my book of poetry about September 11th, 2001...and after Available NOW at -click here

Friday, August 6, 2010

What Work Is: My Brother-in-Law's Kitchen

So for a couple of days this past week I got out my old tools and literally knocked the rust off of them and did some repair work on a stoop I built for my sister and brother-in-law at their house upstate. It has been a long time, 1992 I think is when I built the thing, making all the concrete pavers myself in the basement of a house we rented on Staten Island. Not all of my masonry work comes with a lifetime maintenance contract, but if you ever tasted my brother-in-laws cooking, you would not be surprised that I make a trip up there now and again to taste what his grill produces in exchange for some deck painting or power-washing.

This morning there is not a part of my old body that does not hurt. Getting old sucks. Moving on can be very painful. This brings me to the real subject of this missive: Moving on after 9/11. For some of us the events of that day will be forever and indelibly imprinted on our souls, the pain and the nightmare with us in a very palpable way every waking and many sleeping moments for the rest of our lives. The world moves forward and there is going to be an Islamic Cultural Center built on a block where citizens once had to run for their lives from a massive dust and debris cloud caused by the collapse of two of the worlds tallest buildings. Many died, many more have been poisoned afterward by toxic air. The wound is still fresh and slow to heal. So the out-cry against the mosque is understandable. We cannot force healing on a wound in a humane way. It is a slow process aided by compassion, understanding and most of all, faith. Even Atheist's have faith. After all is said and done I will be proud to say I am an American, and a New Yorker and tolerant of the building and the people who want to see it built. I see their point. They are as American as you and me. They feel the same hurt as I about the events of 9/11 and have had to live with a bigoted stigma ever since. Efforts to establish identity and change hateful perceptions is a lofty and worthy goal. It will be a long hard battle before their dream can be realized, much rhetoric will issue forth re-opening old wounds. I have ultimate empathy for those who want to build and create, and I only have my faith that those who propose to move forward into this forever hallowed ground will understand the resistance from the many who suffered at the hands of a few.

May Love and Peace guide us.