In This Connection of Everyone with Lungs there is a defining moment when Spahr says,
“I know that my ties with yous are not unique.
That each of those one hundred and thirty-six people dead by
politics’ human hands over the weekend had numerous people
who felt the same way about them…
…had lovers like I have yous…
…had parents and children with ties
so deep that those parents and children feel fractured now, one
or two days later, immersed in a pain that has an analogy only to the intensity of pleasure.”
This seems to me to be one of those moments where Spahr zooms in really closely and then zooms out to show the grand consequences. It reminds me of the movie Remember Me [spoiler alert], a post-nine eleven commentary that is similar to This Connection of Everyone with Lungs. I loved this movie for grounding my memory of 9/11, for making it something I could relate to again rather than the mess of connotations it had become in my head. There is this scene at the end of the movie where the main character, Tyler, who the viewer now knows intimately as a son, a brother, a friend, a boyfriend, a student, and an artist becomes the personal victim of the atrocities. The directer conveys this by starting with a close up of Tyler and zooming out to a larger picture of the Twin Towers.
Both of these nine eleven commentaries find it useful to show the effect on the individual to decipher the effect on the whole. For me, this brings meaning to Spahr’s catalogue of news clips because I am then able to feel how individual events actually do connect me to everyone with lungs. Spahr’s poem of This Connection of Everyone with Lungs captures a transition in the American story that other artists (i.e. film-makers) are beginning to explore too.