My 9/11/01

the second tower went down
when I was in the car
heard disbelief, NPR like me
unable to stay calm, explaining
the before of white shirts waving for help
specks of humanity jumping out of windows
their hail hit while
I was eating my cereal flakes

at school, televisions on in every room
sirens rushing sound all over screens
the towers falling over and over again
repetition like practice, it happened, it happened

“what does this mean?” I asked my students
as if they knew
“we are going to war,” one said
he wasn’t wrong

I put my classroom flag out in the hall
duct taped it up for all to see
half-staff in my mind
everything in disarray
some TVs stayed on the whole day

kids asked the one teacher from Manhattan
who she knew there
almost excited to hear loss firsthand
like watching people on CNN
holding photos of sisters, mothers, dads
the missing
the forever gone

Anthony Bourdain

I once tweeted @Bourdain, urged him to do a plant-based show in Malibu. Told him Rich Roll could be his local guide to the vegan scene. Rich liked the tweet, but I never heard from Anthony Bourdain. No surprise. Not that I’m a hardcore vegan, but I wanted to see Bourdain truly out of his comfort zone.

No, he was far more relaxed on the Congo River, skinning chickens, maybe eating their feet. I was never in man awe of Tony, he was too dark to be one of my guys, but I  admired the way his imperfect teeth smiled at people, all people. The Thai women stirring brains in a bowl, or the men serving aged cheese in the French countryside. He was a true food ambassador, simultaneously common and noble.

Suicide by hanging, people seem to emphasize, but to me death is death. We all go out; slowly, quickly, healthy, ill, sane, or not. The end waits for all of us. It is not how we died, but how we lived. But that might just be me. The Anthony Bourdain that I read and watched on CNN lived truth. Truth of love. Love of food, booze, exploration, humanity. He was once addicted to heroin and to life. I guess all addictions eventually end.