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i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

World Trade Center Revisited

February 28, 2005

"When it went up I talked it down..."

My first thought was that David Lehman's "The World Trade Center" was going to be a poem about September 11th. When I got to the line "Until that Friday afternoon in February" I realised something was amiss with that idea. Sure, the 1996 date at the top of the page shoulda given me a hint but hey!

So, of course, I wanted to know about the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. In 1993, I was... um, well... a lot younger than I am now - I was a freshman in high school and, honestly, pretty darn oblivious to all but what the kid behind was whispering (or not) about me. I vaguely remembered a bombing but was that in Oklahoma or the New York one? Who knows... so I turned to my friend google and asked the question:

1993: World Trade Center bomb terrorises New York

I suppose you could call this boming WTC #1 - maybe design a pretty graphic, get a monotone annoucer to talk about it ad nauseam, get some chicks in tight American flag t-shirts to bounce around and BOOM you have a multi-million dollar something_or_other. Basically, some non-American dudes (what -is- non-American anyway? non-puritanical? I'm not sure...) drove a van into the WTC and blew some shit up. Cool! No. Not cool, I'm afraid, because People Died. This is not good when People Die.

"The site of the blast became one of the largest crime scenes in NYPD history. Estimates showed property damage in excess of one-half billion dollars. The sense of fear and panic in the city was palpable."

The fear, my friends was palpable. Hmm...

Okay, about the poem (about time, I know!):

This poem consists of 4 stanzas and 4 sentences. The first sentence is simply setting the tone: "I never liked the World Trade Center." Okay, buddy, ya gonna tell me why? Ah, but, of course... First, the WTC is a big ugly building with absolutely no character - they practically pollute the view. The WTC used to be a symbol of all that was wrong in America (at least, architecturally speaking) but now they serve as a symbol of America. Hmm... Where did the wrong go, I wonder?

I didn't get the Hitchcock reference, I'm afraid, so back to google I go for this one:

"We see the climax from 'Saboteur', in which Norman Lloyd (the baddie) dangles from the Statue of Liberty whilst Robert Cummings (the goodie) tries to save him. "I'll clear ya," says Lloyd desperately to Cummings, while Robertson's narration explains that Cummings has been accused of Lloyd's crimes, and Cummings must save Lloyd in order to clear himself. If Lloyd falls to his death (which he does), Cummings will remain a fugitive. That's inaccurate and misleading: at this point in the movie, the authorities are already convinced of Cummings's innocence. "

Yeah.. that doesn't really help. I'd like to know more about this reference? Has anyone seen this movie? If you read the poem and watch the movie, does that make the poem clearer? (I'm mean I'm sure it does but I wanna hear it from someone who knows.)

At the end of the poem, the author's attitude changes - rather than hate these buildings, he has grown to accept them, perhaps even like 'em a little, at least for the way they seem to disappear into the heavens - an image of eternity.

Moira at 09:24 PM :: Comments (0) :: ::
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