Friday, September 11, 2009

Cockles & Mussels

The song I awoke with this morning is an old one,
it is called Molly Malone and goes like this;
In Dublin's Fair City"
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, Cockles and mussels,
alive, alive, oh! ...

The words are a puzzle,
Who is it that is alive?
Is it the street vendor calling her wares,
or, her wares themselves?
The former reading is more poignant
but the latter more realistic
and perhaps of greater interest to the consuming public.
9/11 answered the above persistent question for me with a certain amount of finality. Who is that is alive?
The answer, at least that day, was loud and clear; 'me'.

We, as human beings are always engaged in an struggle between poignancy and
realism. Ourselves and what we are selling, hope and despair.
The vineyard is a microcosm of this struggle, at least
for me. This year it is realism, next year it is hope.

I watch the 9/11 memorial on TV each year. I don't know why.
I usually hate these type of things. To me they are usually creepy
and calculated attempts to force me to abandon my natural cynicism.
People talking to dead people you know,
pictures of people who I didn't know and
who I am supposed to care about,
PDEs-public displays of emotion,
a willful confusion of the personal and the public,
commemorators inserting their personal messages,
peripheral plugs for their organizations
--memorials inevitably degenerate into the kind of self serving spectacle
that I find abhorrent.

Not the 9/11 memorial.
Not for me.
I watch and listen and
don't know why.

Something is different.
The cops in NYC never look straight ahead.
They are usually looking to the side, eyes averted
or searching for something or somehow aloof, detached.
The cop in back of the speaking stand on the podium
for the memorial, his gaze is straight ahead,
attentive unwavering, present,
this can only mean one thing, somebody is either dead or,
accused of something/ in Dublin's fair city

Yes, and I saw the towers burning with my own eyes,
at least the smoke rising from that fire from the collapse,
the collapse of both hope and despair.
I cried at the display of flowers and wreaths
at the fire company on eighth avenue as I walked
to work in the days following/ Through streets broad and narrow.

The truth is, I did know one of those killed on that day at the trade center,
Nina Bell,--she had been working at TIAA-CREF and
transferred down there just a couple of weeks before.
Chance or destiny. I don't know.
I didn't know her well, but I was at CREF at the time too
and I knew her face.
Maybe that is enough/ Crying 'Cockles and Mussels'.

The vineyard is a mess this year.
I didn't get enough sprays in,
the downy mildew is stripping the green leaves from the vines with
a thorough avarice,
too many trade shows,
too much emphasis on the end product, the market,
not enough on me and my dreams, and new life,
--well, there is always next year, or years,
there'll be time to correct this,
I think, / alive, alive -oh.

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