11 September 2006


for those who stand for courage and hope in the face of evil

The first word came from the teacher across the hall.
"A plane flew into the Trade Center." "An accident?"
"Where's the Trade Center?" "In New York, you idiot."

Fumbling for buttons
An institutional TV screen
A flash of images
A thunder of confusion
Once tall and straight,
Now torn and broken.

An announcement
Over the intercom
Switched the TV off.
They told us
Nothing would change.
They would continue on.

Papers fluttering through the air
Like a thousand shot birds
First quarter analyses
End-of-year reports
The bottom line
Raining down
A woman
At the

A grown man sitting on the street crying
Watching this scarred world being born
Pain and blood and screaming out for air.

Write, my history teacher says.
Write, because you will want to remember.
Write the day your world changed.

But as I begin,
I don't understand.
Somehow my pen fills the lines,
Committing the confusion to the page.
I can feel a shifting in the foundations of the world.
Then I know
Everything will change
But how can I continue on?

Amid the rumble,
Army, Navy, Marines

Shattered glass
Burnt steel
Broken concrete
There shall not be one stone upon another
That shall not be thrown down
As they sift through the pieces
Searching for a world
That seemed a thousand miles away
Contained in fragments of office equipment
And a wall of missing faces
Spilling over into the hall.

At that moment, we are no longer
Americans & Europeans & Asians & Africans &
Whites & Blacks & Latinos.
Americans caring about Americans--

Not Americans--

People caring about people.

We were all in New York that day
Anxiously gazing at news tickers
Full of Destruction

And when we felt we couldn't go on
This world born of fire might destroy us
There was also Good

Though the wounds of this new birth
Marred our minds, stilled our hearts,
Still that day, and everyday since,
We chose to
Switch the TV on.

Everything has changed
But we will continue on.

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