Darmstadt

unusual silence, bright sunshine, cloudless cerulean sky and a high wind. at the corner of 18th and church, in the park they’ve made where the church burned down, two girls, one on the steps of the former altar, one stretched out on a bench looking up 18th street, listening to their earphones.

the dog and i walk over to saint matthews cathedral where nothing is happening. we cut back through the alley behind, and the strongest sense of eternity is there — nothing changes life in the alleys. they’re excavating a big hole in back of the church properties on rhode island avenue; earth moving equipment and the wind blowing the dust. red clay like the battlefields of virginia. the latino men are carrying heavy pails full. no shouting, no talking, no laughing, men bending silently to their work in the crystalline air. across the alley the rear entrances of the old brownstones soak up the sun and the branches and their leaves make the only noise i can hear.

on the front steps of the apartment building, the wind has shaken down a microscopic carpet of tiny twigs and dark brown dried calyxes and little green fruits from the crape myrtles. i have one of the perfect little calyxes here on my desk.

all over the city, from connecticut avenue to georgetown to arlington, unusually light traffic and silence.

on the way to the georgetown library, the marigolds and purple petunias in front of the romanian embassy are tossing in the wind. i can’t determine whether or not the romanian flag, like many others, is at half mast. the metro bus is sporting a small american flag on the drivers’ side, as was the rolls royce i saw at 18th and R. up on library hill, i get out and look down on the city, as far as rosslyn, the potomac, TR bridge and beyond to the pentagon. the sky fades out to palest blue on the horizon, the world is far below me, and the sun shines on the just and the unjust.the wind rises and there is a roar in the trees above me; the strong sunshine shines through them and the leaves glitter in the wind.

an old woman in the cherrydale safeway is talking about the firebombing of darmstadt, september 11, 194…something. “just for pure meanness,” she says. “and that was us.” the cherrydale fire department, founded in 1898, is swagged with red white and blue bunting and a god bless america sign. cherrydale very quiet. in my mother’s apartment, the breeze is blowing through the balcony doors, and the tree tops glittering and tossing outside. the wind is tossing the branches of the oak tree outside my window now as i write this.

back through georgetown, across key bridge. six skyscrapers in rosslyn have two story-long flags draped from upper stories facing the bridge. the potomac roughened by the wind and empty of any boats. traffic very light, pedestrians almost non-existent. a few flags in the shop windows. on connecticut, julia’s empanada has a flag leaning in the corner of the window; betsey fisher has beautiful flags as backdrops to undressed white mannequins and incriptions (“Imagine” by John Lennon) in white on the glass.

someone’s briefcase full of papers, some colored, blow across M street in the sunshine, no traffic to trammel them. at new hampshire and 20th the flashing red and blue lights of a police car marking a fender bender catch my attention. a very well set up middle aged man, good gold glasses, beautiful navy suit, immaculate starched shirt, gleaming bald head and firm belly, standing, looking like a stunned bull, waiting for the traffic light at 18th and P with three long-stemmed white carnations in his hand. the little blue and silver pin wheel on my shopping cart spins wildly.

there is no distant sound of traffic as i sit here. i hear someone hammering far away. the shadows of the oak leaves are oscillating on the building across the street, a dazzling optic version of the sound of the wind.

Originally posted September 11. 2002 14:35 at LiveJournal

Just War

i’m very pissed off at bush for using this emotion to float war.

i think i have to think about whether or not it’s a just war. i think it may be.

http://www.mindspring.com/~skazmarek/war/02Crit.htm

it meets three of five criteria — initiated by a duly constituted government (even if you didn’t vote for him),

with right intention, to promote peacewith reluctance.

still questionable:

exhaustion — all other venues, including discussion and negotiation, are not exhausted.

potentiality — does it have a reasonable chance of success, or will there be a pointless loss of life.

Originally posted September 11. 2002 18:54 at LiveJournal

For Bianca

Job, even Job, says

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold….

Originally posted September 11. 2002 10:15 at LiveJournal

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