Posts Tagged ‘remember’

pearl harbor

for a while

i imagine

the memories were sharp with the smell of gunpowder

and blood

freighted with

screams or shouts and billowing black smoke

startled leap from paradise to hell

the anger



every year they were silent on that day

wearing black

or flags

or little yellow ribbons

anyone alive then remembers

the day that will live in infamy


twelve years later

after peace was struck

the planes and ships all came home

with their soldiers and sailors and pilots

all safe

my mom was born

and she doesn’t remember it

in that visceral way

sure there was a moment of silence in school

and they all learned about it in their history books


it was one of those facts

to remember for the


no sense of horror

no infamy-provoking reactions


so then there was me

born in the bountiful and coddled 80’s

that crazy decade

so rich

so safe

we were king of the world

and even the Iron Curtain fell

so everything was great

till 9/11 crashed in

(seventy years after — a lifetime)

another day to live in infamy

smoke and shouts

screams and the startled leap

down into death

breaking glass and crumbling steel

the smell of fear

as we were once again





but twelve years are passing

and the schoolkids were babies on that day

no visceral reaction

no memories of pain and panic

only a question on a test

something the teacher goes on about

and those politicians give for a reason to keep the war going

for years and


until we all forget why

and time heals all wounds

until next time


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we’ve passed the threshold now

my passport has been updated

we’ve done the ten-year anniversary

the Islamophobia’s died down

and bin Laden’s dead as well

I can listen to the second movement of Schumann’s

piano concerto and not hear

screeching metal and crumbling masonry

all the paper has been recycled

and a memorial has been built

people have had more children

or gotten remarried

and each September brings more thoughts of

apples, pumpkins, leaves, and

golden days

than flags, blood, smoke, and tears

but I will still wear black today

and my neighbor will put his flag at half-mast

I will play Barber’s Agnus Dei at quarter to nine

and my students will not understand why

but we who are old enough will pray and remember

because they are never gone

until we forget



In memory of Francisco Bourdier and the other 2,995 victims of 9-11, in conjunction with Project 2,996.

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