Oklahoma City Memorial

Iconic places still have the power to move–Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial for one. Funerary architecture remembers the dead–often in 19th century terms of Neo-Classical sculpted representational figures. A soldier in a town square. The names of the dead on an Egyptian obelisk styled monument. The Vietnam Wall changes that.

The Oklahoma City Memorial is more like The Wall than a Civil War monument. Empty chairs, one for each of the dead.Smaller ones for children. They “symbolize” or concretize absence–but who or what is sitting in the chairs? The dead? Our grief? The spirit of our loss?

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A rainy cool morning. Cried of course. Two gates of time, one at each end of the park. The second before. The second after. It reminded me so much of yesterday’s Stoner Peace Park.

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Then, the informal memorials on the fence. Like descansos. Like aggregates everywhere–the detritus of sentimental contemporary life–haunting in this context. Offerings. An Egyptian sense of what the living give the dead, as if the dead were at a child’s birthday party.

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Words scratched by a rescue team. A kind of sacred graffiti. Or like the obscene graffiti of Pompeii, made sacred through disaster.

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