Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm

SEE ALSO: TRYING TO HOLD A BOX OF LIGHT (photos, realistic to abstract)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

THE FALL OF THE TOWERS (haibun series about 9/11) by Roswila

(haibun series written on and immediately after 9/11,
when living in New York City)

witnessed or heard:
the best in us
brought out by the worst

I live in New York City. Although I work quite some distance from the World Trade Center, the Israeli Consulate is right across the street and the UN is around the corner:

where to go
and how to get there

* * *

I tell my roommate
please leave this building:
my calm cracks

The cloud of smoke, ash and debris looks to be a couple of blocks away, but is way downtown:

looming ever larger:
the clouds
of a towering demise

The sidewalks are crowded with purposefully walking people. There is hardly any vehicle traffic, but for the ambulances, fire trucks, and police vans:

the sirens wail -- we walk and walk

For a couple of blocks I stumble along slowly in the wake of an elderly lady and her day worker companion. The old lady tries to talk her companion into leaving her immediately and going home to her children. The worker graciously refuses, carefully supporting her charge and saying she'll see her home and fix her meals for the day first:

each more concerned
for the other:
their caring sustains me

* * *

my feet and knees ache,
and calves cramp:
I am grateful

Once home, I learn the horrific details over the next several days. The cloud of debris and ash is mostly a clingy, white, irritating powder. Rescue and health workers help to wipe the faces and wash out the eyes of those escaping from the buildings before their collapse:

but for their faces:
grief and unbelief

* * *

burning in fetal
position: a woman
from the sky

* * *

flightless birds:
they hold hands and jump
from the burning tower

* * *

North Tower collapses:
hundreds of hands reach skyward
as if to stop it

* * *

of smoke and debris:
surreal Tsunami

A man tells of the woman in a wheelchair he helped carry down sixty eight flights of stairs. He chokes on tears because he is not sure she got far enough away before the collapse:

they carry her down
sixty eight flights:
herculean hearts

* * *
evening at "ground zero":
ankle deep in ashes
and pulverized cement

* * *
silhouette: 30 feet
of jagged columns,
remains of 110 stories

* * *

Russian speaking man
combs smoking ruins:
whom has he lost?

* * *

wind shift -- acrid smoke blankets

* * *

downtown friend
evacuates to Queens

* * *
after a day
of body bags only:
"Five Alive! Five Alive!"

Stunned and determined people wander, showing all they meet photos of their sons and daughters, wives, husbands, fiancés, in laws, cousins, friends, co workers:

their fear -- trembling in check

* * *
Viet Nam vets
search the rubble:

* * *
photos posted
of missing loved ones:
Wall of Prayers

* * *

day of prayer:
in France,
"Today we are all American"

* * *

a Canadian sings
our Anthem:
I am reduced to sobs

* * *
below the mountain of debris:
seven more stories

* * *
doctor's video:
firefighter distress whistle

* * *
makeshift memorial
my window sill
candle, flag and flowers

I live only a 25 minute bus ride from La Guardia airport. We are also not that far from mid town Manhattan. The fighter planes, and then the first commercial flights to start again, are nerve wracking. Any siren or loud noise makes me jump:

in the grip of trauma:
sudden or loud noises

The public now has access to areas just east of "ground zero." Cars and bikes, twisted and flattened by the collapses, had been hauled out of the way of rescue vehicles, and line the streets:

buried in flowers:
twisted car hauled
from ground zero

A mother tells her child that God will lift her father up to heaven:

the child asks
"Does God have
enough hands?"

A group of teenagers drives 20 hours straight from Alabama to offer comfort and appreciation, music and food, to our firefighters:

"We are only a few
but we carry the love of a million"
onlookers cry and hug

* * *

the gap in the skyline -- our splitting hearts

A determined father repeats the story of his missing daughter to all he meets. He explains he has no videos of her because she would yell at him not to film her:

"I would give anything
to have her yell at me"
overcome by tears

My roommate and I join the 7:00 p.m. candle light vigil, lighting ours on our terrace. We alternately hold a grief filled silence, and voice our thoughts:

prayer before the rain:
may no one trapped
be suffering

A feeling of unreality keeps surfacing. But now, I am either in grief or anxiety constantly:

it sinks deep:
day of endless tears
and worry

I worry about the families of those who died. How will they manage? And how can we prevent more ignorant attacks on our own American immigrants by their fellow Americans? I fall asleep thinking about this last and have a dream about two people escaping from something:

the foreign man is innocent --
she's not pregnant,
it's a bomb

I am surprised at the depth of my fear that underlies the thought I struggle with that war might be necessary:

easier to stand
against war:

How will those rescue workers cope weeks, months and years down the road? (They must not be forgotten like the Viet Nam vets.) I remember the 1993 bombing of the Towers, Oklahoma City, and the Civil War. I have more respect than ever for how the British survived the on going WWII bombings; for how any people survive attack and then rebuild:

worrying -- writing -- praying


[haibun (prose paragraphs with haiku) written all during 9/11 and immediately after, and is only part of the writing I ultimately did. I lived in New York City at the time. And have only in the past week or two realized how traumatizing it was for me, echoing intense childhood traumas as it did. I remember being compelled to do all this writing, thinking these things must not be forgotten. When I re-read it today for the first time in years I found myself shaking and crying at a level I've not done before. Did I unconsciously realize back then when I was writing, that I'd need to fully remember someday in order to heal? In any case, I re-post this series with the deep hope that healing has come for all impacted by 9/11.]

PLEASE NOTE: in most browsers you can click on the above image for a larger version. Also, the photo accompanying a post is not necessarily meant to illustrate it, but to reflect some small, even slant aspect of the verse, similar to Japanese haiga (illustrated haiku).

There are many other sorts of posts on this blog. I indicate which are about or influenced by dreams. Some non dream focused posts are book reviews, "regular" poems (some by other writers), scifaiku, writing exercises, Tarot haiku, photos, haiga, and so on. However, most of those are in much older posts. There's a listing by month going back to early 2006, at the end of the sidebar.

* * * *
until next time, keep dreaming,

[a/k/a Patricia Kelly]
**** If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”). Roswila's other blog (dedicated to her photos only, i.e. no poetry or other writing; daily post)


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home