September 11, 2002: 9/11 Year Anniversary Issue


week of September 11, 2002

this week featuring 11 poems by 11 poets responding to September 11

Lyn Barzilai
Michael H Brownstein
Janet Buck
Peter Desmond
Mary Eastham
Alec Kowalczyk

here for submission guidelines

Lyn Barzilai

Bio (auto)

My name is Lyn Barzilai, and I’m currently completing my doctorate in the field of contemporary poetry at Haifa University I was a poet of the week last year This poem was written in response to the universal upheaval in the wake of the Sept 11th attack, and how that attack filtered down into lives across the world.

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Lyn Barzilai and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

15th September

A lone glider drifts down
into the sand dunes A flock of autumn birds
swirls across the face of a water-colour sky
and a bloody sun The car radio plays Joni Mitchell:
the moon is in Cancer In TEl Aviv, there is a memorial rally for American victims
Strewed under the crooked scribble of Manhattan’s skyline
The clouds drift It’s Saturday evening,
and we are on our way to a family celebration There will be wine and songand many showy waiters,
and young girls dressed in glittering outfits.

Michael Brownstein

Bio (auto)

Michael H Brownstein (Chicago) has been featured on the Poetry Super Highway site

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Michael Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Mesa Verde

September 12, 2001

Now I see the Sears Tower in a different light
–a Chicago taxicab driver to a passenger
.heading to the Loop

Clouds do not shape the future,
nor stone, ebony, a break in straw Past the Kennedy Expressway,
after the merge to the Edens,
somewhere between Addison and Belmont,
shadow buildings shadow buildings–
Sears Tower, the Amoco, Hancock, others–
rise from the fog and sky cover
like concrete over steel stairs,
like storms gathering across Lake Michigan,
like the ashen skin colorings of all of us,
like the way we look at things familiar–
and then they’re gone

Janet Buck

Bio (auto)

Janet Buck is a three-time Pushcart Nominee and the author of four collections of poetry Her work has recently appeared in Three Candles, PoetryBay, Red River Review, Artemis, The Pedestal Magazine, Runes, Stirring, Poetry, Southern Ocean Review, CrossConnect, Offcourse, The American Muse, and hundreds of journals world-wide In 2001 and 2002, Buck has received awards from Kota Press, Sol Magazine, Kimera, L’Intrigue, and The Critical Poet Her poem “Acrylic Thighs” was recently featured at The United Nation’s Exhibit Hall in NYC She lives in Medford, Oregon

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Janet Buck and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Settled Ash

Workers wrapped in cotton masks
are witnessing a massive grave A gray cortège of semi-trucks
in slow parades across
the clotted Brooklyn Bridge:
“Blood remains on beams of steel the strangest part, we found
no doors, no knobs,
just menus from a restaurant,
a brief case with its handles on,
belly slats from crashing planes “

Backs are sore from heaving rubble Thighs are stiff like brand
new reeds for clarinets
while carnal questions all batons New York will never be the same A fireman’s helmet rocks its egg The profit share of hate is hate,
and yet religion led us here The terror trail is all uphill When fences choke a single globe,
of course the wires will leave a scar
Here’s hoping footprints change their shape,
spines grow straight as noble furs
without forgetting seasons rinsed
in tons of wicked gasoline Museum thrones will sift and glass
the peelings of sorrow and horror Our history books will all discuss
icy caves that harbored tryst,
the breaking of the olive branch Push borders of the kindness now —
they say an amaryllis grows
because the dark has been a stage.

Peter Desmond

Bio (auto)

Peter Desmond’s poetry has appeared in Boston Poet, Compost, Ibbetson Street Press, 96 Inc, Raintown Review, Tucumcari Literary Review, and on the websites Poetry Porch and Poetry SuperHighway Over the last ten years he has recited his poems at bars, churches, art galleries, antiwar rallies, a funeral, and an accounting conference Peter has won two Cambridge Poetry Awards and a first prize for the Utne Cafe in the April 2000 Interboard Poetry Contest In real life he prepares tax returns for several hundred writers, artists, and musicians in the Cambridge, Mass , area

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Peter Desmond and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Good Morning, Uzbekistan!

It’s great to be here We’ll name our new military airport
after your most famous son,
the great mathematician
Muhammad al-Khwarizmi,
who lived in the ninth century
of the Christian era —
sorry, the Common Era
We’ll build Firebase Algorithm,
a word derived from his last name The book he wrote, Kitab Al-Jabr,
christened the field of algebra Whoops! We should have said
Al-Jabr was its basis
We’ll add a lot more bases Your social problems might multiply
as we search for X, then Y, then Z,
the unknown quantities,
the solutions to our problem,

but we’re grateful for your support,
glad that al-Khwarizmi
developed the “calculus of two errors “
It will help us differentiate
terror from infinite justice —
make that “enduring freedom “

We give thanks that al-Khwarizmi
launched the decimal system,
so we can keep easy body counts,
flash results on television,
and when the Great Game ends
post the scores in Arabic numerals:
Muslims, zero Christians, zero Civilization, zero.

(published in the 2002 issue of 96 Inc magazine)

Mary Eastham

Bio (auto)

MARY EASTHAM is a San Jose, California poet and short story writer A former advertising copywriter, she has most recently won awards for her poetry published in the Paterson Literary Review, Steel Point Quaterly, Circle Magazine, Tongue Magazine,This Hard Wind and the Red Rock Review Her short story ‘Destiny of Joy’ recently won the First Place Fiction Award in Cleveland State University’s Annual Contest She is in the process of completing her first poetry collection entitled, ‘The Shadow of a Dog I Can’t Forget’

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Mary Eastham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Forgive .Move On .Remember

He tells anyone who will listen
forgive .move on .remember
He lost Betty in the attacks
wears her name in big gold letters
around his neck He knows you can’t steal a heart
fling it against barbed wire,
then lay it back down
inside a chest Beat .Beat
On Fridays he cleans her grave
then walks toward no address
remembering how much she loved Pepsi
and the color pink
He carries her fluffy mohair sweater
in his backpack, pulls it out when the pain
feels like thunder trapped under the skin
He saw her once
staring over his shoulder in a mirror “This is not the only place we are passing through,”
she said “Love the world still “
And so he began again, telling anyone who will listen
Forgive .move on .remember

Alec Kowalczyk

Bio (auto)

Native of South Troy, New York Civil engineer by day with an interest in the mechanics of poetry

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Alec Kowalczyk and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


9 / 11 / 2001
one week after the day

hundreds of commuter cars
abandoned in parking lots

one chalk stroke to a tire
for each passing day

and a patriotic ribbon
for every antenna

Corey Mesler

Bio (auto)

Corey Mesler (Memphis Tennessee) is one of the judges of the 2002 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Corey Mesler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Bobbie Ann Mason Autograph Party

.September 24, 2001

At the Bobbie Ann Mason
Autograph Party
the guests drank screwtop wine
and nibbled garlic crackers At 6 p.m sharp
they took their seats as Ms Mason read from her
newest stories Over the heads of
guests and speaker alike
floated an air of relief:
there was no CNN and no one
mentioned the words bin Laden Everyone left with a
contented smile, a pat to the
forearm of the nearest companion
at the Bobbie Ann Mason
Autograph Party Around quarter to seven a grating
voice, loud as
bloweth wynde in helle,
a CBer driving by,
came over the stereo speakers Bobbie Ann Mason
covered her head as if, well, as if
she feared falling bodies.

Leslie Maryann Neal

Bio (auto)

Leslie Maryann Neal lives in Los Angeles where she works in a bookstore and designs t-shirts

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Leslie Maryann Neal and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Scenes from an Airplane After September 11th

Thirty seven thousand feet above New Mexico,
cities are smoldering microchips lined up in the dust
of someone’s back garden A dirty kid
with a magnifying glass turns the sun into a weapon
How strange to watch the horizon,
haze like the smudge of a giant filthy thumb,
and see the curve of the earth
Flying east, night comes faster Sunset’s pink streak is gone in ten minutes,
leaving the moon, a lemon rind
discarded in the dark
Inside the cabin, the engine is one note
played on a guitar with incredibly high distortion The voices of the chattering women
are reduced to a series of S’s
Ice forms on the windows, creeps
from the edges until it covers the glass, 
contorting the night sky into shades of gray
During our on-flight meal, I resist
the urge to pocket the plastic knife.

Angel Perales

Bio (auto)

Angel Perales lives in Studio City, California and works for KCBS Channel 2 News in Los Angeles He is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts and has worked for Hard Copy, Entertainment Tonight, and Paramount Pictures He has one collection of poetry, Brown Recluse, (Rumrazor Press, 2002, 97 pages)

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Angel Perales and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


Vigilance arises
with dread and the
King of Terror hides
his twisted calumny
With dread the reporters
chase after their glory The gossips caw in their beauty
parlors while the men walk

slowly to gaze out their office
windows half-listening to the
talk talk talk radios, these owners
of their world- self-determined
So much for dinner talks and movies The children can&Mac226;Äôt sleep, if
they do they fear the sleep
of reason, 
whose slumber struck
at forty-five degrees; the ash
will drift for eternity or at
least twenty-seven years
Awaken all ye gossips
with bright red shiny nails Let your men escape out of
their self-imposed jails
Let all join the heroic efforts
where the scattered flames
leapt up, where we transform
from the great mass invisible

to indivisible The reporters
will chase after our combined
glory The rivers will run red,
the fear will burn white,

our thunder will ring true We
will ferret out and destroy all
who threaten our decreed
goodwill towards humanity
The men will return to their
stark offices once again The gossips will gather and
squawk under the hairdryers.

Robert J Savino

Bio (auto)

Robert J Savino resides in West Islip, NY  He is a native Long Island poet-by-desire and bank officer-by-need His poetry appears in a number of literary journals, including: Bone & Flesh, The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Negative Capability and Poetry Motel
R.J was Poetry Super Highway-Poet of the Week-JUN 1999

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Robert J Savino and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Turning Point

Early Chinese poets claimed popularity
filling mountain air with intoxicated verse Rocks grew life Frogs shout out of the deep dark
Li T’ai Po drowned attempting to kiss
the moon’s reflection in a river
that disappeared from time
I became avaricious, flirted with success,
lured by a world of chaos and connectivity There were no boundaries, pockets never empty
I never took time to think of tomorrow,
never thinking it could be today;
or that any day soon I might near
the quiet doorway, dying of terror
Yet, in a moment’s burst of friendly clouds,
silver bullets alter the skyline,
leave night crawlers tunneling to dead eyes,
leave me changing clothes in my upstairs attic,
dazzled by a world
I don’t want a symmetrical garden,
curved-stone bench, stockade package I want to live without fences.

Diane Siegel

Bio (auto)

Diane Siegel lives in Northridge, California  A graduate of Syracuse University, she has been a teacher and community activist and currently works as an educator in museums  Her poems have been published in the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly This year she served on the advisory board for WriteGirl a new writing/mentoring initiative in Los Angeles that pairs professional women writers with teen girls who want to write

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Diane Siegel and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Still Standing:  Trip to Ground Zero

I look up and see them
The towers
Familiar landmark
But in bronze instead of stone
Above my head because they sit
On the shelf above my computer

Along with the Empire State Building also in bronze
The Seattle Space Needle
The Statue of Liberty
The Leaning Tower of Pisa in porcelain
With holes so you can shake out
Parmesan Cheese

Started collecting small buildings three years ago
Nesting together on the bookcase in front of my window
Making a miniature skyline
Transforming the dry canyon outside my office window
Into something more cosmopolitan
The world brought together

Within reach
The Washington Monument next to
The black soapstone pyramid
The Bonaventure Hotel
A fancy drink holder
Next to the tall glass Eiffel tower in bottle form

Reassuring to put the world on a shelf
To assume that all the buildings in all the cities
Would get along
Would celebrate their civility
Enjoy getting to mix with others of their ilk

The kitsch of life is an after breath of true aspiration
Membership in the world community
Testified to by a motley group of cheap souvenirs
Wanting to make my allegiance to things beyond
My room
My canyon
My State

Sad when I look at them now and think of them
Not as celebrations of lofty ambition
But as targets
The Achilles heels of our Western culture
Stuck way up into the air

Why surprise then
When at the actual site of these fallen towers
I find such kitsch and hucksterism
Check it out Check it out
She says to the tourists
Come by subway to see the sanitized void that
Used to be rubble and dust

She is selling postcards of
The towers
While we look through holes in the green tarp
We peek at the

We brought the camera
Not to pose with a smile
Our family arrayed in front of the
Ground Zero theme park
But to remember

To come again
To this sad piece of time

Messages scrawled on ubiquitous
I Love NY
T shirts
Tied to cemetery fences
Mark the spot where feelings rose
To meet the tragic reality

Something needs to still be standing
Something left behind
Still standing
Still standing

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