Monday, September 11, 2006

In Memoriam: 9/11

Tonight, as I was watching some of the ubiquitous 5th-anniversary-of-9/11 coverage on TV, I was pulled back, as so many Americans (and so many others) likely were, to the emotions I felt while watching the much, much more ubiquitous coverage that was taking place nearly five years ago about this tragedy. Much could be said about whether the coverage birthed and/or egged on the grieving process for the U.S., how much technology took part in that role, and whether that was healthy, but I don't really want to talk about that. I'd much rather say that I'm glad they took the time to interview some prominent poets at the time, who said that, among other things, art would help us to heal. And I'm glad that technology helped us to hear that message with the others.

It certainly helped some of us. I, of course, like so many others, wrote a (very healing, at least for me) poem about the event, and I thought it would be an appropriate memorial of the 5th anniversary to share it here:

“Seven of ten adults aren’t sleeping”

Who can sleep? with the questions
sighing above our heads and no words
to describe them much less the answers.

Oh, there have been words, borrowed words
grasping words, but we the people
are beyond finding appropriate words,

definitive words. The events (such the
wrong word, makes them sound like a
football game or concert) are so

inappropriate (and that’s the wrong
word, like some naughty kid swore
in church), so discomforting (wrong

too, as though we sat collectively on
a hard sofa), so terribly unreal and
already fading before we can catch

our breaths, before they’re counted,
before the others are done lifting the sickening
tons of human ash mixed with mighty steel

fallen. Who can sleep?

--Deborah Leiter, 9/24/2001

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