07  Sep

janet hood and i explored writing a piece about 9/11 using the form of elegies for angels, punks and raging queens/spoon river anthology … we ultimately abandoned it (not finding the resonance and scope we had with the aids crisis) but i like some of the things we wrote … this is a poem/monologue which seems apt in light of the official response to katrina … as we said in our youth — “question authority!”

i did what i was toldthat was the way i was raised
respect my elders
never question authority
never talk back to parents
or the nuns and brothers
in parochial school

a seamless progression
papa’s unquestioned authority at home
replaced by fealty to teachers
and the church
segueing to loyalty to the company

i played it by the book
an office drone
who took my weekly check
and the petty politics
of corporate life
without complaint

so when the plane hit the other tower
i followed my office-mates
to the ground floor
a good sheep not wanting to rock the flock

and when the announcement came
that our building was stable
and we could safely return
to our cubicles
i dutifully ascended
to the desk
where life began and ended

the rebels
and the scared
refused to go
but i said
“those in charge must know
what’s best for the rest of us
let the rable-rousers make a fuss
i’m doing what i’m told”

oh for once
to have been a little bold
to have walked out
into sun and air
dissolving in despair
into ashes
into dust

beware of placing trust
in everyone but you
and dying
because you only did
what you were told to do

posted by admin on September 7, 2005, at 1:00 am | filed under poetry | no comments »

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