For Theresa/PART ONE
Theresa was a brilliant student, an avant garde artist destined for greatness – winning a poetry prize at 14, a mere two years after learning English. An intellectual, a quiet rabble rouser, a complex feminist dreamer – Theresa was smarter than me. Smarter than you.
On November 5th, 1982 Theresa Hak Kyung Cha went to meet her recently betrothed, the photographer Richard Barnes, at a building on Lafayette Street in Lower Manhattan. They were going to go to dinner. Theresa had met Richard in a drawing class at Berkeley in 1975, where she got four degrees – two bachelors and two masters. Comparative literature. Art. Performance. He was documenting the renovations at the Puck Building.
She arrived carrying a red shopping bag from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where was she working in the day. She was wearing a beret and boots. She had galleys of her new book “Dictee” that had just been published the week before. She was 31.
Joey Sanza was a security guard who was working at the Puck Building when Theresa showed up to meet her husband that evening. Joey had already been convicted of twelve counts of sexual battery all of which he had committed between January and June of that same year. He raped, strangled and bludgeoned her to death. Apparently Richard wasn’t there when she showed up.
For Theresa/PART TWO
I was up all night thinking thinking thinking.
The death of Theresa hung heavy on my frozen shoulder.
A cartoon hobo hopping the rails in the wheat fields of a distant Americana. My heart hurt. Why are we designed to demand fairness if it is not to be had?
My brother was laced up to a bunch of machines that seemed to be coming out of the wall like the arms of a metal octopus. Some helped him breathe, some checked to see if he was breathing.
When they found her in a nearby vacant lot – dumped like a ripped Hefty bag of decaying garbage, her pants and underwear were around her ankles. Her head was bashed in. Her black beret was found much much later, caked in blood in the basement of the empty building where he took her to rape and kill her.
I want to rape and kill him. I want to chew his eyes out of his face and drag him behind my charging Centaur across a field of broken glass.
If I were Joan of Arc I would set YOU on fire. I swallow. It hurts like a ball of hair is lodged in my throat. I taste a broken mouse. A tailless lizard writhing under the porch. Man is a vicious beast. The Devil’s favorite offspring. I wish I could sterilize the world’s water supply and end this voracious species – this plague upon the planet.
People who have children are sick. So caught up in their hairballs and margaritas that they condemn all things to the toxicity of Man.
Where can all this poison go but into my shoulders. I cannot lift my arm. They call it Frozen Shoulder but if it were, it would be numb.
Blue lips. Cracking ice and a plunge into the deep. A sinking. Oh Theresa.
How I wish I had been there to cave Joey’s head in with an iron pipe. Did Richard mistake his wife for a pipe? Or was it a hat? Her beret was found caked with blood and dirt. Mary Tyler Moore died too and they will kill us all.
Such a murderous rage fills my nights like the liquid in the machines that keep my brother breathing. This anger is my oxygen now. This hatred is the sweet nectar that fills my veins and gives me purpose. For you, Theresa, for you I will not stop.
For Theresa/PART THREE
Joey Sanza was born in the grimy underside of the panhandle. Abused, neglected, Joey ended up in the Florida DCF when he was six.
It was there he was introduced to the sickness unto death, Anti-Climacus’ treatise on despair and the nature of man – so abhorrent that Kierkegaard himself hid from its authorship. This sickness became Joey’s ontology.
Joey fell in with the depths of horror that hide beneath the niceties of the human heart. The places that allow children to be hurt. The places where hurt people hurt people.
I cry for Joey now too. Because raping him and killing his spirit is not something I can do – it was already done. And surely I will do it to myself should I keep hating so hard.