Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Every Year at the End of August

Every year
at the end of August,
I try to remember
what life was like
in those weeks
that September 11.

I search newspaper archives
for what was happening,
listen to the music
of the day,
I reconstruct
my own recollection,
trying to understand
where we were,
where I was,
to somehow
to measure
the effect,
from then
to now.

Every year,
I try but
ultimately decide
it’s pointless,
because no matter
how much my mind
can understand
such historical

my heart,
my soul
only knows the horror,
the division
of life
into segments of
“before 9/11”and
“after 9/11”.

The bumper sticker says
“Never Forget,”
as if I had
a choice in the matter.
[Alicia Keys, from "America: A Tribute to Heroes" 2001]


  1. I got divorced that same year, so it was quite the year both globally and personally.

  2. I remember the telephone woke me and my daughter said "turn on your tv. They're flying planes into buildings in the States".......and how I watched all day, could not stop watching, the same scenes over and over.

  3. Anonymous6:44 PM

    The bumper sticker says “Never Forget,” as if I had a choice in the matter.. good point!

  4. There is no way to forget, a tipping point changing the world,

  5. I lived in downtown NYC, so of course it was and is an intense time for me, my daughter in school about three blocks away from the WTC. But it is amazing how time moves on also, even here in NYC. There are always tumults in the world--this reached the States, but I think what Europe went through in the 40s and what people in many countries are going through now--Syria--and the destruction of all those beautiful monuments-- I think we were raised to believe we were immune-- thanks. k.

  6. Everyone remembers that day and what one was doing. Fourteen years have passed in a it was yesterday ! The video clip enhances the feeling of the poem !

  7. This memory is complicated for me because my brother died that same August and another brother the month before. It was like the whole country was in grief with me.

  8. This is timely commentary. We felt the shock waves as far away as South Africa. I will never forget standing in front of the TV as the horror unfolded. I knew that if the US could be attacked so blatantly, the world as we knew it had changed forever.

  9. Yes. YES.
    I was very, very pregnant with my son (our first child) on that day. It magnified everything. How could we bring a child into this crazy world? We did...two of them. And can only hope they will make a difference.

    1. Anonymous3:28 AM

      Oh, De, I hope that generation will make the difference we need, too.

  10. Anonymous3:30 AM

    It really is THE dividing line for us. Beautifully written.