"9/11" - 9/11/22

On the 21st anniversary of the most horrific day imaginable,
I remember every detail from that day like it was yesterday.
I remember being woken up by the impact, all the way up
at Astor Place - I thought it was an earthquake.

I remember Walter Parks buzzing my apt that morning in a panic
trying to explain what had happened over my intercom
me not understanding but nonetheless gathering myself in a hurry
meeting him in my lobby as he described what he had just seen,
way downtown. I remember walking with him from the Village

as quickly as we could all the way up to the '80's, as people
gathered around radios from bodegas and foodcarts
to learn more and share information as it came in,
since none of our phones worked. I remember trying to get out

of NYC because the ash in the air was so thick, I could feel myself
getting poisoned and becoming sick within hours...
but no trains were running. I remember eventually heading back
downtown where I was detained because I had no proof

of my address on me and only residents were allowed back down
so I went back up to my MPress office to print out letterhead
with my home address, just to be able to pass below 14th Street.
When I got home finally, I was sorry I'd gone back down

as the air was so thick and visibly toxic I knew I shouldn't be there.
I slept at home several days against my better judgement
and almost immediately developed a bronchial wheeze
that became bronchitis that became pneumonia.

Like the obsessive I am, and perhaps as a way to just "keep going",
in the wake of the tragedy I resumed work on my album
"Illusion's Carnival" on the Lower East Side as our entire NYC
community tried to wrap our heads around what had happened,

and to comfort and show appreciation for our first responders.
Passing two fire houses each day, I left flowers and spoke to NY's
bravest and thanked them continually, wishing I could do more.
A couple weeks into resuming my album, I had developed

such a cough that I was going to a clinic every day between sessions,
breathing in medicine that was supposed to help,
specifically, with the toxins in the air. Eventually I left NYC to
spend a week in CT with my parents, because I was getting worse

but I remember not wanting to leave, and feeling like somehow
I was abandoning a post by doing so. I remember the bars
all opening days after the tragedy, and people gathering
and sharing their stories - what they'd seen from their roofs,

from windows, what loved ones they'd lost,
and on and on. I remember, I remember, I remember.
I remember, I remember, I remember.
I remember, I remember, I remember.