To me they were always too large,
too bare, too square, too spare
two huge phalluses thrust into eyes of the sky
looming over that intricate city scape like barbarous totems…
but when I turned on the T.V. to see them in columns of smoke
and then replay after replay of a plane crashing into them
all I could see was a poor crippled being so terribly hurt struggling to stand
against the logic of gravity and the mortality of flame …
so that I wanted to run and I wanted all those faces they kept showing
standing there so still, so awestruck, so shock absorbed
so frozen to run, run, run before those towers so tall, so huge
could fall, as they must fall, as we all must fall, as all nations must finally fall
and they did fall and fall first one
                                   then the other
                                          as if one was not enough
disintegrating before our eyes
too large, too bare, too spare
oh, God, we knew there were people still in them
we knew there were people still in them as they fell
to dust.


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.