Yesterday I spent an hour on line at The Tempest Store New York, to purchase a CD that was released today, and whose contents I already had been plugging into any time I liked, thanks to technologies that make dates and times more like water than stone. And the long waits at The Tempest Store New York were the result of the newfangled technology, a virtual cash register–a cell phone connected to a Mac–operated by an astonishingly patient gentleman. The Tempest Store New York will trend in place for six days, vacuuming money from people like me who lose all math skills when confronted with a brightly colored shiny useless coin-like disc that has Bob Dylan’s name on it, are you kidding how can I live with only one of these?
The boxes holding the CDs we were all handed yesterday had labels reading September 11, today. In Tempest, you’re never far from old, not so old, real, and not so real deaths and murders, in so many different quantities. Two-Timing Slim, wife/lover/husband, Leo, Mr. Astor, fifteen hundred and ninety-eight others, John Lennon, Sweet William–these deaths happen and are memorialized, they’re past and present, at the same time in their songs, over and over with each listen. I thought about this while I watched a little of the naming ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial this morning. People who had lost loved ones stepped forward in pairs, read names, then were given a moment to recall their own person. It occurred to me that all these men and women in the ceremony have aged eleven years since their loss, and in the case of the teenagers and children, these eleven years mean growing up. It’s another beautiful day here in New York, our skies are shiny and flawless. And that made me think of the line in the old Roll on John, Don’t the sun look lonesome, oh lord lord lord, on the graveyard fence? That is an appealing thought-dream. Our life keeps the sun company. Watching the grieving, living pairs of people reciting name after name and squinting in the bright sun, I think it could almost be half-true.