Monday, September 11, 2006

A screaming comes across the sky

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just dreaming, a recurring nightmare with planes flying into buildings, people jumping hand in hand to certain death, the WTC erased from a skyline that had become as much a part of my consciousness as Mr. Peanut or Tony the Tiger. Like a Ketamine trip where mental constructs swirl around the rim of a black hole's event horizon, skating precariously between obliteration and infinity, sucked in and shot into another dimension as streaming sub-atomic confetti. Denial still simmering beneath the surface, distrorting the placid face of what was and is, them there that what, a tick from the bottom that didn't just destroy two towers but threw a nation into utter chaos.

Then I realize that if it was all just a dream, my two youngest kids would also be chimera and who the hell else would have made this mess in my house?

All us kids and our house a mess. Bloated corpses of poor people drifting along in fetid water, the Constitution in shreds, chickenshit pettiness pitching us against ourselves. Our house at war with each other and against another house.

Instead of just going after a few bullies we decided to kick in the doors of some house somewhere down the road, tear up shit and kill people. Didn't matter that not only were the bullies never there but were never even welcomed there. But well, the people in that house were brown-skinned like the bullies and they spoke the same gibberish and even believed in the same goofy God. So they were asking for it, we reasoned.

Later, standing amidst splintered furniture and shattered walls, bloodied clubs in hands, we strutted around the damage rationalizing, boasting, blathering, brushing away canardy and craven justification with lies, hubris, and the belief that if we fuck something up really bad that the bullies will leave us alone. Done this, set fire to the lawn and punched out the windows, we never figured the neighbors might, you know, disapprove or anything about us destroying a house on their block just because we thought it would make us feel big and bad.

My "Chickens have come to roost," comment almost led to blows with a neighbor pissed that I'd dare to say that then, there, as if I'd the temerity to remind someone what an essential asshole the gussyed-up stiff was decaying in the coffin. Fortunately, no punches were thrown because history was on my side, oppression and a habit for over-looking a lack of democracy for the sake of oil, evident to even the most unctuous Republicans amongst us. At some point facts overcome the spin and the asshat has to lay back, defeated, imploded, admitting that yes, you have me there.

Hopefully you'll see that these mixes have me there, questioning and angry at the lack of answers. This is the first time I haven't given a play-by-play on the cuts I chose. You'll notice the mixes are scattered, emotionally and thematically. Several cuts are just what I was listening to that day. There were times during that day (and the following weeks) that I had to turn off the chatter on the news and play some music.

Working backasswards, opposite of the way the disks are meant to be played. Just because this is an anniversary of the topsy-turvy; so many lives changed forever, so many lives lost then and since then, so much mindless destruction that day and continuing to this day (and unfortunately, beyond), as I've diagnosed - national PTSD. So scattered we are, aren't we?

Disk 3 - "9/11/06"

Constructed from parts of greater mixes, this disk describes how confused and conflicted I still am, five years later. There's some part of me that still wants to see pictures of Osama bin Laden, his sorry carcass stripped and strapped to a board, jumper cables clamped on his nuts, attached to a truck battery. That so many have been stripped and strapped to a board, with God on our side, troubles me greatly. This disk is all over the place, a jumble.

Still confused but certain the crew in charge five years ago has done nothing but stumble around on fuckups like ice cubes spilled on a parquet floor (BTW - where's Osama, George?).

There's optimism and anxiety on the disk, hippie-esque blissful wishing and barely controlled rage, talking bout' the barely believable and the banal

  1. Dandy Warhols - Pills
  2. AC/DC - Who Made Who?
  3. ELO - Mr. Blue Sky
  4. Lee Dorsey - Working in a Coalmine
  5. Da Pack - Vans
  6. Steely Dan - Bodhisattva
  7. Elvis Costello - (What's so Funny Bout')Peace, Love, & Understanding
  8. Ziggy Marley - Brothers & Sisters
  9. Bob Marley - Three Little Birds
  10. Smash Mouth - Why Can't We Be Friends?
  11. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
  12. The Vandals - Urban Struggle
  13. Dead Kennedys - Police Truck
  14. Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues
  15. John Prine - Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore
  16. Mouse on Mars - Yippie
  17. Gorillaz - Feel Good, Inc.
  18. Otis Redding - Coffee & Cigarettes
  19. Les McCann & Eddie Harris - Compared to What?
  20. Grieg - Morning


Disk 2 - "9/11/01: PM"

Points to those who know the role of Nimrod (cuz God knows, people come here to collect points); I saw it coming, frankly, clear as a gigantic slab of Prime Rib rolling down Boulder Street, war, Afghanistan first but we'd be in Iraq very soon, Junior was itching for revenge. And good golly gosh, we find out a few days ago that Saddam had zilch to do with 9/11, Osama, or much else aside from his plan to make nuclear weapons out of a few sticks, mud, and aluminum tubes suited to making righteous bongs. As soon as they jailed Tommy Chong, Saddam had to be next.

Autumn was creeping up on us, what was nine-thirty a month ago was seven-thirty then, night in the wings ready to leap out and say, "Hah, it only gets darker." There we were, standing together as Americans, drinking beer and smoking dope, wondering what our country would do, wondering how, as country, we'd respond to the attack we'd just experienced. As I said, my impolitic comment almost caused a fist fight but only because I spelled out all the facts so logically, so tight, so succintly.

The idiot in charge swore that day would bring us together and it did, for a few days. My PM is a hangover from the AM, the reason 2004 was a WTF moment, why we put this shithead back in office. Even my most Republican friends admit "If I'd thought this dumbacc would be back in office, I'd have never pulled the lever."

If you pulled the lever, you get what you got.

  1. Dixie Chicks - Sin Wagon
  2. Pixies - Nimrod's Son
  3. XTC - No Thugs in Our House
  4. The Beatles - Cry Baby Cry
  5. Alicia Keyes - Fallin'
  6. Tanita Tikarim - Twist in My Sobriety
  7. War - The World is a Ghetto
  8. Soul Coughing - Unmarked Helicopters
  9. Front 242 - Headhunters V 2.0
  10. The Cure - Killing an Arab
  11. Thomas Newman - Six Feet Under Title Theme
  12. Metallica - Seek & Destroy
  13. The Ramones - Gimmee Gimmee Shock Treatment
  14. The Minutemen - Little Man With A Gun in His Hand
  15. Brian Eno - Driving Me Backwards
  16. Camper Van Beethoven - Might Makes Right
  17. Jay-Z - H to the Izzo
  18. Public Enemy - Fear of a Black Planet
  19. James Brown - Cold Sweat (Pt.s I & II)
  20. Radiohead - Go to Sleep


Go to sleep, hope it's all a nightmare, soaked in a cold sweat tossing and turning wondering if the papers trickling through the skyline weren't just orogami doves, that gray people running for their lives from complete collapse suddenly wondered if a Starbucks wasn't wuch a bad place to be.

So goes our tenuous hold on life.

Disk 1 - "9/11/01: AM"
I don't remember thinking about what a beautiful day it was at first. Just had to get to work and chew up shit to spit out and let someone else eat the results. One of those pit in the stomach everyday on the drive to work jobs, the kind of job where you lay awake and wonder what you'd need to do to murder people and get away with it. Coding a database for a call center amongst a born-again crew, proselyetized every damn day, preached at, shut out of the basic sense of what was what because I wasn't buying issues of a comic book called Jay-zuss-ah. I'd do the work and see I'd never get anywhere within the crew as long as I wasn't with them that breathed deep and held hands in a circle, glad the King had blessed the Company and Free Enterprise and other Godly endevours, all that and the Free gour,et coffee in the break room. Every goddman day. "You want to pray?" they'd ask and "No," I'd say, "But can you bring me some of that Blessed coffee."

The call center was still dark when the first report came in; I had just loaded in a bucket of New York calls to the telemarketers. Honestly, I took the first plane as a fluke, figured it was some weird-ass shit, a two-headed alligator from Arkansas or laundry spontaneously catching fire in St. Paul. I hoped, I thought, damn that was bed news but um, I had a job to do. Frantically, I tried to pull northeastern area codes from other data buckets so I could pull what I'd loaded previously but the prayer group vetoed me - "It's God punishing those New York inta-leckshulls," my boss told me.

About two-point-five seconds later Holy Shit, the second tower was hit. A hundred eyes that had been rolling moments before were suddenly stolen forward, staring with the realization that it wasn't just Yahweh slinging some stupid random act of veangance but violence, brutal, bestial. Still, I could see tumblers turning, minds riveted to abstractions, columns, balance sheets. Sociopaths with being Born Again as a rationalization for being slimy shit pools. One genius suggested that we just take mortheastern area codes "to not offend those prospects" because, after all, we still had a half hour before Central standard could be called.

"We're under attack you fucktard," exasperated I was, breathless by the utter vulgarity. "If anyone's offended it's because you caught them on their way to hide their ass in the basement."

I stepped outside for a smoke and was struck by the silence. NORAD nearby but - nothing scrambling, no jets crisscossing the sky to protect us from planes used as missles - hell, it was eerie. This is a place where a screaming across the sky registers as much interest as a finch.

Graveyard silence everywhere I went. Even as I stood in front of the TV screen and watched it happen, again and again, plane, tower, people jumping, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania, again and again. I remember picking up my daughters and holding them tight but in those memories there is no sound to those images. Just the life I held and the death I watched, again and again.

  1. Grieg - Morning
  2. Pink Floyd - In the Flesh (Pt. II)/Run Like Hell
  3. The Beatles - Good Day, Sunshine
  4. Donovan - Sunshine Superman
  5. Eve - Blow Ya' Mind
  6. The Doors - The End
  7. Velvet Underground - The Black Angel's Death Song
  8. Stabbing Westward - I Don't Believe
  9. Black Sabbath - War Pigs
  10. Wilco - Ashes of American Flags
  11. Siouxsie & the Banshees - Cities in Dust
  12. Sisters of Mercy - Black Planet
  13. Dave Matthews Band - The Space Between
  14. Bob Dylan - Masters of War
  15. Tom Waits - Dust in the Ground

5 comments:

Miss Cow is a Cow said...

Holy smokes batman. Awesome mix! Damn just reading the songs gave me chills.

Can't wait until the next round. Any idea what the theme is yet? (Not that I'm impatient or anything! ;-) )

~d (tilde) said...

OK, so you aren't my dude.
This is an awesome post...so much emotion.
GREAT cds, too! Who is the lucky dawg!?!

Carrie said...

Your stories were amazing. I also love your lists. I could only come up with 14 songs. Hopefully I will do better next time.

Natsthename said...

Your mixes are always amazing and thought-provoking!! Excellent work, Jim!

Kelly said...

Thanks for doing this one, it was really thought-provoking, and yours is a great mix.
K