Friday, September 12, 2008

A poem for 9/11

Ode to Compassion
-a Lament for September 11th

Do not
my tears
for I am a man
and I need
to weep I need to weep
because I sit and watch alone: alone
being not the point the point being
the coarse salt of an unyielding dirt storm
and the personal salt
of my nephew from waiting
for news of his father
the salt of the world being the point being pored being the taste
being the cause of tasteless concrete dust
being the uncertain point
of where to begin of where to place ourselves
in our own uncertainty
uncertain future uncertain place
uncertain time uncertain tears
my nephew’s father is alone
for four hours in a dust storm of man-made ash
not being able to phone home to speak to his children his three boys
speaking with his family later he has no words no tears no place to stand
he is a rich stockbroker who is poor and he cries and he cries for a word
any word to place his life any word to answer the black flames of death raining from his transformed sky he needs
life pass the tears pass the past he needs
a word
of love of life to restore him he is alone
alone with his thoughts alone with his
children he is a father with his sons and his ex-wife alone for dinner after
he fought to reach home alone
he answers his nine year old in his thoughts not knowing any answer pass silence.

Alone being the uncertainty of the world of history, uncertain on how to be
in his home that is no longer home
alone not being the point
or the only point of his tears are the world’s tears
the world looking for its son,
its sons and daughters
who have died alone in a cascade
of cement in a war that no one knew was happening
Not knowing who,
who is gone, gone is a world
in mourning
a world looking to war to answer death
with death choose life you say choose it all
solitude tears aloof alone
God we need home again
I need to cry to be alone.

I need
to cry crying to be with
the mothers and fathers and with a message
of “I love you, mommy” left on a cell
phone from a twenty-seven year old girl
in a tower soon to be rubble towering above her
her mother
is alone with the daughter’s voice
I need to be
with the dead daughter on the plane
planning to be in Los Angles only to leave
her father and mother in San Diego
leaving her parents to us, we in
and I need
I need to cry.

alone God
God I am standing
at this modern cross, our cross
And we stand at this foot
of your Cross, cross-eyed, and powerless
in front of our television sets without
a vision standing in front of a box empty
nailed to the ground standing inept
offering useless tears standing

And I need
to weep again, and again and again and
stand with Mary Magdalene with Mary your mother
offering only their tears our tears
our tears to mingle with your blood, their blood
with your sweat of the eternal cross they are standing
together alone
on the march toward the cross with their cross
on your beaten shoulder alone
alone in the sudden realization of death
stinging the choice of life they are
with you, God dying before them before us

powerful tears of lamentation for their Lord
our Lord the Lord dying offering up our
tears alone.
What is the use of this transformed water?
This salty water? This living water trailing down our cheek staining our over priced shoes? What good to those dying before the eyes of a powerless world? God,
we need you now. Do not say no
to the sobbing to the teardrops forming a shield
forming a river two-thousand years
long and new as this day needs answers
needing to give answers
to the nine year-old wanting his father to have
a safer job. Safer? Safer than financial planning? Safe not being as real as those many dead
God knows the truth of the so long ago tears tears being the point the point being so much blind hatred of men lost into their own blindness fools making sense
of a New York City mourning of New York State mourning of our Nation mourning all those fearing war
and calling for forgiveness as if forgiving would be
big enough. Forgive?
not knowing
what we can do.
God crucified for us,
together for each other
Mary Magdalene
we stand with you who
can only offer your tears to the one
who saved you from your demons
we need saving from our demons
crying the tears of being so lost so
weeping for our losses we are
powerless as we try to crack open
our helplessness our hopelessness
hatching out in our meekness
to mourning to praying

Before God we wail, we rend our clothes with ash-buried faces
we pray for peace we weep
crying out for your good news
of reconciliation
of new relationship
of the resurrection
of a transformed world
as one


we are

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