Monday, November 9, 2009

20 years later

Came across this piece in the NYT this (yesterday 11/09) morning. Gunter Grass's work Too Far Afield deals largely with the implications impact and importance of the Wall coming down. Much like Dresden circulates through Vonnegut's work, the Wall is a constant motif through much of Grass's work.
My friend had/has a piece of the wall that his uncle brought back for him.
When I was 7/8/9? (90/91/92?) was taken to West Point to watch a hockey game of West Point v. a team I do not recall. In the lobby of one of the WP buildings was a large section of the wall. It was probably at least four feet wide by 6.5 or 7 feet tall but it served, and has continued to serve as a synecdoche of the Wall. The fragment had all of the necessary trademarks of its parents, the colorful graffiti, the worn and pitted grey cement with rebar twisting out the disconnected ends; frozen and taut. A fragment, loosed from its moorings and from its context, removed from its role as a barrier transformed into a set piece or found object or sculpture. I can't remember if I touched it or not. I think if I did that it was warm. I could walk around it easily surveying it from all sides without having to hurdle or despair about the reason for the separation. At 6/7 years old I think that I do remember the excitement but not the reason for that excitement or the importance of this wall coming down just as any pre-adolescent has no knowledge of the swirling events passing around and over their heads.

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