Saturday, March 04, 2017


"The Towers" by Troy's Work Table.

Sidewalk chalk wash, sidewalk chalk, chalk pastels, and charcoal pencil on 12" x 12" concrete board.


while others walked dead / into a fiery brisance, lost / in an eternity of Vermeer.” and “Apollo was at Ground Zero / because he knows everything / about bandaging up wounds. / Men dug hands into quavering / flotsam, & they were blinded by / the moon’s indifference.” and “your wings of beeswax & crepe singed beyond belief.” —from “The Towers” by Yusef Komunyakaa, as found in Warhorses


As far as I am concerned, Anne Carson’s poems in Red Doc> are hampered by form. In Yusef Komunyakaa’s “The Towers,” form helps to confine the poem and give it life.

There are two columns of poetry. The left “tower” begins with the word “yes,” while the right “tower” starts with the word “no.” Both reflect upon the everyday and ordinary lives of the men and women who died on 9/11 in the attack on the World Trade Center. Both reflect upon those of us who are mere mortals trying to reach for the realm of the gods—whether victim or infidel; whether working in the tower of Babel, striving for greatness in the afterlife, or attempting to touch the sun like Icarus.


There are so many poems in Warhorses that I could have chosen, but this is the one that speaks most fully to my heart.

It is a marriage of form and language. It is a marriage of contemporary America and ancient Greece. It is a marriage of questions and answers. (And then more questions.)

Ultimately, the poem feels holy to me. Sacred space on the page for now-hallowed ground.

No comments: