"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black, cat-shaped holes in the universe."
-- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My New Journal / Thoughts on Boston

I started a new journal today.  I finished my other one on Friday and, although I love beginning a new journal-- writing on that fresh clean page-- I waited until today to do it. 

I wish I hadn't. 

If I had started my new journal on Saturday, I could have written about the workshops I attended at the Austin International Poetry Festival, or eating dinner on the patio of 400 Rabbits with Mark.  If I'd started it on Sunday, I could have written about watching the "haiku death match" at Kick Butt Coffee or having my picture taken with the Hulk at Austin Books & Comics.  If I'd started it on Monday morning, I could have written about my yoga class or Uno's snoring. 

But instead I waited.  And now I would be a false reporter if I wrote about anything other than the two bombs that exploded yesterday at the end of the Boston marathon, killing three and injuring over a hundred.  Horrible injuries.  Limbs blown off, shrapnel embedded... war wounds.  War wounds in families watching a marathon, celebrating a holiday. 

Yesterday when the events took place, I was at home, cleaning the house and doing laundry, just as I was on December 14, the day of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  (I swear that my life does not consist of me staying home all day and doing laundry.  These are coincidences.  Though if my house-cleaning continues to coincide with horrific acts, I will stop and live in filth.)  I saw the news on Twitter just minutes after it happened and immediately turned on CNN.  And so, once again, I got sucked into the televised news coverage-- the same horrible images and videos, over and over, repeated from different angles and different voices, none of the angles making sense, none of the voices providing answers.  The numbers kept changing at the bottom of the screen, the victims rising and falling, adding and subtracting (though mostly rising and adding) as reporters tried to get the facts straight amid chaos. 

I need to not do that next time (next time) not get stuck in front of the TV, constant and depressing, without even a commercial break to give me a chance to blink and consider looking away.  I never craved a commercial like I did yesterday.  I think thirty seconds of a snuggly bear selling fabric softener could have done wonders for my psyche.  But it never came.  Just more recordings of terrified screams and pictures of sidewalks covered in blood. 

Today I escaped the house, escaped the TV, headed to Pacha to write.  But I cannot escape the events of yesterday.  They are on the radio, on the internet, on the tongues of everyone around me.  As I write this journal entry, the words 'Boston' and 'bombs' and 'victims' and 'terrorism' and 'suspect' bounce around me from table to table. 

There is no why yet, no who.  All we have is the what and the where and the (ever-changing) how many.  And the when that hangs in all of our minds, the subtle nagging wonder about next time.

[I realize that this entry reaches no hopeful conclusion, offers no unique perspective.  I simply post it because it is on my mind, as it is on the minds of so many others.]

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