Friday, September 10, 2010

Tears Shrouded in Shards of Debris, a 9/11 Commemorative Poem by Antonio Cassone

Tears Shrouded in Shards of Debris is one of my babies. Sure, I am proud of most of my works, or I wouldn't put them out here for the world to see. This is a special case. The subject is a haunting one for many of us in today's world. The loss of life, the changing of our daily lives overnight and so much points to that one day - September 11, 2001. I feel it is a defining day of a generation, if not THE defining day of it. So, I wanted to write today about the back story behind the poem, some of the elements I used and why I did the recording and video slideshow of it the way I did.

Rarely do I give such insights to my work, because I think it can run borderline between ego and back patting. Neither of which is the case here. As a matter of fact, it is the first time I am doing this because part of the secret to my success insofar as the volume of my works over the years is because I am gung ho for a project, put all in and once it is completed - that is it, I move on to the next poem, voice over, drag show, photo shoot or Getting Ready webisode. To much to do, but given this being such a subject near and dear to me - the back story of how it came about is special as well.

Last year, to the day, I was sitting at work - depressed - because September is just a bad month for me. It used to be lovely, with Autumn on the horizon, my mother's birthday was on the 4th and it is usually a time of new beginnings i.e. school starts, activity changes around because of it, et al. Now, I live in Florida - so, what is Autumn? My mother had since passed away before 9/11/2001 and then there is that tragedy. That week in September is usually quite a downer for me. So, as I sat there at work... I got to thinking about all of it and well, I actually got inspired.

Usually, I will be joking around with a friend in conversation and while talking we'll end up saying something like, 'look at the tall trees in the wind, they are really going at it.' Then *light bulb* I will, like clock work, say something like 'ooh! Tall Trees in the Wind - I feel a poem coming on!' And then I will go write it. I was sitting there talking to my friend, Katy, about all that was going on in my little head.

I always internalized 9/11. Yes, I watched the news reports, was horrified by the images and all the repetitive news coverage - seeing those images over and over again - I will admit, prompted some nightmares. Then, in my depressed state I would go further and wonder what that must have been like for those people in those final seconds, seeing where they were going to, or seeing a plane coming at you, or those who had to decide to jump or not, then the overwhelming sensation of loss and wonder those they left behind must even still experience. Why? I am sure that question still has yet to be answered to many. Nothing. No cause, no belief and No - Sorry, there is No God I know of that would want such destruction done in their name - no matter what name you give It.

But, then, as I shared with Katy, as we chatted over our little job folders - it is as though the grief process was stolen away because of this constant, almost stabbing media coverage. Not to mention, the fear that has been ingrained into our collective subconscious. Post 9/11, you'd better believe people think differently, look at so much with different sets of eyes - and almost overnight. I considered all that media intensity and fear provoked by it, the government, the 'strange looking' person at the store - all of it debris - and I said... 'our tears are shrouded in shards of debris' - and well, I ran with it. I felt a poem coming on. Rarely does anyone witness that light bulb go on for me, but Katy was there - and actually her excitement and interest with what I would come up with made getting through writing the poem very easy.

I thought about it for about 15 minutes, running rhythms and phrases through my head. I wanted it to rhythmically start slow - kind of like that normal, everyday work day would start then slowly build on that rhythm. I wanted to convey the emotional stress, fear, that panic feeling those victims must have felt in their final moments. In my post 9/11 nightmares, I would have a recurring visual being outside of myself - like I was there to see something, but able to go on and tell a message - that is where in the poem I speak of shards of debris coming at me in fierce fashion and "like minute pieces of glass cutting me, as my jagged flesh tears away." Ahh, such a terrible nightmare, but words and time do heal ...some.

It took me 15 minutes, one sitting and a simple conversation with a friend to put 8 years of thoughts, nightmares, fears and hope onto a page. This past summer, I included the poem in my book Blue Sky: ...Writings for Steven and Other People I Have Loved for So Long. I included it because these people have their place among people I have loved. Goodness knows, I have prayed for them and their families a great deal. I can't even imagine and sometimes, if I think about it too much, it really takes me to a very dark place.

In the recording, I chose elements in sound to keep with the flow I wanted rhythmically. Far from being a song, my recordings are more so sound mixes. Visually, for the video slideshow, I did want to use images from 9/11, but I mainly wanted to use my own photography and I wanted to visually focus on those who died, their deaths and celebrated lives, the hope and forgiveness, as well. Flowers seem to do that for me on all of those levels. My grandmother always joked that she hated getting flowers, because they reminded her of death too much. That argument had some weight, but they also reflect so much of life and love, hope, forgiveness and even renewal. So, mainly I used my images of various flowers. Only in the intro did I feature flashes of images from that terrible day. I feel that there is more than enough material out there that show, even seem to glorify, those frightful images from that day. I wanted to concentrate on the beauty of hope, remembrance and renewal.

Tears Shrouded in Shards of Debris,
a 9/11 Commemorative Poem

Though not a victim, not a fatality, not even a relative
Feelings of the most incomprehensible loss overcome
It is as though our collective breath took pause
For a moment, it seemed like we were outdone

Since then, emotional distress takes me over
The edge of nevermore, consuming any kind of thought
Imagining what so many went through in just a moment
Fear cloaked in tears get me right about my throat, caught

My heart races in a panic, as if trying to escape
From what …and why run from whatever destiny
Outer demons had in mind for those who died
The children, the women, the heroes…

Never forget that fateful September day
Like minute pieces of glass
Cutting me as my jagged flesh tears away
So many lives destroyed within a flash

Damaged, I hear the cries in the darkness
The shards of debris come at me in fierce fashion
Splicing and thrusting forward in my nightmare
A nightmare that was a reality

Crashing thunderous downward
Nowhere to run
Nowhere to hide
Wondering, waiting

Awakened from this recurring incubus
Going on in our daily lives
Through the wars, during the constant fears
Provoked, driven, cursing evermore into subconscious

Took many summer days to strive forward
Long autumn afternoons remembering what once was
Cold, dark winter nights; shivering in the storm
And after the storm, springs hope anew

Breathing in a sense of survival
A willingness to carry on
A belief in all that is right and true
A promise that again today can lead to tomorrow

We have to continue to come together, to commemorate,
Celebrate the lives of our lost brothers and sisters
And come through and look into each others’ eyes…
Each others’ faces …and see you …and me

Copyright 2010 © Antonio Cassone - All Rights Reserved

from the book, Blue Sky: ....Writings for Steven and Other People I Have Loved for So Long

See this book and others at Antonio Cassone's Author Page at Amazon by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Behind the Lens 006 - A Few Stragglers I Liked from the Scene by Scene Shoot by C.A. McKenzie

These five photos propelled me during my move, in 2006, from my hometown of Detroit to Fort Lauderdale. From my session with C.A. McKenzie back in 2005, these shots captured the essence of my entertainment and art at the time - insofar as being an entertainer. This was back when I was still 'Miranda Davison' and the concentration of my art focused more on the female impersonation act, rather than where it is now with the books, photography, videos and spoken word recordings - and now I go by Cassone, or my given name, Antonio Cassone - to put myself under the one umbrella was a huge step for me both professionally and personally. While a lot has changed, the basics stay the same - no matter what I am doing, I strive to do it well enough to entertain each and every one of you. YAY!

Photography by C.A. McKenzie, for McKenzie Bros. Photography; 2005
Model, Hair, Makeup & Wardrobe Styling: Antonio Cassone

Singing to a Beat of My Own Drummer
Vivacious Headshot
You Sly Devil, You
Joy & Happiness

Preview: America's Got Talent Finalists Revealed Tonight (My Picks)

Tonight, the Top 4 finalists for America's Got Talent, the series is the summer's runaway ratings winner again according to Nielsen Media. It is no wonder, especially with the talent the show had this season. Sure not all of them are runaway star's, but the variety sure was refreshing. Early on, my favorite, was body popper/dancer, Haspop, but he didn't make the Top 10. His performances were sure fun to watch. I know I can't move like that. All along, Fighting Gravity has been on my radar and with Haspop out of it, they are who I think should get that tour, the prize money and the Las Vegas show. Any of these entertainer's/acts that made it as far in the competition, definitely have their books getting filled. Jackie Evancho, the ten year old opera singer has certainly got talent and the momentum, but I can't see building a whole Vegas show around her. Not taking anything from her, this just makes me wonder about the show not having an age limit. It could work for or against her, but I won't be surprised if the 'cute little angel' factor doesn't push her all the way to the top. Aside from those two, the field seems to open up a bit.

The 'reveal' show airs tonight on NBC at 9pm EST with Nick Cannon as host and the judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osborne and Howie Mandel. Although, they are no longer in the process of, it is up to the people. Since I am a 'people' - here is My Top 4!

Fighting Gravity
Prince Poppycock
Michael Grasso
Jackie Evancho

We shall see who get's in for real, for real, but these four would make the Finals next week so much more interesting to me. Besides, they deserve to be there.