SIXTEEN YEARS AGO YESTERDAY
Meditation on a Tragic Anniversary
A radiant cloudless morning
air fresh and clear
sky the brightest blue
A lovely young day bright with promise ––
And then a gleaming silver shell appeared
mirroring beautifully the morning sunshine
A Thing of Beauty –– but horribly out of place
like a spacecraft from an alien planet
Dipping crazily far too low upon the skyline
before anyone could feel the menace ––
it smashed directly into a gigantic upright construct ––
one of a pair ––
Twin monuments to Greed and Vain Ambition some were quick to say
But sudden violent death eradicated an entire investment firm
in one horrific instant ––
dozens of bright young lives incinerated –– gone!
Before dazed onlookers could begin to understand what was happening
another silver shell acting as a missile
crashed into the second of the giant pair.
Ugly buildings! A hideous blot
on the once-graceful Manhattan skyline.
“Ada Louise Huxtable might secretly rejoice at this,”
part of me thought wickedly, for I had always resented
the overbearing, outsized twins ––
Bounders! Interlopers ! Invaders!
But before that ruined day was halfway through
three-thousand innocents had been
burned alive, brains and eyeballs boiled
skulls pulverized, skeletons crushed
between twisting, white hot girders
pelted with falling rubble midst the flames
caught, crippled, crumpled, smashed to bits ––
Smothered in collapsing stairwells and buried alive
in a torrent of red hot cinders and debris
In so many ways the scene must have mimicked the final hours
of the residents of Pompeii and Herculaneum
And then there were those hideous echoes
of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire ––
Where so many jumped to their deaths
to escape being burned alive ––
In an instant smashed skulls, broken bones and bloody pulp
were all that remained of their vibrant young lives.
And not so long ago in Benghazi –– to mark the anniversary
of this Great Triumph of Barbarity over Civilization
our young, handsome, well-meaning,
hopelessly naive, ambassador to Libya
was surrounded in his quarters,
dragged out into the streets
beaten, sodomized and brutally murdered.
But what does any of this matter? What difference does it make?
Let’s just forget about it, and MOVE ON.
Might as well.
We are privileged to live in interesting times.