4:30 a.m. 9/11/2001
- The Policeman's Wife

Early cool crisp twilight dawn
morning yet to announce arrival
new round of stars and routine

I sneak out of bed
to shower away sleep and dreams
careful to not disturb her rest
as she lies postured beneath fluttered sheets
weight of my impression upon her

4:30 a.m. and the beat calls
crime never sleeps
somewhere someone fights for life
desperate against sinister forces

Sworn to protect
I stand tall for Law & Order
awake knowing
this day could be my last

Crime will try to catch you off guard
cash in on those frail moments
where attention lags
and awareness leaves one vulnerable

She knows too and expects my arms
to cradle her form
some minutes before I leave

She wants the life of my eyes upon her
a kiss to drench our love

Duty temporarily separates our circle
I go to uphold protection and order
where I live by rules
and crime knows no limitations

I tell her I love her
it is what she wants
the words I choose to give her if all else fails

One final embrace
I step out to patrol car
& sit with thoughts of her gentle awakening
as she efforts to sleep again
restless until the comfort of my return

 

The World Stands Still

Cool fall day sun less brutal
sounds vary from the dark under growth
of wooded acres behind my house

Birds cicadas natural cadence
nothing takes notice
that thousands just perished in New York City

September 11th, 2001
one day before terrorists
of the 1993 world trade center bombing
were to be sentenced for first attempting
topple of the trade twins

Tatyana my overnight attendant
flips me onto my back
after a night of sleeping prone
giving butt reprieve from all day sitting

8 a.m. she leaves for school
setting me up with laptop to surf
remote for CNN and market open

Word spread online
that one of the World Trade Towers
had been hit by a commercial jetliner

I thought it a joke until
CNN showed a live shot of the second plane
gutting Tower 2 leaving both smoldering infernos
impact raining down debris
pummeling dwarf buildings cratering streets below
Like the end of the world
moment exaggerated
framed in disbelief

Flames disintegrate floors lives
in nightmare scenario
survivors crowd windows for breath
waving white flags for impossible help

People pour out in confused derision
streaming to exits
leaving friends family lovers
trapped on floors above

No where to run no escape
flame smoke heat singing lungs and body
no good conclusion could come of situation
oblivion terrorizing moments

Most had no idea
of what they were running from
or what was going on in skies above

Some leapt rather than be incinerated
by burning jet fuel
nobody could imagine such atrocity

How did this ever happen
America watched with mouths agape
tears flowing trying to compose
a shaken sense of security

 

II. Horizon Jewels

The twin trade towers
jewels of the New York skyline
compass for those lost in lower Manhattan
symbol of affluence and opportunity in a city
where the Statue of Liberty
stands tall to welcome immigrants
from every part of the world
are enflamed mountains of vicious red flame
and choking plumes
of thick dark black smoke

The Pentagon
center for military strategy
and intelligence gathering had also been gutted
in similar fashion
a 747 collapsing its east wall

There was news rumor that another plane
had been hi-jacked
and was heading towards another landmark in D.C.

No hope could comfort those
making last calls from that plane
passing on words of
final love and gesture

Having heard of the fate of others
passengers decided to defy the same outcome
and challenged terrorists in sinister plot
ensuring more would not die and others may live

Plane disintegrating over Pennsylvania woods
like some unwritten tragic scenario
from some Stephen King script
Tower 1 crumbled
structural steel super-heated melted
giving way to weight of higher floors

Earth-quaking implosion streaming debris
no one had a chance to run
busily assisting those
who could not get out themselves
110 stories of crushed building like dominoes
settled into three stories
of raw devastation
a 2.9 on the Richter scale

Many would be counted
among the dead today

Then just as suddenly Tower 2 crumbled
its apex falling sideways
in destructive cascade
pinnacle crushing other buildings
as it smashed earthward forced by gravity

Crushed and thrust out
as plumes of thick volcano like dust
and smoldering flame
a flutter of paper sprinkled eerily from heights
where luxury offices once stood

50,000 people were employed in those buildings
thank God & those who constructed those towers
they held for as long as they did

 

III. Assisting America

Volunteer citizens firefighters
police rescue workers joined
skilled and non-skilled workers
in doing what they could
to help victims and the hunt for survivors

No thought of impending danger
or concern for safety of their own
the need to help
took momentary focus away
from the smoldering inferno's
clouding sky

Some eye-witnesses said
as they were exiting floors
to run downstairs
that they saw people in wheelchairs stuck
with no way out and no one willing
to stop and assist

One lady a paraplegic
was fortunate to be carried
down 68 floors
by two men she did not even know

Once out they deposited her
at an awaiting ambulance
and went about their way
with her unsure
if they were angelic or real

One blind man was lead
by his trusty seeing eye dog
down 78 flights of stairs

Later remarking that his dog
was afraid of lightning
and other loud noises

One man knowing his best friend
since childhood
a high level quadriplegic
was too heavy
for others to care
and him to carry alone
elected to remain
until the very end
friends forever

 

Sunlight and CNN

For 2 weeks now I've been running
between sunlight and CNN
logging feeling
to prose for later review

Markets have declined nine percent
since trading resumed
the airline industry has lain off
20-50% of its workforce
pleading Congress for bailout

Sons daughters firefighters policeman
ambulance rescue workers
dedicated to public service
leave children behind orphaned
wives widowed husbands spouseless

Painful confusion replaces lost family members
As America honors their great contribution
understands who the heroes are
in times such as these

Our way of life has changed
never will it be the same
3000 are still missing
crushed beneath 100,000 tons
of twisted carnage remnant steel

We may never reach them all
we'll need time to come to grips
with what has occurred safety must be insured
complacent attitude forever wiped away
We will lose certain privilege
terror and propaganda
have determined we will war
freedom will insure
safety to its citizens
in the best ways that it can

Some will call for Jihad
but there is no such thing as a holy war
the two words are in contradiction

Hollywood trained our focus
on the sensational
but nobody ever expected
our national intelligence to fail

No one expected us this vulnerable

 

The Soft Parade Continues

13 days since the bombing of New York
and I'm still sitting
with how this tragedy
has affected and is changing my life

I've been reading literature
watching news stories media specials
and though I did not know personally
anyone that died in the tragedy

I am mourning with America
crying and weeping for people
I will never have chance to know

Time will heal wounds but never memory
tears will long be associated
to this event

We will honor the dead
assist the living bring sanity
back to their lives
in city and nation
where the Statue of Liberty
like a lighthouse holds her flaming beacon
high to horizon for all to see

We will take care of our own
always remember 9/11
a people proud recognizing peaceful diversity
honor among citizens
who respect personal freedom
rights religion individuality
America opens arms welcomingly
to all who love life
in an open-minded society
where we serve one another
for the betterment of humankind

The America I love and value
has no concern for dollars or profits
or anything other
than the well-being of its citizens

Capitalism may profess
profit at the expense of others
but the heart of America says
always be kind to others knowing
kindness one day may be needed

America is made up of
every type of person
from every nation
crossing every boundary line

Here we are more similar than different
under the American flag
we are one nation indivisible
united for the justice of all


 

The New America

Sure we are still in the process
of defining America today
in the midst of racial tension
disability and class difference

But 9-11 elucidated America
as all races classes ages of people
standing or sitting in line for hours
just to donate blood
raising money for those who perished
while giving time to community and funds
aiding in the volunteer cleanup
of lower Manhattan

America is charity organizations
raising 55 million in seven days
the food service industry donating meals
and kind word to rescue workers
exhausted and hungry
devastated by what they see

Ground zero is our legacy
reminder of what the new America stands for
in the post 9-11 real world of community
and diverse integration
where we take care of one another


NFL Post 9/11

Yesterday I watched the opening ceremonies
of the first post September 11th
National Football League game
between the New York Giants
and the Kansas City Chiefs

There was a solemn feeling
that perhaps this event shouldn't go on
that the shock had not worn off enough and that
it was too soon
to celebrate moment and occasion
people were not ready
still missing those who were forcefully parted

Athletes citizens honorary fire fighters
and police rescue workers
all hailed a moment of silent prayer
to honor the heroes persons lost
to that untimely tragedy

Then we sang our national anthem
in a way I've never seen heard
or listened to before

The words will never mean
or feel the way they did then
I will never sing them
read them or be with them the same
as I did before class
during grade school ritual


Looking upon the faces
of so many proud Americans
there to celebrate
one of our nation's favorite pass times
one can see how greatly
all have been affected

Football players
honorary rescue workers
fans of all ages and races
stream tears choked up eyes wet
with pride respect for national colors
and our national song

American flags waved everywhere
jets streamed leaving trail
as people celebrated life again
honoring the dead in unity
declaring together to the world
we will go on

We will remember and we will mourn
but we will live and love
preparing our children to do the same


 

Al-Qaeda

A highly trained
financially backed
terror network capable
of such organized precision
must be stopped before
something worse occurs

No nation no city no people no child
will ever be safe with beings on planet
enraged enough to not have care
for themselves or anyone else

Our borders national international individual
must be managed by all people
aware of crisis situation

There is no more time for sleepwalking
the mad man challenges hero to showdown

On 9/11 there was no James Bond or Jackie Chan
to deviate criminal strategy and save the day

No nation can ever again allow jet liners
to be used as bombs by terrorists
who can successfully take over flights
with nothing more than a knife or box cutter

The need to unite and set aside difference
has been noticed
unity must spread across
boundaries and prejudice

With the success of this terror campaign
they will try further measure
to create fear in our hearts
extorting power and prejudice
sever the love which could unite our difference

In pride and wounded ego
America will retaliate
seek to honor the lives
of so many innocents lost

There will be war
God forbid weapons of mass devastation
chemical or nuclear technology
ever be used to state opinion

Or that any child should have to suffer or die
for ideas they don't understand
judgments they did not create
wars they are not responsible for


San Francisco - Dreams of Home

Near 5:30 p.m. sun drenching sky
pace of people coming and going
gathering momentum

I'm lying in the middle of the street
right outside the front entrance
of the California State Building
office of Governor Gray Davis
at the intersection of Polk and Larkin

ADAPT has surrounded
and successfully blocked off all four intersections
encompassing State Building
in protest of the rebuilding
of Laguna Honda
the nation's largest nursing home facility
housing 1200 people

Just over a month after the bombing
of the World Trade Center
by those who hate America
and its dream of freedom
I felt an awkward sense of almost guilt
for challenging the authority of our Government
in such sensitive times as these

But people are still dying
in places like Laguna Honda
gathered sardine tight
here 30 at a time in huge single room wards

Dozens will die today
Someone every 3 seconds
Existence housed in nightmare situations
deserving more than just mock freedom

Lucky to be on the outside
I feel duty to the 2.2 million people
incarcerated in nursing homes across the nation

Our Government would have us
housed in institutions
and in some States have doctors kill us
rather than fund a directive like MiCASSA
to improve the quality of life
for people elderly or with disabilities

400+ members of ADAPT chanced flying here
from all across the country to stress
how important community based services are
to our basic civil rights
and access to freedom

Laguna Honda warehouses individuals
at a cost of $330-420 dollars a day
while denying people
the one thing they truly want
choice

For what they spend
to keep people locked away
we could lavish in all sorts of luxury

 

II. Speaking The Unspoken

The American eagle
with wings spread on nonchalant winds
stands for freedom
the right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness

That liberty is guaranteed
by the Constitution of the United States
to all citizens without regard to race gender or age
except those born with or acquiring disability

Brooding sense of eeriness
damp low-lying clouds and light drizzle
harsh wind forcing our endurance
yesterday we in single file wrapped
around the perimeter of Laguna Honda

Like 'The Shining' this institution
had beautiful profile from the street
but could not obscure
the barred outer windows
chain linked fence blockaded by uniformed guards

Feeling of something weird going on inside
straight out of 'The World's Most Creepiest Places,'
we could not believe how many buildings
lined up row after row
behind the well-managed
manicured front lawns of main entrance

1200 people spend their every day
behind these isolation walls
looking out like ghosts haunting dream

20 minutes since the Chief of Police
warned us to move or be arrested
pressure is mounting to clear us out
so evening rush hour can resume

Hundreds of people have been looking on for hours
wondering what's up some supportive of our cause
curious on details and information
some too angry to care

Dozens of journalists scavenge stories
exclaiming to audience all we want is choice
for ourselves and those who know no freedom
having uneventful existence

As long as choice is not incorporated
into long-term care in this country
we will continue to fight gather protest
and be arrested if need be

Some here have experienced
the darkest deepest recesses of some of the shadiest
most nightmare experiences
known to American history

Tranquilizing medicine binding and shock therapy
all in the name of prescribed treatment
deemed necessary to subdue our peculiarities

They want to keep the freaks
out of mainstream
neighborhoods and schools
saving us for the circus and experimental science

 

III. Unlawful Assembly

Just a matter of time
before we get MiCASSA passed
and all people in nursing homes
or in danger of going
will have choice to resume community life

Hopefully soon
people with new injuries
will never have to experience the terror
of being on the verge of going into
or actually being in
a nursing home facility
without plausible alternative

Makes no sense to save us
and then warehouse us for years and years
in a place we choose not to be

We'll never disappear
Laguna Honda is proof of everything wrong
in State long-term care policy
and less than 50 miles from Berkley
home of Ed Roberts
and the first Center for Independent Living

Ed was a quadriplegic
who was denied funds because
California decided its money
would be better utilized by paraplegics
who had better opportunity of acquiring jobs
and paying taxes back to the State

Ed had to sue
just to access money set aside
for disabled students

Successful he was largely responsible
for pushing The University Of California-Berkley
into being the first
accessible American campus

Berkley also became the first city
to incorporate curb cuts on mass scale

California then became the first state to issue
a sizable grant which established
what would be
the first unofficial center
for independent living

After graduating with a PHD
Ed became head of the state department
that denied him access
to funds in the first place

Paddy wagons await our delivery
as the SFPD lifts us from the street
one by one
placing us in abandoned chairs
binding hands with plastic ties

106 of us were arrested
bodies littering the four corners surrounding
the California State Building

Picked up like discarded trash
wind strewn debris
polluting streets
we were illustrating statement
pleading for choice
voicing for millions who could not
incarcerated in institutions
across this country

We were making statement here
letting world know
this was war
and we were soldiers
expendable if need be
sacrificing self in the struggle for justice
and a victory
which would lead us
to that point
when legislation
will finally 'Free Our People'

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