September 11th

How do I explain the rupture
between Then and Now.
When no Safe was Unsafe
and a September morning wasn’t filled with
Cremains and loose paper,
when only Bird Wings fluttered in the blue sky.
How do I tell you of the Fear and Grief,
Personal and Communal,
of people spirited away in dust falling from the sky
mixing with Tears that streaked on all our faces.

I wish I could explain how
our Country’s shifted Foundation
was filled with that Ash and then with desert Sand.
How we were all struck mute
as Doves became hawkish
and Hawks became harsh Patriots.
We all averted our eyes and covered our ears
as Rendition and Enhanced Interrogation
and Warrantless Wiretaps
were wrapped in Patriotic bunting.

I wish I could understand how the new normal
is now just NORMAL –
the shoeless shuffle in airports,
the suspicion of brown skin,
the lilting accents that are now ominous.
And how that September morning,
‘The War against Terror’-
(And it was our TERROR)
is now just  another chapter
in high school History books,
dry as Ash and hot desert Sand.


21 thoughts on “September 11th

  1. Very powerfully written piece – the ripples are still felt in so many ways and have changed so much. It is a sort of secondary tragedy that we’ve absorbed the repercussions in the way that we have and made them, as you say, a part of the norm.

  2. Spetember 11th 2001 was a terrible tragedy, but more tragic still is the way we have responded by making the world even more unsafe than it was then. Your poem raises really important issues that too many people seem to be willing to ignore.

  3. History tells us at least two things: There is no such thing as safety..and also that history fails to teach us. This is not the fault of history, but of humanity. We can only hope that our humanity will grow into something more worthy of our creation and our time on this planet. Your offering is thoughtful, original, and beautifully executed. Thank you 🙂 xoxo

  4. wow…you stilled me thinking back to that day…and the thoughts as well of how the new normal has just become normal again….i def think we lost the dfinition of safe and sadly it has pushed us closer to the edge of every man for themselves…

  5. I think events like this eat away at belief–there is indeed only fear and terror and the desire to strike back–and of course, that’s the survival instinct we are wired with–yet I think one day we’ll wake up and find we lost a lot more than the sad tally of deaths and fallen buildings. An excellent and clear-sighted piece.

  6. And how that September morning,
    ‘The War against Terror’-
    (And it was our TERROR)
    is now just another chapter
    in high school History books… hard to believe in a way that something that hit us so immediately is another chapter in the book of history…to be read and re-read but then felt and re-felt as well

  7. Great poem with a lot of pathos and soul-searching, the search for clarity and sense, the longing for the innocent time before a nation’s peace was barbarically ruptured. These are words which many, many Americans can identify with. I love how the poet presents the images of ash and desert sand, and the transformation of innocent doves to those with a hawkish nature. ~ D

  8. I suspect that a lot of our un-ease stems from the fact that we thought we were safe before and we have been proved wrong… and now are not sure where safe is. I suspect, though that safe is a relative term…. and our day will open to us as it will each morning… a day we must face and make a life out of it. So I wish you all faith to open the day with the sure knowledge that your life is waiting and we are resurrected as country… and we are called upon to be a resurrected people after all. God speed.

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