I first heard Loudon Wainwright III's "No Sure Way" on NPR's Fresh Air in October 2001, when we were all still in shock.
The singer/songwriter's account of a subway trip into Manhattan days after 9/11 remains as deep and affecting as the first time I heard it -- blending mythological references (...there beneath the East River it felt like the River Styxx...) with the stark, painful reality.
Five years gone
I attended a charity function the other day, and a speaker noted that the cool autumn morning made it impossible for him not to think of that other September, now five years ago.
Five years? I've lost touch with the guy I was on the phone with that morning when I heard, but not how I felt.
"No Sure Way's" lyrics capture it well:
I saw the three initials
W, T and then C
I'd survived/somehow was living
But somewhere I shouldn't be
At the next stop the doors opened
And I emerged up above ground
I was in another country.
Elysian Fields? No Chinatown.
I think I'll have to listen a few more times over the next couple of days. To the memory of the innocent...
Esquire: "The Falling Man"
Tags: 9/11, Loudon Wainwright III,songs, music, iPod