01  Sep


not every project gets finished … this is from one which didn't … janet hood and i started writing a piece about 9/11 in the form of our show "elegies for angels, punks and raging queens" — free verse monologues from the perspective of characters who died and songs from the point of view of the living … this is one of the monologues and i post it to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 … we were in rome when it happened, at the start of a two-week trip to italy, our first … strange to experience it at that distance, but it was certainly an instant conversation opener with any americans we encountered, and lots of other people too …



i love america

my parents
brought me here from pakistan
when i was a boy
for a vacation 
and that trip was like
being transported 
to a magical kingdom

and i don’t mean disneyworld
though of course we went there

didn’t care for that
too fake
too unconnected to reality
to include “world” in its name

but new york city
that was the magic kingdom

standing on the observation deck
of the world trade center
was like standing on top of the world
where i wanted to live

so i came back
after years of studying at home
american college
and graduate school

the day i was hired
by a company at the w.t.c.
was maybe the happiest of my life

i thanked allah
for his blessings
prayed to mecca
kept the faith

that fateful day in my office
on the ninety-sixth floor
i looked up from my desk
and saw the plane
hit somewhere down below

i tried to go out and down
but the elevators and stairs were blocked
and other exit doors were locked

i hung out a window
which exploded in the blast
waving my jacket
waiting for rescue
until at last
the fire became too unforgiving
at my back
i said good-bye to living
and dived into the black morass
of smoke which billowed from below

my descent felt slow
as i flew
into the waiting arms
of the city which i loved

and now i want to know
why my brothers in allah
would do this to me
and all the others?

i always kept my balance
between two worlds
the home of my past
the god of my fathers
the world of my dreams

and even as i fell
i was heard to yell
“praise to allah
i love america”


posted by bill on September 1, 2011, at 2:38 pm | filed under news, poetry | no comments »

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