This poem was written a few years ago in response to the events of September 11. 2001.
I wondered what it might be like to walk into a skyscraper in any city in the world the day after and wonder about the all of the people encased within it going about their daily lives, but with the knowledge of the events the day before. I hope you’ll take a moment and reflect on those that were lost.
Originally published online at The Breakfast District, this poem was part of a collection of poems that won the 2010 Creekwalker Poetry Prize.
You can listen to it being read by me here: http://web.me.com/tschabarum/Tom_Schabarum/Poetry_and_Video/Entries/2010/12/15_Skyscraper_9.12.html or simply read it here:
The workday extols the virtuous to be kind,
Be compassionate, as the lorries go forward.
Elevators lift and fall while the sky marvels at the
Intrusion of workers, the severity of wool,
An aroma of perfume placed at that one spot
Where the neck slopes at the muscle, which
Pulls you forward into the realm of possibility.
All of the sounds: the clicking shoes, blenders,
Cell phones, muffled chattering, peels of laughter,
Echo as Chaucer’s people stream by with stories
Locked in their laptops, vessels of information,
Of rhyme and meter, the sound repeating, enticing
The blind to lead rather than follow, the blessed
Men to lean close to the ground, and listen.
If the weather were not so clear, so warm, and if
Ice encrusted the windows as in winter, say,
When the wind rushes through the turnstile door,
Haphazard, like men and women together, or any
Form of love, then the moment in question, the fire
And falling bodies, the crash, would not intrude
On the day’s beauty about to unfold despite hate.