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Sep 2013
The poem was inspired by a particular photo of the WT C, and after that by my first visit to the 9/11 Memorial.Β Β On the day of 9/11, I was working about a diagonal mile away, and from our windows, we could see people jumping to their death.

Open sky annulled
to bordered lines of
uptown edges,
worldview momentarily
forcibly redefined by
memories of buildings and sadder days,
recollections of pillars of biblical smoke rising

A photograph
makes me look up,
and sit down historically,
need to catch a breath,
to rest mentally,
upon a storied small bridge's steps,
that I well recall,
a disappeared street stoop.
all were rubble then and once
upon that day.

Wear, tear, and older eyes distill perspective,
but the hardy heart is hardly stilled
by the recognizable gray upon
bon vivant gray reflective surfaces of
memories of buildings and sadder days

So today, on a reborn street,
I rest upon reconstituted speckled curbstone,
the city's lowered down ledges,
the city's lowered down-town boundaries,
constantly redrawn, but
nonetheless, always rebuilt from their own
regenerated stony compost,
and the NY passersby doesn't even notice
a man, head in hands,
silently weeping, thinking that:

We throw away so much we should have kept.
We keep so much we should have thrown away.

Lose keepsakes, but keep our mysterious sadnesses
locked away in compartments that open only to
benedictions uttered in ancient tongues.

Make your own list,
be your own curator,
catalogue visions of sophomoric triumphs,
museum mile pile
those early poetic drafts,
be unafraid of memories
raw and ungentrified,
overlaid, buried underneath
postmortem of dust-piles of senior critiques

Finally went downtown to see
where the blessed water falls
into catacomb pits that once
were the foundations
of buildings that ruled the cityscape,
downtown anchors
for a modern city that exists
only because it was built on
million year old granite bedrock

Stone monuments are stolid, discrete.
Memories are of grayed, frayed edge consistency.
Negatives resurrected that survive digitally,
all blend synthetically, layer upon layer,
essence distilled in a single,
black and white photograph
that serves to
disturb complacency,Β Β 
awaken stilled pain,
reflections suppressed,
are restored
Written August 2013
Nat Lipstadt
Written by
Nat Lipstadt
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