Against the Current, No. 154, September/October 2011
The Years of 9/11
— The Editors
9/11 and the Clash of Atrocities
— John O'Connor
Ten Years Later: We're Less Free
— Julie Hurwitz
On 9/11 and the Politics of Language
— an interview with Martin Espada
Alabanza: In Praise of Local 100
— Martin Espada
To Rebuild Teamster Power
— an interview with Sandy Pope
Bloomberg and NYC's Education Wars
— Kit Adam Wainer
Detroit Public Schools: Who's Failing?
— Nina Kampfer
The Catherine Ferguson Struggle
— Nina Kampfer
Givebacks in a Deepening Crisis
— Jack Rasmus
Letter from Tokyo: In "The Zone" of Disaster
— Matt Noyes
- On Marable's Malcolm X
Manning Marable and Malcolm X: The Power of Biography
— Clarence Lang
Evolution not "Reinvention": Manning Marable's Malcolm X
— Malik Miah
Exploring Imperial Pathologies
— Allen Ruff
Introduction to Is There a Human Future?
— David Finkel
Chris Hedges' Vision & Nightmare: Is There a Human Future?
— Richard Lichtman
The Fate of Vietnam's First Revolution
— Simon Pirani
Bolshevism, Gender & 21st Century Revolution
— Ron Lare
- In Memoriam
David Blair, Detroit Poet, 1967-2011
— Kim D. Hunter
for the 43 members of Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Local 100, working at the Windows on the World restaurant, who lost their lives in the attack on the World Trade Center
Alabanza. Praise the cook with a shaven head
and a tattoo on his shoulder that said Oye,
a blue-eyed Puerto Rican with people from Fajardo,
the harbor of pirates centuries ago.
Praise the lighthouse in Fajardo, candle
glimmering white to worship the dark saint of the sea.
Alabanza. Praise the cook’s yellow Pirates cap
worn in the name of Roberto Clemente, his plane
that flamed into the ocean loaded with cans for Nicaragua,
for all the mouths chewing the ash of earthquakes.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen radio, dial clicked
even before the dial on the oven, so that music and Spanish
rose before bread. Praise the bread. Alabanza.
Praise Manhattan from a hundred and seven flights up,
like Atlantis glimpsed through the windows of an ancient aquarium.
Praise the great windows where immigrants from the kitchen
could squint and almost see their world, hear the chant of nations:
Ecuador, México, República Dominicana,
Haiti, Yemen, Ghana, Bangladesh.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen in the morning,
where the gas burned blue on every stove
and exhaust fans fired their diminutive propellers,
hands cracked eggs with quick thumbs
or sliced open cartons to build an altar of cans.
Alabanza. Praise the busboy’s music, the chime-chime
of his dishes and silverware in the tub.
Alabanza. Praise the dish-dog, the dishwasher
who worked that morning because another dishwasher
could not stop coughing, or because he needed overtime
to pile the sacks of rice and beans for a family
floating away on some Caribbean island plagued by frogs.
Alabanza. Praise the waitress who heard the radio in the kitchen
and sang to herself about a man gone. Alabanza.
After the thunder wilder than thunder,
after the shudder deep in the glass of the great windows,
after the radio stopped singing like a tree full of terrified frogs,
after night burst the dam of day and flooded the kitchen,
for a time the stoves glowed in darkness like the lighthouse in Fajardo,
like a cook’s soul. Soul I say, even if the dead cannot tell us
about the bristles of God’s beard because God has no face,
soul I say, to name the smoke-beings flung in constellations
across the night sky of this city and cities to come.
Alabanza I say, even if God has no face.
Alabanza. When the war began, from Manhattan and Kabul
two constellations of smoke rose and drifted to each other,
mingling in icy air, and one said with an Afghan tongue:
Teach me to dance. We have no music here.
And the other said with a Spanish tongue:
I will teach you. Music is all we have.
September/October 2011, ATC 154