Saturday, March 17, 2007

When It Began, A Foreboding Day in New York

Four years of madness. I was at 4Cs in New York City in 2003 when it was all beginning. What have we done?

VERNAL EQUINOX, 2003, New York City

Light and dark are supposed to be equal
but today in the caverns of New York
darkness seems to have the edge.

Across from my thirteenth floor room
CNNS's unlucky strobe flickers in every
office cube. I pull the red drapes shut.

I'm here to give a paper on failure, bad
joke. For airport safety, no laptop: revising
words come hard to the yellow pad. My pen

leaks blue splotches on my hand, blots
the insufficient page. My head's congested
from the half-empty flight, the ride through

Lincoln Tunnel, where guardsmen stood with guns.
In every elevator, tiny TVs report first casualties
while we stand, hypnotized and horrified, waiting

for doors to open. Tanks like buffalo graze
haunted sand, the only green the spooky network
night lights. We get on, we get off, brass doors closing

at our backs. I drink green tea and try to concentrate,
turn to books I brought for comfort: Rilke and
Marquez: "It was inevitable" -- again and again --

"the scent of bitter almonds." Then, a loud crash,
right here in New York. I run to the window, push
open the drapes, my heart a panicky fist. But

below, people walk unfazed, the busy night trade
seemingly unchanged. And then another boom,
and I understand it's thunder -- simply thunder

and a stun of lightning, and then
a deluge of rain, tarnished silver,
heavy and streaking the high windows.

(Thanks to Dunes Review, where this first appeared)

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