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(written one decade ago, dusted off here in memory of the fallen, including a classmate from NJ):

11 Lines for September


In Memory of Daniel Gallagher, North Tower

b. July 4, 1978 – d. September 11, 2001


Every tongue fell mute that morning

Four jets, an unholy quartet, aimed their noses

At a nation’s market, mansion and military

Poets on their fire escapes, trashmen on their hills

The recital halls and stadiums were mortuary still

A city that raced the sun to its every setting

Stopped.  But once the cameras regained their focus

Once candles cooled on every bench and bumper

Cabbies and curators, theologians and thieves – each and all agreed:

It will take more than fear, and fear’s fierce promoters,

To distract our common cause.


* * * * * * * * * * *

The Thinker


After the ash had settled over lower Manhattan

Bus stops flaked with photos of the missing

The outer boroughs grew uneasy in the shadow

Of a diminished and defeated looking skyline.

But there, in the still-warm ruins, a rescue team

Discovered the unscathed remains of a Rodin

His Thinker jutting fork-like from rock and wire

Still locked in a pose of private contemplation.

He lay upside down, separated from his stand

From the boardroom where he went largely ignored

From the janitor who, when dusting his head each evening,

Would talk to him as if he was an old friend.

He survived the heat and fury of the fall

The hour when the carpet seemed to drop away

And all the city’s homing pigeons circled above him

Searching in vain for their customary landmarks.

He suffered only the loss of his stature

And the disfigurement of a fist

Still the team hauled him from the rubble

And set him aside where he could stand

In cold remove from man’s distress.

(September 2001)

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