Howard Stern was on the radio then, obscenity
for everyone – or was it just reality
in language we could understand? Until a plane
broke through the punchline
to a joke. Quiet skies and sunshine, a neighbor
planting flags instead
of flowers, the same short clip
repeated onscreen to show the moment
Heaven and Hell both opened
their gates and an era began
of Who? without ever asking Why? It became
a Where were you on that day? kind
of day. No taking sides.
Water the flags
and watch them grow. There was still work
to be done: cat boxes to clean, dishes
in the sink, countries to invade. Call it
bathroom humor, call it politics,
call it the ultimate freedom of a dead-end flight.
Even a comedian
started mapping where to bomb. It became
out of doors, no sounds
overhead, nothing to disturb the inner thoughts
about living in a world
with parallel truths.
About the Poem
I first heard news of the 9/11 attacks breaking into the Howard Stern show on the radio. In that moment the Free Speech America ran straight into an America where it became difficult, as the months went by, to question the wisdom of subsequent military responses.
About the Author
David Chorlton’s writing is generally poetry although he does have a nonfiction book published this year by New Meridian Arts which addresses the wrongful conviction of one of his Austrian family members for a 1960s murder near Vienna, “The Long White Glove.” Living in Arizona for over forty years has drawn him to focus more on nature and the state’s birds.