Poetry

Can’t keep doing this folks, year after year. Boiling down mass scale tragedy into a slogan, a meme, a post on social media. It cheapens it. I really believe that. Going dark for the rest of the day, embracing the mundane, celebrating the love, and waiting for this heat to break.

Hating the Hatefulness
(for Christine)
Katie Ford Hall – 2011

“I hate the hatefulness that makes you fall
in love with death, your own included.”
~To A Terrorist, Stephen Dunn

I hate what came to my door that day,
but also our homegrown rage in a shallow grave;
buried neither well nor forever.

I hate what they done in my name,
shock and awe on CNN, broadcasting
from a safe, silent distance.  In my living room
carpet bombs on the birthplace of civilization
look like the end-of-summer firework
display launched over
my muddy hometown American river.

I hate this anniversary, the relentless image
of fireballs and towers against a pristine
September sky.  I hate the stories that I hear –

Todd Beamer’s Let’s Roll,

The recording of the five year old who came
home from school to learn
that his grandfather, his papa, wasn’t ok.  His
little boy voice broken, telling of games he
plays alone in his room,
pretending Papa is there.

The rabbi who chants final
phone message from
victims daily, the spouse,
please take care of the kids;
the child,
the smoke is growing thick,
mommy,
it’s hard to breathe.

Haunting moments now digital,
goodbyes that never end.

I hate that I can’t hear those stories
without crying, that no matter how
many times they rub against me,
I never get a callous.

And I hate that our world can’t hear
those stories and
cry,

just cry
without
demanding revenge.

I hate that we’ve sent thousands of
men and women to their deaths
and to be damaged, our
lust for blood.

I hate that term, justice,
because I don’t know what it means.
And closure too,
because it doesn’t exist.

I hate the second thoughts
I remember having.
The towers collapsed,
the Pentagon burned and my
my son moved inside me,
three months and
two days shy of his birth.

And I asked myself
with my hand on my
expanded middle
why.
Why was I doing it.

I hate what we’ve
become,
a nation of spite and distrust;
of lies and of hubris.

And I hate that icy pit
of nothing in of me
when I learned bin Laden died.
Not relief.
Not regret.
Just empty
and fatigue.

I hate our extinct invincibility,
how our safety was
an illusion of time,
a function of geography
rather than Providence.

I hate that my kids live in a
world that’s never been different,
or maybe that I bought the idea
that it ever was.

A world full
of hatred, of hubris,
of helplessness.

I hate this poem,
this poison stream.

No matter how right I am
it’s the same food

that fed that ball of fire,

in the two towers against a
pristine September sky.

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