Saturday, September 10, 2011

Poetics: we bought the lie (9/11)

we bought the lie

at a young age, when thoughts were innocent
and heroes wore spandex, good always finds
a way, to win, heroes never die

and then they killed Superman

it was my freshman year of college, on the front
page of USA Today, cape flapping in the wind
where the body lay of an icon, of truth, justice
and the american way

we bought the lie

because it was not long before they brought
him back like some sunday morning resurrection
and it became cliche' to die, and heroes died
as a way to the next big thing, then came back
just to sell comic books, some sick marketing
tool, and we believed heroes can never die

we bought the lie

and then it happened, men and women providing
for a family, some trying to earn an honest days wage, 
just living ordinary every day lives or police, firemen
or military trying to save them, were taken away, in
a concrete steel mass grave

and that is when we knew the lie

a daughter leapt from on high holding a friends hands,
preschoolers were led through debris by a mother,
a brother raced up, the opposite way doing his duty
a father fought for control of a plane, a middle eastern
man sat in a taxi knowing you will never look at him the same

we bought the lie

and became angry americans, searching for weapons
of mass destruction, happy to hit them back like some
school yard brawl, singing anthems to our pain as we
raised the torn & battered flag

we bought the lie

heroes die, and don't come home or back to life,
they only live on in how we live our lives

there has to be a better way,
there has to be a better way.

I have pages of poems I have written the last couple days thinking about 9/11. Earlier this week, I told my story of where I was that day. Yesterday, I wrote a scathing political poem, but have shelved it for now, perhaps I will post it later this week. Today, I am just burdened for the hate that caused such an event and hope that we can one day move beyond violence and war being our answer to the questions that haunt us.

Thank you to all who serve to keep us safe.

If you have written a 9/11 post, we are capturing them at dVerse Poets Pub today.

97 comments:

David Allen Waters said...

Powerful!....sadness...

hedgewitch said...

I like the simplicity of this, on a topic that is so hard to state simply. Here you do manage to reduce it to the basics, and give a sense of the whole anatomy of it as well as the very grim aftereffects of hate and war.

Reflections said...

God Bless us all.... powerful piece, down to the sensitivities of hate and heroes.

EcoGrrl said...

truth. i think back and it's a loss of innocence in ways. i remember in slow motion how i was on my way in to work and someone in the street told me and i didn't believe him. then i heard, then i ran, still in seeming slow motion, back to my then-husband to just be close to him as long as possible. we looked at each other and said, christ, this means that jackass in office is going to use this as a reason to start a war. i had no patriotism, and never comprehended the blind patriotism of my coworkers, the willingness to give up our rights, our privacy, our foundation as a country.

please post the scathing political poem, i am guessing it's something very very good.

Steve E said...

Brian, there IS a "better way".

I quote from my favorite book, a real big one, "...love and tolerance" is what it is. (Actually--Hell--I don't really know, nor does ANYBODY!)

lindakruschke said...

Brian, This brought tears to my eyes. I love how you started with Superman. I remember when he died, then they brought him back. I also really liked your repetition of the line "we bought the lie." Lies can be hard to discern, and hatred, vengeance is one of those lies that is so easily sold to those who are hurting. Peace, Linda

Ruthiey said...

Wow yeah, I agree with you, Brian. A lot of good things happened with how America reacted to 9/11 but a whole lot of bad things happened too.

appreciate your perspective. :)

CM said...

I just got chills reading this. I don't think any one of us can ever forget those images, but you captured it in a new way with your words and your descriptions.

I wish there was a better way that begins with prevention so this never happens again.

Fred said...

Excellent write Brian, very powerful and timely. Thanks for the write.

Victoria said...

This just oozes the pain of innocence lost. We can never go back to the way it was, I guess. A sad legacy for our younger generations.

lkkolp said...

Brian- An emotional piece, a harrowing day. I love the reference to Superman.

~laurie

ccchampagne said...

So beautiful and multi-facetted. I've been trying for a few weeks to write about this, but... *sad smile* You did a really good job on this one, Brian! Bravo!

Pat Hatt said...

So true with the reference to superman's death, they all did it after that for some marketing ploy. Just with the grand weapons of mass destruction crap, which are conviently waved off now. A lie indeed boughten time and time again.

anointedruins said...

Fascinating how you've juxtaposed and interwoven the cynical marketing of a "resurrected" American icon, the selling of political lies, and the wrenching, all-too-real experience of ordinary people caught in the crossfire. Nicely done.

David

Christine said...

every nation has or will pay for a lie, to keep their life on course as is...that's why politicians are so dizzy all they time...all that spinning...

otin said...

Ahh, but the world is based on lies!

Mark Kerstetter said...

Brian. I'll tell you this, because your poem lays it out straight, no bullshit. On that day, as you know, they were saying right away who the culprits were. I was at work, and one of my first reactions was a fear that Bush would drop a nuke. I then quickly thought the words, "Hug an Arab". True story. Later that day a fellow I knew came in, a fellow named Mohammed. I went up to him and hugged him (and I'm not a hugger by nature). I said, "Today's a bad day," and I added, "In the weeks and months to come you're going to see lots of ugly things. Please remember that not all us Americans are like that." One of the ugly things I saw in the weeks to come were those who somehow confused hatred with patriotism, and heaped contempt on people like me, who wonder what's so funny about peace love and understanding.

Didn't mean to hijack your blog! Thanks for your poem, Brian.

Brendan said...

Poems that assay and assail are a way thinking three deep through the debris of our time. There is a term that the Welsh modernist poet David Jones used call "anathemata" -- "things turned over." Concepts in their long usage will sometimes turn over, become their opposite, then reverse again, like the magnetic poles of the earth. How our concept of heroism changed in 9/11 and the years of fire to come. Heroism isn't super powers any more (that's mere escapism), but rather superb power of resilience, no matter what's to come. Fine, fine work here, Brian. - Brendan

California Ink in Motion said...

Brian!!! These are very clear and powerful thoughts. You captured 10 years in one piece. Truly an amazing write.

Bonnie said...

YES.

li said...

Hate just breeds more hate in an ever tightening circle like a serpent swallowing it's own tail. If only we could dedicate the billions spent on war/armaments to education and cultural exchange. The lies are on all sides; I can remember traveling to another country and people being "surprised" that I was an American because I was neither loud-mouthed nor rude. When people get together one-on-one or in small groups, they generally interact with kindness and decency even if they are from vastly different cultures or faiths.

Susan Ersinghaus said...

Very much so. Well said.

oceangirl said...

hello Brian, I am glad you picked this one.

Fragrant Liar said...

Tough to relive this every year. I watched it unfold like most everybody else on TV, and it'll always be etched in my brain. I think we should cherish our real heroes and remember the fallen, but I can do without the constant TV footage all over again, all day long on September 11, which is my brother's birthday (poor guy).

Fireblossom said...

The lie? There's lies?!? Say it ain't so.

TechnoBabe said...

Some were tempted with lies but have not bought into the lies.

ayala said...

powerful and intense...I just feel so sad for all the loss on that day....

Aida Bode said...

Hi Brian, as always you're spot on with your content and structure. What strikes me is especially your statement in fourth verse "heroes never die" and then again, the fourth verse before the end of the poem "heroes die". Such a strong opposition and the philosophy it contains, so deep.

Glynn said...

How we responded - and how we still respond - says much about who we are as a nation and as individuals. One of the hardest things for me to do was forgive, and to pray for those who did this.

Good poem, Brian.

Betsy said...

never forget....

Mama Zen said...

Well done, Brian.

DJan said...

I am not going to read your comments, there are too many, but I read the poem. Twice. And it resonates in me, too. We bought the lie. When will be stop? And what will happen then?

manicddaily said...

Hi Brian, I think this is a very interesting poem, but I almost wonder whether it wouldn't be better without the refrains - of superman dying and "we bought the lie" refrain, as that is more common place, and also "places" it, in a way, oversimplifies. Just a thought.
I'm sure others will really like it with the refrain, but I think it would, oddly, be more complex without it. K.

Daniel said...

Humanity has become a cauldron of hate and suspicion and unmerited pride. Where is brotherhood, tolerance, and respect? I don't know the way to get where we need to go, so I cry, powerless and impotent.

Beth said...

It became cliche to die...

Innocence was weakened long before the attacks on 9/11. The events of that day knocked the strength out of whatever innocence remained.

Powerful and sad. Well written, Brian

Beth

Sheila Moore said...

it's a tough emotional time...even a decade later.

Eva Gallant said...

Excellent poem, Brian. Very arresting.

lime said...

thank you for this. it's an excellent perspective with a meaningful conclusion. truly, may we stop begetting ever growing hate.

Ann Grenier said...

Perfect, Brian. Ten years of war, digging an ever deeper hole ...

Madhulika said...

9/11 can never be forgotten...
it changed everyone's prospective about things forever....

yellowhousecafe said...

So many truths in what you've written here, Brian. Indeed, how do we conquer the hate that continues to destroy lives? Bravo to you for not pulling punches, to write what I've thought but have not the guts to say on this subject, 'we bought the lie', yes, time and time again, and, we still do ~

Unknown Mami said...

I hope we find the better way.

Henry Clemmons said...

Very powerful.

Pseudo said...

"they only live on in how we live our lives" yes..

have you seen the video of the adopted by an Australian Iraqi young man singing "Imagine?" It touches the heart enormously.

Cloudia said...

together we awaken!



Aloha from Waikiki;


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Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...
Your Thoughts, Your Words, So Powerful and Yet So Very..."True"...I say what a tight-rope you, have walked today.
Being very "fair" and thoughtful Of those who have suffered and lost, but yet, keeping it..."real."
Thank-you,
deedee :-(
Cont...

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

To Pat Hatt..."So true with the reference to superman's death, they all did it after that for some marketing ploy. Just with the grand weapons of mass destruction crap, which are conveniently waved off now. A lie indeed bought time and time again

I think that you have read my mind and taken every word right out Of my mouth before they could reach my lips.
Thank-you, too!
deedee :-/

ladyfi said...

So very powerful. Unfortunately, it looks as if the hate on all sides is being carried on. There has to be a better way than answering violence with violence and hate with hate. At least, I hope so.

pandamoniumcat said...

Powerful words!

Claudia said...

we certainly bought the lie..and the destruction starting at 9/11 still spreads like wildfire and it's fed and fed and i wonder if it ever stops burning...don't want to give up hope though

adeeyoyo said...

Hate was what caused 9/11 and more hate was left behind afterwards. There's no turning back. And strength is needed (super-strength?) to move forward in a positive way. If we don't evil has won the day.

Valerie said...

So many people have said what I feel today. I feel too sad to write any more. Blessings to you all.

SueAnn said...

I too thank the ones who serve!!
I salute those who have gone before!
Hugs
SueAnn

Lorraine said...

we bought the lie...it says everything reduced to simplicity is the only way to the truth
Stay safe, always my friend

Natasha said...

like I said previously....still scared to death, even more so, because if anything...there were a lot of lies we all bought that were brought to light on the heels of this event. And those spreading them are so confident in there hold over us, they are still content to try to sell them.

repressedsoul said...

I don't think that you bought the lie Brian, until this day all citizens were happy to be led. This is the day that sparked the questions. Really strong images, heroes are humans, and such a shame they had to lose thir life in such a way to iconise them.

Great thought provoking poetry.

izzy said...

Yes- I am avoiding a lot of 9/11
remarks, only because I really want to focus on going forward. I do have the deepest respect for all who were affected; and tremendous gratitude for the courage and bravery that have come from it. Blessings...

Heaven said...

We bought the lie... the saddest news.

My heart goes out to all those who died today, and all those who died afterwards because of these lies.

Peace and hope.. my prayers for this fateful day ~

wolfsrosebud said...

Wonderful comparison of fiction and reality. Perhaps, a reality check is what was meant. Powerful piece and a lot to consider...

annell said...

There has to be a better way...

Magpie said...

"Today, I am just burdened for the hate that caused such an event and hope that we can one day move beyond violence and war being our answer to the questions that haunt us."
It's such a tragedy that overshadows what we need to be focusing on. Your words are very true.

English Muse said...

Brian, this is beautiful. I can't wait to read more...It was so nice to see your comment on my blog today, old friend. Thank you. xo

Ann LeFlore said...

Brian your tribute and poem leaves tears in my eyes. I was not in America when this happened but even on the small islands where I live we felt the pain that everyone was going through and saw this on TV for weeks afterwards.
http://gatelesspassage.com/2011/09/11/the-sorrow-of-our-times/

libithina said...

so moved by this Brian ~ but what truths you told ~ 'heroes die, and don't come home or back to life,
they only live on in how we live our lives' clincher ~ Lib x

Kerry O'Connor said...

The better way is for the individual to embrace the love of fellow man tightly to his own breast, and turn his back on the worst of human evil.

ethelmaepotter! said...

..."heroes wore spandex, good always finds a way, to win, heroes never die

and then they killed Superman"

BRILLIANT! The best 9/11 post to date, but then, why would I have expected less?

Many times I've likened our nation's ever increasing youth violence to the fact that this generation grew up playing violent video games. Games where warriors throw grenades and wield machine guns, killing the hero time after time...and with the click of a button, the hero gets up and starts all over again until he wins and wipes out all the warriors.

An eye for an eye. And the hero never dies.

lori said...

wow, Brian. this is so powerful. it's still so overwhelming 10 years later. i got stuck watching tv today, tears streaming for those families who suffer most, and words were hard to come by for this prompt, but you found a poignant way to speak truth here. oh, and i love that you highlighted those that will forever be looked at differently because of a few evil men.

Belinda said...

We sure bought the line, and still, we continue to pay its toll.

Mary said...

So much truth in this poem, Brian. Yes, we bought the lie. (Repetition works.) Heroes DO die and they don't return. Life is not a video game where, if we lose, we can begin again.

Myrna R. said...

A wonderful expression of your grief. We all share it.

Can't forget where I was that day. My concern for loved ones in N.Y. and anxiety over war on our turf taunted me to almost hate. Then I realized, that's the root of it all. So, each day in spite of the hatred that seems to spread, I try (not always successfully) to focus on love. Sounds trite, but ...

Rebecca S. said...

As I read this I kept singing in my head "I bought the lie and the lie won".

Brian Miller said...

and now you have it stuck in mine rebecca...smiles.

Heather Grace Stewart said...

Excellent. The repetition really works - message here so clear. Thanks for all the visits to my blog - great to have constant support of you and other dverse poets.
Peace.
Heather

Janice said...

Wonderfully done. The repetition of "we bought the lie" made this a strong piece even more potent. That line is going to stay with me.

Tara Miller said...

Life is very fragile - indeed our heroes won't come back to life but can live on in memories and how we choose to live our lives....This day will forever be wrought with emotion. You've done a wonderful job of capturing real lives and real moments from this day. Choosing to live to help others not harm and to love our neighbor would indeed be a good start to honoring our heroes.

seasideauthor said...

Oh how true and well written!
Can not wait to read more!

California Girl said...

Brian, I like this. It's angry, it's sad, it's reflective. I'd like to repost, with your permission.

Luke Prater said...

You've said this in what I think is a refreshing and real way. I hate to say it but so much is still, ten years later, wrapped up in 'the lie'. And many responses in Facebook status updates etc almost make me cringe rather than feel the pain of loss. It was horrific, and people died. People still suffer, greatly. Like many innocent Iraqis and Afghanis. And US or British soldiers who were lied to, as they were in Vietnam. I could go on. Thanks for some truth about the lie.

bodhirose said...

Well done, Brian--a lot of emotion in this. There's so much that can be said; I don't even know what to say...

Philip Thrift said...

Yes, we bought the lie. Too bad we can't get our money back.

The Bug said...

Well said - I especially love the part about them living on in how we live our lives...

Sue said...

There does have to be a better way. And we have to be willing and able to find it.

Sometimes I admit that it seems nigh on to impossible. But I am an optimist at heart, and I don't want to give up on us. I won't.

"/

chromapoesy.com said...

Thought provoking and well said. I had a hard time finding heroes in the life I grew up in so the disillusionment started early. This is what we teach our children violence, retribution, recrimination, insanity, fear, and then wonder why the world never changes.

WyomingDiva said...

I have read many writings and poems on 9/11 today - but yours really captures the confusion and rage and loss. Thank you.

Theodore Daniel Richards said...

sounds like you don't like lies...well, the truth isn't much better...

joanna said...

love the tone of that ending, and the way the death of the superhero was woven throughout. powerful as ever, brian.

Anna said...

"heroes die, and don't come home or back to life,
they only live on in how we live our lives"
Powerful poem, Brian.

The Empress said...

I'm with you, Brian.

Lydia said...

I loved this, Brian. I will print it off and put it in the cedar chest along with our local paper's insert commemorating the day. Who knows who it will be in the future, but someone will find it and read it, as I found newspapers about the end of WWI tucked there by my grandmother, along with various poems and other mementos from the time. The truth about lies must live on.

C Rose said...

We do tend to crash into reality rather than walk within it, its direct questioning of that in this piece gave it such power. There is a better way, I have faith we will find it. ~ Rose

kez said...

Powerful and honest ! thank you x

Lolamouse said...

"...they only live on in how we live our lives." So true. And most of us aren't being very heroic, unfortunately.

Heather said...

there were so many heroes that day....never forget. it was a tough day...

Zuzana said...

Your post above and this one is very powerful indeed...
It celebrates the unsung heroes and the fact that despite the cruelty with which we are faced each and ever day, human kind still harbours hopes for greatness...
xoxo

Syd said...

And I don't think that we have learned much since we bought the lie. In fact, we seem to be deeper and deeper into greed and hate, in spite of that day in which people seemed to come together. Just like hurricanes, the wind passes and people power back up, closing windows against neighbors.

lifeisaroadtrip said...

So freaking true.

Goofball said...

it gave me chills