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Poems - September 11th
September 11thby beyondbliss
I spent the morning of September 11th
On the phone trying to pay old parking tickets
And excise taxes in cities where I used to live
which had somehow never caught up with me until then.
The night before my car had been stopped on I-91
traveling south to Springfield
and towed back to my house,
$115 away. My registration had expired,
but I didn’t notice because where I come from
car registration expires on your birthday,
regular as rain,
and mine wasn’t until November.
And now the RMV wouldn’t renew my plates
until I paid taxes I didn’t know about
and tickets I’d meant to contest
in cities I hadn’t lived in for two years.
I was in knots of indignant aggravation:
Pissed at my own oversights
of which there were many that year
At the RMV for their arbitrary registration dates
At the police for towing my car
instead of giving me a ticket
like they would have done in Florida
And at all the goddamn people who would not
get off the phone so I could get through
to Cambridge and Somerville and Tampa, Florida.
Over and over, all lines were busy,
And a matter of fact voice urged me to try again later.
As soon as I hung up, the phone rang
And my mother on the other end was screaming
“We’re at war! Turn on the tv!” ---
A new battle cry for the media-glutted age.
A few minutes of CNN turned my stomach upside down
And my heart inside out
And less than 5 minutes after that call
I was out the door, keys in hand,
With only one thought:
Get my son out of school.
My Arab son
with his Arabic name
with his preteen 6th grade awkwardness
that read like a bold Sharpie kick-me sign on his back
already--nevermind this new reason.
Get him out of school, I thought, before his open-minded
multi-cultural chatterbox got him into
deeper shit than his name already heaped on him.
I think it only took the vice-principal
half a heartbeat to realize why I was there
and little more to start reassuring me
that the school would tolerate
no racism, no bullying, no targeting.
She had her battle cut out for her.
No one teased him that day.
No one said anything.
Because that day, they didn’t tell the kids
what happened, just sent them home
where some of them saw the video clips
over and over again on TV
and others had TVs turned off by nervous parents
thinking “they don’t need to see this.”
Either way normal was interrupted
for an extended message
from the sponsors of terror.
In the next 24 hours
the words “Muslim” and “Arab”
became synonymous with “evil” and “terrorist”
---if they weren’t already.
The new normal that followed
included taunts of “ibn laden lover”
and “dirty arab” and at least one suggestion
that my son should kill himself,
torment spewed by other awkward adolescents
trying to make sense of the chaos that had invaded
their happy valley of privileged self-absorption.
The grownups were stressed out, some crying,
talking “war” --but to the kids
that made no sense:
where were the bombs?
They couldn’t see them
but they could feel their reverbations
So they made their own.
And life went on.
I took the school’s reassurances home.
Left the tv on. Listened to my mother.
Talked to my son.
And the next day, I went to the RMV
and renewed my plates.
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Quite amazing and I'
(Score: 1 )
by spence on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 (01:24:19)
Quite amazing and I'm sorry that you and your family have had to suffer because of this complete and utter fabrication of an 'islamic/terrorist' threat. There is no way on this earth that any of those incidents could have occured without the compliance or at least complicity of the U.S govt, in my opinion. I firmly believe we all saw the biggest insurance job in history and the perfect excuse to conquer and forage to sustain depleted oil stores. Even the date is the emergency services number in the U.S, (we have 999 here over the water)- it's almost like they left a lot of clues for conspiracy theorists to haggle over while they moved on with the successive parts of the plan. Create local conflicts and divisions and proceed! That's all racism is to me- part of a much wider strategy of total dominance. This poem is fantastic and sums up the 'anti-arab' hysteria on both sides of the atlantic- especially in the direct aftermath! My job has put me into contact with many afghan and iraqi refugees and I wondered why we would let in people who were promoted as a threat to 'our' way of life- surely borders are closed in times of war? Especially to the enemy- can you imagine letting germans into england during world war two for example?- it just would not have happened outside of the jewish community. I was in a local bar on my first holiday from work for 13 months on 9/11- I believed it for all of a night before I realised how improbable it was that the towers would both collapse and that so many planes could be hijacked simultaneously with no military response in sight. I will be branded a terrorist for having these opinions before much longer- which only proves me right in my mind. take care, spence
brilliant ! and hi !
(Score: 1 )
by anna9 on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 (08:38:15)
brilliant ! and hi !
) Hi , Spence
WELCOME TO GOTPOETRY
(Score: 1 )
by Christa on Wednesday, January 30, 2008 (12:34:17)
WELCOME TO GOTPOETRY!!! BRAVO WRITE!!!!Amazing how one minute things are bloody ugly in our little world and in the next the whole world has been turned upside down by pain. I'm sorry that your child had to endure more pain by the words of other children. I'm a single mother and even though I'm Mexican and Not Arib, I still worry every minute of every day what other children are saying to my 10 year old that would be hurting him mentally. Your a great parent I'm sure of it! ~Much Love and Thanks~ Christa
Added on: 29-Jan-2008 | Hits: 712 |