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A heavy heart, lighter Teil 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7 : 8

This morning, I am in fact even less angry than I was after writing my letter of yesterday. The reason why, momentarily.
     But first, two fragments floating down through the air like burning paper, that reveal -- what? I don't know. Both stick.
     First, from my old friend Karl Bruckmaier in Germany, the following: "Two concerts with music by Karlheinz Stockhausen were scheduled for last weekend in Hamburg. At a press conference the composer told a bewildered audience: You must change your way of thinking for a minute now! And I'm gonna tell you that in my view what happened there (re: the terrorist attacks) in America, this is simply the greatest work of art that existed - ever. I mean, imagine, I talk to you as a musician now, imagine 50 people rehearsing LIKE CRAZY for ten years and then giving a performance, people who DIE during that performance, and send 5000 others into redemption. I mean, think about it - that's so incredible...I mean...I assure you, I couldn't do that...This, I couldn't do it. Both concerts by Stockhausen in Hamburg were called off." And, from this this fascinating website, an odd and troubling story.
     Whether this is some sort of developing legend, or has a basis in reality, I have no idea.
     I realize that NY is only beginning to secure itself. There are, presently, for example, no new checkpoints anywhere within Rockefeller Center, either in the major buildings or in the concourse that runs underneath them all. This strikes me as not good. Police are stopping and checking all trucks coming into NY through either the Lincoln Tunnel or the GW bridge, but not those that come into town from the Bronx, or Brooklyn, or Queens. Some buildings have, clearly, tightened up security that was previously lax (these you can spot by the long lines of employees coming out onto the street). Others, as clearly not.
     Yesterday afternoon V met her friend Marina and they went downtown. Presently, the only Frozen Zone remaining is west of Broadway and south of Canal, that is to say the area in which the Towers stood and the area most immediately affected. East of Broadway, the subway stations are open, in places, and pedestrians are now allowed to walk freely. V said they got as close as the far side of Broadway (noting that neither Trinity nor St. Paul's churches survived without damage). She said that she can no longer tell where anything, really stood; and that as everyone has been saying, it looks far different in real life than on TV. "It's so big," she said of the site. "So big."
     She found something, down there, that she brought back for me; and what she found enabled me to move forward, a bit more. The following is laughable, in some respects, and I accept that. Laugh, please.
     Background: those of you who have been over to my house (that includes all of you, I think) know that I like chihuahuas. Like is perhaps not the most exact word. The side of our refrigerator is covered with various photos of the yappy little critters. I had a chihuahua when I was a child, which my grandparents fed until it became the world's largest chihuahua (35 pounds). She was always my favorite dog; I haven't had a dog, since.
     As I noted in earlier letters, throughout town, attached to walls and telephone booths and mailboxes and lampposts and cars are homemade flyers bearing pictures of the missing, with their names, their descriptions, numbers to call. These are heartbreaking and numbing; there are so many different people, so many. They have been up for over a week now, and there have been no happy endings in any case.
     Other things have been put up, as well: the WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE poster insert of bin Laden provided a few days ago in, of course, the NY Post; downloaded pictures of US flags (I have one of these on the door of my office, and one on our apartment door -- someone in our building printed out a stack and left them downstairs for the taking); notices from PETA and the ASPCA telling where pets whose owners have been lost etc. can be brought; where blood can be given, donations be taken, supplies be brought, etc.
     Valeria found something different, and as said brought up the second copy she saw, and gave it to me last night when she got home. It was a flyer made up by Nancy Corday (I don't know who she is): a thank you flyer for everyone who has helped, in whatever way. The color photo thereon is of her dog (I assume, it's not a professional photo). A chihuahua, wearing a small flag tied around its neck, and what would seem to be a tiny nurses' cap with gold star.
     The moment I saw it, I finally cried.
     When I was a child, I cried freely, for a variety of reasons; over time, and with beatings inflicted at school for so crying, I stopped. I can remember, literally, all the times I have cried since 1987 -- once, then, when my girlfriend left me. Then, ten years later, in the hospital; then, during a group therapy session in February; and last March, two weeks after Jenna died. That's it.
     Sadness turned into anger, and vice versa, and both grew ever more contained, with time.
     I have no idea why the sight of this little dog finally allowed me to get out what I've had inside, since last Tuesday. Well, I imagine it evoked something from childhood, back when I was able to cry without hindrance, and triggered the reaction.
     I cried for twenty minutes, while Valeria held me. All those people, I kept thinking. All those people. All those people.
Today, as said, I finally feel far less numb than I did, and less angry. The stages of grief, as I remember them, are shock, anger, sorrow, acceptance. I think I'm getting closer to the last.
     Within the next few days, I think, as more people finally accept that their loved ones are gone, the city will become much sadder.
     From the funeral oration of Pericles:

If then we prefer to meet danger with a light heart but without laborious training, and with a courage which is gained by habit and not enforced by law, are we not greatly the better for it? Since we do not anticipate the pain, although, when the hour comes, we can be as brave as those who never allow themselves to rest; thus our city is equally admirable in peace and in war. For we are lovers of the beautiful in our tastes and our strength lies, in our opinion, not in deliberation and discussion, but that knowledge which is gained by discussion preparatory to action. For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection. And they are surely to be esteemed the bravest spirits who, having the clearest sense both of the pains and pleasures of life, do not on that account shrink from danger.

     An English friend asked yesterday, by email, if people in NY and Washington were less bloodthirsty than people in the rest of the country. I have an inkling but no direct experience of how the rest of the country feels (another friend, who with his wife drove here from Seattle -- they moved here -- arrived at the New Jersey border on the 11th, and said he could not understand why all the electronic signs were saying "ALL ROADS TO NEW YORK CLOSED."), so I don't know that I can really say. Some are, some aren't, I assume.
     But I don't feel bloodthirsty, no. That was my reaction on Tuesday the 11th, but it passed. I am, as I said yesterday, furious; but each day growing better able to deal with it, and wanting now only that whatever happens next be, however long it takes, effective.
     If any of you were upset by what I wrote yesterday, I'm sorry for that; but if my writing you is helping you, it is helping me much more. It is, in fact, the one thing I am able to do, presently.
     V tells me that I will be getting a chihuahua, for my birthday.

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