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Syndic Literary Journal

Eye Witness Account ∼ “Remembering 9/11” by Madeline Artenberg

Madeline Artenberg

Eye Witness Account ∼ Recorded Interview


(Text of Poems Read in Interview)


New York City Dream

Last night I dreamt
tall buildings
one by one
were punched
from Manhattan’s skyline.

Bodies flew,
lashed by flame tongues,
flesh to ash.
Stacked limbs and girders
wept vermillion dust.

Last night I dreamt
bedroom tears
flowed into streets
consecrating souls
looking for kindred.

Tears mixed with dust
creating mud from ash.
Heads rose out of mud
as if buds in a field.

Last night I dreamt
eyes sprouted,
feet marched,
stamped new foundations.

Spires rose,
stalks in a field.
People went up tall buildings,
looked west to east.
Everything was the same;
everything was different.

Last night I dreamt this dream
was had by many.
We awakened
to morning.


New York City Glory

For a while in New York City
after September 11th,
it felt glorious to be a woman.

Hell! New York City became a woman!
What with grown men unlocking stadiums
of tears, poetry flowing from bosoms
onto street lamps, store windows, wire fences.
The outpour just about levitated the island!

The burly gender became blurred
in red-white-and-blue haze.
Open-eyed strangers lingered
on streets of uncertainty,
huddled together humming anthems,
spilling out their insides
to the lost city, for all
to swim back home.

Virtual Walk

Just off the corner of Church and Vesey,
on the boundary of Ground Zero,
my sister comes upon piles of new wooden planks.

It’s 10:30 on a March night,
a year and a half later.
She’s visiting from Albuquerque,
calling me on her cell;
I’m guiding her from my phone in Queens.
I’d known every block around the World Trade Center,
yet I had not made the pilgrimage,
choosing to remember
sun playing off the metal sphere on the plaza,
lunch-time concerts, couples dancing stage-side,
long, narrow elevators shooting me up in seconds
to work on the North Tower’s 84th floor.

Now, she clings to my voice
as I navigate her past camouflaged soldiers
guarding emptiness,
past tourists recording sorrow.
She stands before the massive hole,
fortified like a bowl set into sand
to keep grains from engulfing everything.
No towers tall tonight,
just the twinning of sisters
who hardly knew each other growing up.
I cannot see her eyes tonight,
but her eyes are mine
as she walks around Ground Zero,
giving voice to the darkness.




Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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