Eleventh


The streets
weft breeze-swept sheets, texts,
letters, sentences never ended:

Beth,
Next bet, Everest! Ever been
there? They tell me extreme,
WTC-sheer. Yes! Wherever
there’s extreme, there’s me! Tell

Jeff:
See Excel sheets 20-23, rev 7.
The VP feels the new Eng’g Dept
spend needs exec check. Prep
NYSE. Then pre-Dec 3, delete

Bennett:
These extensions skew the
expected rent levels. Next term,
they’ll exceed the free expenses
precendent. Nevertheless

Helen,
When we met, speech deserted
me... Never expected the sweetness,
the perfect tenderness... Melt me,
tell me the deepest secrets... Let me

September 11.
The breeze sweeps the letters.
The letters never sent.


41 comments:

  1. Short link - http://bit.ly/s4eleventh

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  2. Oh dear! I like how this begins in a mysterious way- begging the reader to make sense of what they are reading then BANG - two words- September 11 - and all is understood. And we feel the emptiness of the letters incomplete and move past needing to make sense of the content of the messages. And the abruptness works as a kind of objective correlative - the individualness of each writer - contained - and even the fact that the messages don't make sense give us a corresponding sense of the senseless of the tragedy. And what brings us closer to one that reading their private messages? A great choice. A stunning way to to understand the larger picture of lives interrupted and incomplete. Powerful, my friend

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  3. Anonymous11:33:00 PM

    So very beautiful and moving...

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  4. Wow..such a haunting sad and beautiful write Sam...deep breaths on the last lines. Incredible! ~April

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  5. I am tempted to say 'what she said' - Miriam ;-) but here instead is my reaction ..whoa! The title gives a hint, but then the cryptic messages, texts? Tweets? and I think 'once again Samuel is experimenting'..and lose connection to the eleventh. But then 'Helen' speaks in your voice as I've come to know it, and finally you bring us back to where the title leads, fragments in the wind, lives lost & incomplete. The effect is breathtaking..Innovative, modern, excellent! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. wow. tight write...i was in the air on sept 11th...emergency put down in altanta...it was a crazy day...like the structure in this one...and carries quite the punch in the end...

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  7. oh my - i was wondering where this would go...9/11...excellent...gave me shivers...

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  8. Transitory and ephemeral the doings of man...and you make the point cleanly, gracefully and tragically here.

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  9. As always, Sam, you manage to transcend the mundane and create Art from emotions and letters. Awesome One-shot!

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  10. Very well done...I had to read it twice, after I understood where you were taking us. Haunting.

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  11. I read it the first time for the oblique and brief characterization, the second time fir the embedded love story and it's effect among the strangers, and finally for the finality of the whole and the ring of profound with 9/11 reference. For me the love letter shock after the objectivity of the other verses outweighed the 9/11 surprise, live surprising me more than death, and death merely revising the surprise. lightening in your touch to the scrambling words ! Lovely

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  12. Its amazing take on the 911 I have ever read.. its so poignant.
    Thanks for sharing...
    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya
    http://shadowdancingwithmind.blogspot.com
    Twitter: @VerseEveryDay

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  13. When I reached the last three lines I froze..and then immediately went back and read more slowly. This is brilliant Sam.

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  14. I had not read this one before. I could picture you walking through the debris. Embers flying all around. You reaching out with your hand to catch those half-burned memories. A unique tribute, Samuel.

    Always.

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  15. Paul Grau8:16:00 PM

    Realization hits like a Mack Truck at the very end. Very haunting. How many if our own messages are (or will) end up like one if these?

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  16. So powerful and poignant Sam ... all those words that never arrived.

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  17. My heart still sinks when I think of that day. Your writing tells the story so poignantly. The ending is still a shock.

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  18. So very haunting--a beautiful write

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  19. What a beautiful tribute...embrace the that day so well in a few stanzas...amen...bkm

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  20. snap man....to think of the letters never sent...final words...even in their obscurity...it speaks to how much it was a surprise catching people completely off guard....

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  21. an excellent way to deliver the message...so many stopped in mid sentence.

    (I, too, am at a loss on the structure. I do however, completely agree with your premise that structure does not belie emotion and content. I am not quite there yet; still love to let it go free. :) )

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  22. I'm not sure if I recognize the form as adhering to a set rule but I like that every person speaking is halted mid sentence as they would have been that day ... and how the first stanza and the last have the wind tidying up in its way even if it's not a very satisfactory way, it's somewhat ideal, given the day.

    http://nsaynne.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/like-pieces-of-confetti-souls-rained-down/

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  23. This is so spare - not a word out of place - your brought tears to my eyes

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  24. As to the form - it looks like quatrains held in place by a beginning and ending couplet. The last lines of the quatrains fragments blowing out the broken windows of broken lives. Brilliant piece capturing the ephemeral quality of everything, of life stopped in a minute, of the nature of modern life, and the way this kind of event is truly life interrupted! Very affecting poem, Sam.

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  25. this is just brilliant as a poem...so original for me to read...thank you...we need to keep breathing new air into this darkness...to keep it fresh, current, alive, living in our memories...to not forget a single person or the words...they never got the chance to finish.

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  26. A powerful tribute, Sam.

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  27. I think that you've used the same letters in each of the sections. I thought there was something odd there - I'm just guessing as I haven't parsed it all out, but I think it's a bit like magnetic letters all reforming the different stanzas. I'm not sure where the numbers fit in.

    In my post, I have photographed some pieces of the paper that strewed the city - in my case, the pieces were retrieved by my daughter and her friend on the roof of a building across the street - there's a bit of a WTC directory and someone's deposit slip.

    You are right about all the pieces of letter everywhere - I'm not sure it wouldn't be as powerful without the craft - just writing it though - though I do appreciate the craft and the underlying message of it.

    for me the most powerful thing - and I've not written a poem about it -were all the Missing posters. Where I lived downtown - we were papered over. k.

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    1. PS _ back again - I know I can't be right re letters (magnetized) - but I still feel it's something like that. k.

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  28. I read this poem twice, once before seeing the comments and your explanation, which was helpful, and then a second time. I can see all those pages fluttering down, that day, all of those messages blown to the winds.........as we see on the videos of 9/11........powerful write, kiddo.

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  29. i immediately knew what you were referring to as the images of the bits and pieces of people's lives scattered everywhere that day stay with me still.

    your words bring an intimacy to the imagery.

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  30. Well, Sam, I can't figure out what you wish figured out; but all I know is that in your poem I experience the interrption of lives and all the letters that were never sent and that people who died in the mid-sentence of their lives!

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  31. The form enhances the communication of lives interrupted and is nearly invisible to the naked eye. I like that.

    This poem does a wonderful job of collecting the transitory and showing their significance.

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  32. I love this:

    "Nevertheless

    Helen,
    When we met, speech deserted
    me"

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  33. OW.
    Very Very There, unfinished unsent You Framed this day without any unnecessary words. O

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  34. Hauntingly beautiful ... so clever xx

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  35. Something I think a lot about...poetry about the lives that were interrupted that day is a lot easier to read and feel than what comes across the air waves on anniversaries...nice tribute...

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  36. Sam, very well done--excellent take on the prompt and those words that never were sent. Still hanging in the ether, maybe? Always enjoy your poems. :-)

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  37. the poem sounded very interesting and wonderful..... after reading your explanation above, I enjoyed the poem once more...thanks for new things to learn.....

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  38. Anonymous9:18:00 PM

    At first reading I note you use only one vowel...the letter E. No other vowel appears unless one counts the Y in NYSE. The most frequent letter in English of course. I haven't completely decided why you might have done so. Your lack of obvious poetic diction, including imagery, is part of your plan as well I imagine. Moments frozen and interrupted in fragments is the overall effect. You use nothing to distract from the terseness and incompleteness. There is no interference with your four vignettes each of which seems to stand alone as its own message to us in their future. The Beth and Helen fragments are much more personal than the Jeff and Bennett segments which read like actual memos; memos which actually might have been found on the street in the following days. I make no suggestion about who these four people might be. Thank you for the seriously affecting poem.

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  39. thanks for popping in tonight man...and glad to read your note on the form...another maybe unconscious thing is that the opening and closing each contain 11 words...i dont know if that plays into the form you use but as i was riddling it i did find that...

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  40. Oh my! The whirl of a day - voices, feelings, busy, urgent. Stop. . .

    Powerful, evocative poem.

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