Wednesday, September 11, 2013

poem || Shane Allison



I was dreaming of Kyle Secor naked when terrorists
Flew an airplane full of people into the World Trade Center.
I mistook the explosions for lightning ‘cause it had rained the night before.
What the hell did I know about explosions
Other than what I’ve seen in a Steven Seagal movie?
Looked out the window in my underwear and R.E.M.
Tee shirt to find people running out of nearby buildings,
Down the streets of the Financial District like a herd of circus elephants.
I thought nothing of it until my roommate
Knocked on my double- room door
Crying about six people dead, fifty in critical condition.
Flipped on the TV
Where news anchors were screaming,
"A plane has crashed into the Twin Towers."
A cloud of debris fell over us.
Could smell the blood of the Wall Street work force.
I put on my jeans in fear of evacuation.
The R.A. said we couldn’t leave our rooms until further notice.
Stayed put until we were told to converge on the second floor.
But I had not washed my face.
My teeth weren’t brushed.
Needed to put on some deodorant.
Wanted my morning bowl of Rice Krispies.
Walked into a cult of frightened freshmen
Panicking in their pajama tops,
Crouching in corners, crying on their cell phones
To parents teddy bear hugs away.
One of the buff security guards from downstairs,
The one with the long eyelashes and ass fluffier than yeast rolls,
Was covered in debris.
The contractor assured us we were under a force field of safety.
I wanted to change out of these clothes.
Stood with my head held high while others sat scared
On the floor biting their fingernails, eating Wheat Thins.
"The other building is still on fire," said a girl wearing an
I Love New York tee shirt.
I was told that we might have to run for cover to Marlton House
Where the beds are screwed to the wall.
Hope the men and women of FDNY are okay.
NYPD blue to the rescue.
Hope the hospitals have enough blood.
I would give them gallons, but I’m not sure if
I’m disease free.
I brought crackers just in case I couldn’t
Get to a Burger King or a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Just in case I had to sleep on cots and eat hard bread.
I didn’t want to leave my apartment
Of hardwood floors, marble kitchen counters.
My journals are up there.
My milk is gonna spoil.
The manager from Zetunda brought turkey and veggie sandwiches,
Kiwi and strawberry slushies.
A list was passed around asking those who wanted to stay to sign their names,
And those who wanted to leave could hike up to 14th Street.
It’s like winter outside, said the security guard
With the buttermilk biscuit- ass.
We stepped over shoes pulled off in a panic
Making our way to the Graduate Faculty Building.
Human Resources gave us security blankets and pillows.
Some slept in the lounge, conference rooms,
Others in ice- cold hallways, the floors
Of classrooms watching John Waters’ Hairspray.
We had full reign over the cafeteria:
Eating barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese;
Ham sandwiches and cold sodas for lunch
Until we could be placed in alternative apartments.
I could have called my aunt in Queens, but I didn’t
Want to put her out.
Slept on a dirty mattress in a Union Square apartment.
Wanted to get out of those three- day clothes,
Wanted to take a shower but their bathroom was filthy.
There were pots in the sink with caked- on food around the rim.
A dinner table of loose papers.
I wasn’t used to this much filth.
Finally called Aunt Karen and asked if I could stay with her.
Gave my number to a big legged girl in housing where
I could be reached.
Seamus from 4C wasn’t sure if he was going to go home
To Maine where he could play his guitar and eat vegan food
Or stay and sleep, starving on a park bench.
Andy’s mom freaked in Philadelphia.
Bridgett from the 8th floor went back to New Jersey and became a prisoner in her own home. Her mother wouldn’t let her leave the house.
I ate steak with yellow rice while watching destruction
Replay on CNN.
Slept like Snow White in my cousin’s twin bed beneath glow- in- the- dark- stars
And an autographed N- Sync poster.
Shaved my head in their blue bathroom.
Returned to William Street eight days later where I was greeted by
Cops and National Guards.
Entered 4B wearing clean underwear to find dust on new poems,
And the burgundy bedspread I’d purchased at Target.
The cleaning crew threw out my milk.
We were told not to use our air- conditioners until further notice.
And here I am after sleeping on the floor,
After being in the same clothes for three days,
After spending the night, showerless on a dirty mattress,
After getting the news that thousands were missing,
And hundreds were found dead,
After the candle lit vigils at fire stations, police stations,
After hearing of Muslims being threatened in their driveways,
After the news of the last dying words on black box recorders,
After the Pentagon was left in ruin,
After seeing pictures of employees in the pages of Newsweek jumping out of windows,
After Bryant Gumble, Dan Rather,
After Bush referring to Bin Laden as "Hate Monger," "Evil Doer,"
After hearing about New York Firemen, New York Police
Saving mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives,
After discovering that most of them lost their lives in the process of such bravery,
After the Red Cross called for blood,
After a generation of young people came to volunteer
Bringing bottled water, work gloves, flashlights and food,
After construction workers and search party dogs
Endured scrapes, scratches and gashes,
After the telethons, the victim relief funds,
After the gathering of Hollywood stars and musicians,
After the postings of missing loved ones have been taped on telephone
Poles, brick walls, the windows of fast food joints,
I still want a bowl of Rice Krispies.

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