September 11

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.

*** A reposting from several years ago. 9/11 still brings me to tears.

30 thoughts on “September 11

  1. It’s important that we remember what this day was a catalyst for, as well as the events that happened on that day. You have done that with such poignance here.

  2. The new normal is just normal …
    Hundreds more lives have been sacrificed, huge amounts of money spent to bring freedom to people who were not free “our way” – and I wonder whether we have achieved anything at all. Until the powerful really listen to those who see themselves as powerless, really hear their grievances and their concerns and take them seriously, I fear that events like this, like London 7/7, like Madrid and Boston will keep happening.

    Whilst terrorism is never justified, sometimes it is the only way to be heard.

  3. A superb (and sadly very truthful) write.

    Tis true that we have accepted this new normal as normal and surround ourselves with terror and suspicion abounds.


  4. it’s disturbing at the very least how normal that normal is, you really hit on something here. unless we are directly affected by such tragedy we get stuck in the loop on cnn until after a few days, it is on to other news, we are numbed to the point that this is just another tragedy…pull together, give blood, rebuild. what happens though when it gets quiet and those who did live through it are no longer heard? great write.

  5. Normal, is no longer a useable word. What is accepted as normal changes almost as quickly as the phones we stand in line to buy when a new version comes out. Normal, is a thing of the past.
    Wonderful write. Very evocative.

  6. The scariest thing is that the new normal is a constant state of fear. It’s not the fertile ground for compassion or acceptance of others to grow…but we have to try.

  7. I wish I could understand how the new normal
    is now just NORMAL …think this is the part that moved me most…each terror attack changes something in our heart and mind, makes us lose a part of the “innocence” and crawls with its ugly tentacles all around the globe

  8. Artfully describes the on going impact of such an event – powerful and true. Offers plenty to reflect upon – thank you Kathleen…

  9. This poem serves many vital functions, touching on the personal, political and social. It covers a lot of ground well. It is overwhelming how much of our freedom we willingly sacrificed to bring ‘freedom’ to others and protect ourselves.

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