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2002-04-01

Herbert Marcuse
B. 7.19.1898 Berlin / D. 7.29.1979 Starnberg, Germany
Stroke

I am sitting here on the furthest verge of a Palestinian state-related panic attack, completing the homework I assigned myself last night when I told my friend Jessica, over the phone, that shortly I’d be “doing an entry” about the scene I nearly made in her company upon September 11th, on the F train, between the Smith and 9th Street and Fourth Avenue stations. She and her vanishing boyfriend and I were riding back from our elevated platform group-gape—ghastly with videographers—at the still-smoking remains of Lower Manhattan. Over the atmosphere of the packed subway car as it pulled away. . .away homeward. . .speechless gravity fell like an immobilizing shroud, under which most everyone peeked at everyone else’s behavior for cracks, messages, clues; for cues to that evening’s and the future’s anecdotes; for comfort—for monkeys in a barrel, with chattering teeth and dusty fur, required (by whom—by what keeper? CBS?) to be so erect, so galvanized by comprehension, all the comfort permitted.
Pltptltpltptlp.
And I observed the young hispanic man standing next to me make his tongue make quick wet sex sounds while he flicked it in and out of his pretty girlfriend’s ear.
Pltptltpltptlp.
(Jessica claims she didn’t see this but who knows what she herself was doing—I don’t recall.) At any rate, the thought flashed through my mind that I should object. That I should speak to him, sharply, about this being his country too—that I should assume the role assigned me by my Constitution and my Bachelor’s Degree and make, if not war, then at least an appropriately wide path for war through the crowd. And that I did not, and why, is something I’ve intended to work out in an entry ever since.
Pltptltpltptlp.
Not too shy; not too sane; not too afraid of confrontation—not at all—confident, in fact (I remember scanning heads) that I could enlist enough sympathies to make for a satisfying and most cathartic ruckus—yet I resisted. Let it pass. In his place, I’d realized—in his shoes, with a pang—in his tongue, in his body—in his arms
Victory.

Consolation Site: Working Nonstop

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