Saturday, July 22, 2006

Where's the 757?

I like pictures, don't you? They're more immediate than poetry, which is often so hard to understand.

The first is a photo of the Pentagon after an American Airlines 757 struck the building on 9/11/01, causing damage mainly to the outer ring. The original rift in the building was comparatively small but the resulting fire caused the roof to fall roughly 40 minutes later. The outline of the airplane indicates the size of a 757. Some commentators find it interesting that there isn't more lateral damage, such as the wings might have caused. Some of the materials on the ground outside the building are wooden telecommunications spools, which remained undamaged.

The second photo, taken by James Ingersoll, shows the same area of the Pentagon from the other side. You can see debris at the top and a charred rift where this enormous airplane, full of fresh airplane fuel, struck the Pentagon. You can see smoke stains on the third ring but not the second ring. How is this possible? How can the same amount of gasoline cause the fall of the World Trade Towers and not more damage here? Hey, physics are beyond me. I'm a poet!

So that it might not appear that this blog is supporting conspiracy theories such as are found on numerous "Where's the 757?" sites, I am attaching a painting by Titian of Mary Magdalene and Jesus following his resurrection. This famous "noli me tangere" scene has been depicted by many painters, from Hans Holbein to Fra Angelico. It's also a theme of Cole Swensen's poetry book TRY (University of Iowa Press, 1999). Mary Magdalene tried to touch Jesus, but he said, "Don't touch me." Likewise, the terrorists tried to strike the Pentagon, but their effort was half-hearted, as only a minor section, then unoccupied except for construction workers, suffered injury. The Pentagon must have been declaring "noli me tangere"!

Art and politics are interesting subjects. I don't know much about them, but I know what I like. And the Titian is great. If I didn't know better, I'd comment on erotic overtones arising from the comparative state of undress of Our Savior.

There is no beauty in the Pentagon photos. Terror doesn't inspire beauty; it creates only ugly things.


At 12:21 PM, Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Quite a peculiar stretch to leap between the Pentagon and the resurrected Christ as seen by Titian.

I enjoyed it.

When he says Don't Touch Me, isn't it because he's dead, and something will happen to her (or maybe to him) if she does?

I think he's perhaps protecting her from dying.

The death dealt out by the airplane (you appear to find the destruction of the Pentagon somewhat humorous and as an occasion for celebration but perhaps I'm picking up on a tone that isn't there) is quite different.

I enjoyed the pictures, but this time felt that logic completely vanished as I tried to put together what you were saying.

Maybe you meant that.

With the poem you put in last time about Fernando I almost felt you were writing about him as if he were Ferdinand the Bull, the cartoon pacifist, who preferred to smell the flowers.

Somehow in comparing Christ to the
Pentagon you are again trying to illustrate this.

How is Christ like the Pentagon?
They both say, please don't touch me.

And then I'm supposed to laugh, I think, but I don't get it, instead.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Kirby Olson said...

I'm still struggling with your odd post this morning.

I looked up Noli Me Tangere using Wikipedia. There are so many interpretations.

Now I think you are juxtaposing the violence of the Pentagon attack with the love of Mary for God? And saying that the one will never produce beauty, while the other has produced hundreds of great paintings.

But what about the violence that had been done to Jesus in the first place?

And surely there were those in the Pentagon attack who were tender toward one another as they flew toward their deaths. Mothers holding children, fathers holding their children, last phone calls to loved ones.

Christ spoke Aramaic, a language that apparently survives only in Iraq among the Assyrian Christians who live in Mosul (once called Ninevah).

I was surprised to look through the many paintings of this sublime moment and the various interpretations. Giotto's was the least erotic, perhaps, but the most sublime.

Thanks for drawing me to this scene.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger Kirby Olson said...

Paul, you should post something new, ok?

How do you feel about eating meat?

At 11:27 AM, Blogger John Stiles said...

Hi Paul,

You`'ve been published at How yah Doon?

P.S. I dickied and fandangled with the other pics but they won`t go on the site for some reason.
As my English father used to say: Blast! However curiosity might just be enough...


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