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Syndic Literary Journal

“1 & 2” ∼ Page 3 ∼ by J.H. Johns & Paul Churchill Mann

Photo by Dariusz Pacak

J. H. Johns
(Copyright © J. H. Johns 2017)

I’m not sure that
I was ever in the second tower-
in fact, I’m not sure
that I ever thought
of the other tower;
oh, I knew
there were two-
you can’t help but notice-
and yet the times
that I went
through those doors
and to the elevators,
I totally forgot about
tower two;
and it wasn’t
until I was at the top,
looking out the windows
that I remembered that,
oh, yeah,
there’s the other tower.

J. H. Johns
(Copyright © J. H. Johns 2017)

I am trusting
that whenever
he hears this-
wherever he is-
James Agee
will forgive me
and allow me
poetic license;
we have family;
some we know,
others we don’t;
a few are near,
while the rest are far;
we are animate
and inanimate-
now flesh, later dust-
people and things
become part of us
and we become part of them;
our family
is in our creations-
living and otherwise;
individual members
of the body collective;
we have seen them,
taken their place
and have grown;
sometimes stunning,
sometimes ugly-
but both part of us,
and so,
in our own way,
we love them;
they are like family,
with us everyday;
sharing our triumphs
and our failures;
they are
just like family;
taken for granted
for the time they’re here,
mourned when they’re gone

J. H. Johns
(Copyright © J. H. Johns 2017)

Day after week
after month
after year
they took off;
every forty-five seconds
from LGA and JFK
until one night;
not the first one
or the second-
but the third night;
we didn’t realize it
the first two nights
because they were filled
with sirens;
but that third night,
when all who
were going to respond
and everyone else
stayed home exhausted,
that third night
there was nothing;
no jets,
no sirens-
only rare cars-
the city fell silent
and rested…

J. H. Johns
(Copyright © J. H. Johns 2017)

David Rimington,
I found your card;
God knows
that I wasn’t looking for it-
I didn’t even know that
you existed-
but now I do;
the streets were impeccably clean;
save for the white coating
of dust;
not a gum wrapper
or a cigarette butt
or a piece of a weekly
rag of a newspaper
in sight-
except in the chained lots-
they were still littered;
so many intriguing
and tantalizing
sealed off-
almost museum-like;
“…oh, look,
there’s a page from an appointment book;
a sheet of stock quotes;
and over there-
parts of a computer,
a desk fan,
and a toner cartridge
that could tell
a story
but only says, “Xerox.”
All on sealed display;
but across the street,
in that triangular patch
of bushes and trees-
down, hidden at ground level-
debris they overlooked;
that’s where I found you-
three blocks away-
face down
under an evergreen shrub;
I picked you up,
tucked you away
and brought you home;
now I wonder about you;
are you alive
are you dead;
I watch the newspaper,
so as to read about you,
but you’re not there;
I want to know
but I don’t;
I could call and find out
if you “made it,”
but I’m not sure
that I want to know-
ready to know-
that you didn’t;
David Rimington,
I found your card,
and I wonder about you.


Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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