Over the rubble of the World Trade Center

The grand sad unimaginable confusion of souls

Rose from towers mangled steel––to afterlives all––

All eyes drawn to that vacuum in the sky’s next move

Where the ghost dance of bodhisattva firemen

& holy martyrs of terror––holy martyrs lost &

Missing, a great far reaching cry spreading wild

Across the planet––the crying unity of undying pain––


All the dead circling above ambulance drivers &

From afar in Manhatta’s canyon looking up through

Smoke––janitors, multi-millionaires, passengers

Belted in their missileseats, stewardess with tender hands

Tied behind her back––no more bills, no lives to return to,

No Korans & Bibles, no quotes of stocks to comfort them.


Bloodplanes break the silence of clouds––strangely

Lonesome––as we, the living, pierce ourselves with the

Hooks of memory, digging without rest, digging night

& day, throwing ourselves into the holes of grief in

Search of ourselves changed forever––looking up,

Seeing nothing, in disbelief looking up again.


13 September 2001


Spoken word version from Emergency Juke Joint.

Copyright © 2000 by Jim Cohn.

Text from Quien Sabe Mountain (Museum of American Poetics Publications).

Copyright © 2004 by Jim Cohn.