Tag Archives: 9-11

Open Mic – setlist

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Insanely good night – good poetry – good readers – and I had a good reading.. even while I recognized the terribly solemn. . .there was  good stuff to be found.

originally posted here – 

Because When You’re Six – 

To be honest, I would like to forget, I would prefer not to remember.  I would enjoy not knowing.  I don’t want to be given some CNN, narrated by Wolf Blitzer, version of the event.

And to be honest, there’s no way I could forget feeling by 9:45am that world was bound to be ending.  People fell out of the sky. Men ran not away from, but into fires. And me, I became a grown woman by 10:22.

That day was perfect, blue skies in Boston, as far as you could see.  And while I was downing a coffee to erase a Monday night Jack and Coke bender,  I remember smiling as I rounded the corner on to Huntington ave.

But then  within minutes, in only the time it took to start a computer, every email I sent to someone I knew in NYC said, “are you okay, is everyone you know okay?”

Every phone line was jammed, I woke my brother in my mother’s house, and said “turn on the tv”.

The Harvard docs we intended to send to Atlanta out of Logan that day — – so we were afraid –had come back to our conference room – and I watched grown men with PhD’s shatter.

When released from work, like most of Boston that day, The paper box on the corner held the Globe’s first Extra in fifty years.  “War” is all it spoke.

And the walk out to the bus stop, the free bus ride home, it was as if Boston had been abandoned, because every doc who worked in the medical area that day, had caught a ride to NYC, because they thought there would be more wounded, more survivors.

I walked into a six bedroom house full of all those people, my family by circumstance, not birth.  More home at that minute, than it had ever been before.

And that TV that I said to turn on, stayed on for days, and my heart  hurt for every mother, father, wife, husband, and child.  My heart hurt for my grandfather who was no longer bordering on stupendous.

Dan Rather lost it on Letterman, and I lost it too. Wondered how anyone managed to live through anything like this with all  of their heart intact.

The half a pack-of smokes began to border on a whole, the two beers, became more, and I was dying to be able to wave a magic wand, and stop all those kids from being shipped away to fight a war in some frat boy’s passion play.

Forget, how could I – how could anyone, when four planes managed to rip out the heart of our Constitution, and deliver us an Act so Patriotic, that we began to question the Quakers in Maine.

Not remember, how would I – when it was just people going to work, and doing their jobs,  like I did that day. Except mine was the just the city they flew the planes out of, not into.

So pardon me, if I don’t let the media get one more ad buy from my viewing today. Pardon me, if I sound a little bitter, but, there’s not a person over 13 who can’t tell you where they were that day–

“We had gone to Atkins for a field-trip for Preschool, Ms. B, to get  cider donuts , but we had to come home, and eat our donuts on the bus. That’s what I remember Ms. B”.

Ms. B, I thought it was our Northampton airport that it happened at – though the planes had crashed there, silly huh, Ms. B?”

Not so silly – because when your six, your world gets to be that small.

So if I tell you that my heart still breaks, that I still hold my breath when a plane flies too low, and that I still get tears when I see a fireman in NYC, If I tell you all that, then, will you just let me be,  will you just let me forget.

 

Because when you are six —

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To be honest, I would like to forget, I would prefer not to remember.  I would enjoy not knowing.  I don’t want to be given some CNN, narrated by Anderson Cooper, version of the event.

And to be honest, there’s no way I could forget feeling by 9:45am that world was bound to be ending.  People fell out of the sky. Men ran not away from, but into fires. And me, I became a grown woman by 10:22. Read the rest of this entry

baby can you hear the train

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my seniors were just eleven.

and scared.
one said to me today, “ms. bernier, i thought they meant something happened at the hamp airport.” (A tiny little hanger, not so much an airport). Then she giggled, “isn’t that silly?”
so silly it almost made me cry. because when you’re eleven, your world still gets to be that small.

in the gym, the band played, because it rained, and we couldn’t be out in the sun. first time it’s rained on this day in so long.
rain – shakin’ out the dust.
so we’re in the gym in the early morn, and the drums are loud in my ears. some words that sound gentler today… talkin’ about remembering – talkin’ about human kindness, come out of the mouth of one of my favorite favorites.
and then Taps.
and for the third year in a row, i stare way up, hoping the tears will stay put.
because i think about my granpas, and how once they were someone’s son far away from home.
and i think about the mamas all over this very small globe, who mourn for their children lost too soon.
and i cry.
in front of three hundred and seven people.
and i’m not ashamed.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

self evident, by ani difranco
yes,
us people are just poems
we’re 90% metaphor
with a leanness of meaning
approaching hyper-distillation
and once upon a time
we were moonshine
rushing down the throat of a giraffe
yes, rushing down the long hallway
despite what the p.a. announcement says
yes, rushing down the long stairs
with the whiskey of eternity
fermented and distilled
to eighteen minutes
burning down our throats
down the hall
down the stairs
in a building so tall
that it will always be there
yes, it’s part of a pair
there on the bow of noah’s ark
the most prestigious couple
just kickin back parked
against a perfectly blue sky
on a morning beatific
in its indian summer breeze
on the day that america
fell to its knees
after strutting around for a century
without saying thank you
or please

and the shock was subsonic
and the smoke was deafening
between the setup and the punch line
cuz we were all on time for work that day
we all boarded that plane for to fly
and then while the fires were raging
we all climbed up on the windowsill
and then we all held hands
and jumped into the sky

and every borough looked up when it heard the first blast
and then every dumb action movie was summarily surpassed
and the exodus uptown by foot and motorcar
looked more like war than anything i’ve seen so far
so far
so far
so fierce and ingenious
a poetic specter so far gone
that every jackass newscaster was struck dumb and stumbling
over ‘oh my god’ and ‘this is unbelievable’ and on and on
and i’ll tell you what, while we’re at it
you can keep the pentagon
keep the propaganda
keep each and every tv
that’s been trying to convince me
to participate
in some prep school punk’s plan to perpetuate retribution
perpetuate retribution
even as the blue toxic smoke of our lesson in retribution
is still hanging in the air
and there’s ash on our shoes
and there’s ash in our hair
and there’s a fine silt on every mantle
from hell’s kitchen to brooklyn
and the streets are full of stories
sudden twists and near misses
and soon every open bar is crammed to the rafters
with tales of narrowly averted disasters
and the whiskey is flowin
like never before
as all over the country
folks just shake their heads
and pour

so here’s a toast to all the folks who live in palestine
afghanistan
iraq

el salvador

here’s a toast to the folks living on the pine ridge reservation
under the stone cold gaze of mt. rushmore

here’s a toast to all those nurses and doctors
who daily provide women with a choice
who stand down a threat the size of oklahoma city
just to listen to a young woman’s voice

here’s a toast to all the folks on death row right now
awaiting the executioner’s guillotine
who are shackled there with dread and can only escape into their heads
to find peace in the form of a dream

cuz take away our playstations
and we are a third world nation
under the thumb of some blue blood royal son
who stole the oval office and that phony election
i mean
it don’t take a weatherman
to look around and see the weather
jeb said he’d deliver florida, folks
and boy did he ever

and we hold these truths to be self evident:
1 george w. bush is not president
2 america is not a true democracy
3 the media is not fooling me
cuz i am a poem heeding hyper-distillation
i’ve got no room for a lie so verbose
i’m looking out over my whole human family
and i’m raising my glass in a toast

here’s to our last drink of fossil fuels
let us vow to get off of this sauce
shoo away the swarms of commuter planes
and find that train ticket we lost
cuz once upon a time the line followed the river
and peeked into all the backyards
and the laundry was waving
the graffiti was teasing us
from brick walls and bridges
we were rolling over ridges
through valleys
under stars
i dream of touring like duke ellington
in my own railroad car
i dream of waiting on the tall blonde wooden benches
in a grand station aglow with grace
and then standing out on the platform
and feeling the air on my face

give back the night its distant whistle
give the darkness back its soul
give the big oil companies the finger finally
and relearn how to rock-n-roll
yes, the lessons are all around us and a change is waiting there
so it’s time to pick through the rubble, clean the streets
and clear the air
get our government to pull its big dick out of the sand
of someone else’s desert
put it back in its pants
and quit the hypocritical chants of
freedom forever

cuz when one lone phone rang
in two thousand and one
at ten after nine
on nine one one
which is the number we all called
when that lone phone rang right off the wall
right off our desk and down the long hall
down the long stairs
in a building so tall
that the whole world turned
just to watch it fall

and while we’re at it
remember the first time around?
the bomb?
the ryder truck?
the parking garage?
the princess that didn’t even feel the pea?
remember joking around in our apartment on avenue D?

can you imagine how many paper coffee cups would have to change their design
following a fantastical reversal of the new york skyline?!

it was a joke, of course
it was a joke
at the time
and that was just a few years ago
so let the record show
that the FBI was all over that case
that the plot was obvious and in everybody’s face
and scoping that scene
religiously
the CIA
or is it KGB?
committing countless crimes against humanity
with this kind of eventuality
as its excuse
for abuse after expensive abuse
and it didn’t have a clue
look, another window to see through
way up here
on the 104th floor
look
another key
another door
10% literal
90% metaphor
3000 some poems disguised as people
on an almost too perfect day
should be more than pawns
in some asshole’s passion play
so now it’s your job
and it’s my job
to make it that way
to make sure they didn’t die in vain
sshhhhhh….
baby listen
hear the train?