If I am a Tower Crumbling

I know things.
I taste the assault of air
-plane, fire,
fear. I hear
the screams. I sense the
rushed footsteps in my stair
-wells, breathe the hushed
swells of smoke
and ash and
singed hope.

I count the seconds,
minutes, watch my windows
open to a
bitter freedom.

I feel the sidewalks shudder
and the sky utter
an unhinged
cry of time
split in two.

I know who
ran out,
and who

ran in.

I know the din of
twisted metal,
bone, breath, skin,
and sacred fight
can suddenly collapse
into so much

And I know that
when I fall,
I can rise again
as light.

Prompted by Quickly in September, day 11. ..
Also shared over at Toads, open link night



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18 Responses to If I am a Tower Crumbling

  1. YES! What Misk & Angie said. ❤

  2. Shawna says:

    I love the way the title goes into the almost invisible first line: “If I am a tower-crumbling comma.” A comma is so teeny but so powerful. Like people. We feel insignificant and helpless, and yet, if used properly, we can topple towers (metaphorically speaking). And look, I know it’s Patriot Day. So I can guess at the prompt. But you’ve embedded Tower of Babel stuff, and you’re comparing yourself to a tower, and also to a comma. You feel useless all the time, but you know that when you’re properly centered (like the poem), you will be on top of things and live out a great purpose.

    I also love that you started out with “I know things.” What an excellent hook. You had me captivated immediately. Homophone play in stair/stare. “I hear fear.” “I sense the screams.” Love “wells breathe the hush”

    The last two stanzas are especially divine. Homophone play in “light” as well.

  3. An extremely difficult topic to write on. You wrote a powerful tribute. I read it this morning, came back now to read it again. It’s haunting, beautiful.

  4. Just when I begin to think everything has said that can be said about that day, you come along with …A tower, crumbling” Even after so many years, I can feel the same rush of fear, panic pain. This belongs with the best of 9/ll tributes.

  5. This is excellent. And very moving. “singed hope” – yikes. “bitter freedom” — where is freedom, anyway? “sidewalks shudder” – another great image. I love how there is a special place for those who “ran in.”
    And the ending. We have to believe in that ending or it’s all for naught.
    I love Shawna’s take on the comma as well. I did not notice it at first – it’s so little and inconspicuous – I was thinking it could be a small quotation mark – the tower beckoning you over to give it your hear …. kind of like a “psst” and then “I know things.”
    Or maybe it’s just a signal that we have to keep an eye out for those small, inconspicuous things. Hindsight is 20/20, but it’s so hard to see things for what they are at the time.

  6. Marie Elena says:

    Oh my De … my De …
    Your heart, paired with your love and understanding of words and utterly amazing ability to use them … oh my …

  7. Linda E.H. says:

    wow, De. You have taken this simple prompt and made it into something bigger and more meaninful. This is one of those “damn, I wish I’d written that” poems as well as “a poem that needed to be written”.. You’ve captured the being of the towers excellently.

  8. David says:

    Speechless, wiping my eyes, still, speechless.

  9. julespaige says:

    Excellent. Knowing the fall, and able to rise.
    Reminds me of when I lived in an apartment building and the walls were thin…
    Not quite the same in suburbia, but it is good to know ones neighbors. 🙂

  10. The perspective from the tower is very good.. the references to Babel likewise.. and the tumbling chaos of destructive.. still also a tower can rise again.. wonder

  11. Cosmos Cami says:

    So so beautiful. I am (nearly) speechless.
    I love this stanza best:
    I feel the sidewalks shudder
    and the sky utter
    an unhinged
    cry of time
    split in two.

    The rhythm here could be likened to the buckling of those crumbling towers.
    I love this repetitive message that the building knows things.
    I am so impressed with the tenderness here.
    Just beautiful.

  12. An extremely powerful tribute, Friend! You capture every aspect of our greatest tragedy and gave it plenty of heart. I. loved. this. poem!

  13. hedgewitch says:

    I’ve always found the Towers hard to write about–you seem to encapsulate so much here effortlessly., or at any rate, you give that appearence, and the reading experience is flowing and faultless. I especially like your enjambent in the ‘I know who went out’ lines, and the very strong finish.

  14. Marian says:

    oh, man. wow. i know who ran out, and i know who ran in.
    universal, painful, really beautiful and striking.

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