start some place else? some place less obvious?
like the time i lost my job? and went a year without work and couldn’t afford to clothe my children? or maybe it was the time my father told me i might have to quit school to work, the family was having a hard time staying afloat. my education would be the price paid for survival. or maybe it was the time i was sexually assaulted, and i found out that people were calling me a liar at work. i had no idea at that time that anybody even knew.
or maybe it was my first christmas after being kicked out by my parents, when i realized really and truly for the first time what it meant to be alone. or the first time i was called a slut while taking a walk, or the first time i couldn’t afford food or the first time i was assaulted at job that i couldn’t afford to quit. or maybe it’s the bigger picture. and it’s the first time a border was constructed or the first time a bullet penetrated that border or maybe it was when hitler was born or that time that some man whose name nobody knows shot some important person that nobody heard of and started the war to end all wars that hasnt ended yet.
or maybe it started with capitalism or mercantilism or the first time a priest called an indigenous person a savage. or maybe it started with the catholic church. or jesus. or the person who figured out how to mold steel into shackles that fit around even the slender arms of a small child not just her mother. or maybe it was the first time a man hit a woman.
does anybody know when this all started? when did that first domino get blasted away, starting the chain of explosions that have never stopped, like it was all meant to be? like there was just no other way for this story to be told?
does it really matter? if we figure out when all this started, will we be able to figure out how to end it? or is the desperate need to put a date on it all, to find a time when it wasn’t like this, more of a way to control the chaos? to make sense of the utterly incomprehensible?
how many religions, writers, artists, have tried to make sense of the incomprehensible? is there a reason we live through this? or are we all fodder for the war machine?
does it mean anything to be human?
i cling to the cold loneliness settled at the bottom of my stomach.
to feel, even something awful,
is to be alive.
i am alive
i am alive
i am alive…