11 September 2011

September 11, 10 years on

i awoke to the television
churning out images of
the world in damage control.

the sky was raining planes, and

the monsters had shown their faces:
their boots of evil
trampling upon eternity’s certainty.

and from the dust and rubble,

paper was the only escapee-
forever haunted by ten thousand screams
etched upon its fibres.

this doesn’t happen-

not in the world that I know.
this is reality T.V at its most real.

I wrote this poem just after September 11 2001. I was 19 when the planes hit the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. I was in hospital when it happened. I remember feeling better that morning, telling the nurse that I was wanting to watch music videos on tv. She said that she doesn't think anything will be on tv as a plane hit the World Trade Centre in New York. I couldn't quite fathom the impact, I didn't know anything about the World Trade Centre's size. So I turned on the tv. And was floored by the enormity of it all. I watched tv all day for the rest of my hospital stay. 

I think the thing that changed for me most since September 11 2001, aside from the west vs east portrayed as good vs evil, is the way the media covers news events. I wasn't used to 24 hour news coverage, and even such instant news coverage, in Australia - not since Lady Diana's death in 2007. It became grief porn. And the media continues to thrive on grief porn. Images of people injured, crying, dead.

I was thinking about the way the media's coverage of September 11 and subsequent large scale tragedies, and wondering the impact on the families of the victims - seeing the images of these tragedies constantly replayed. It must be so difficult. 
Where were you when you found out about September 11?


  1. Touching poem, Carly. I was in year 10. I couldn't sleep so was watching tv in bed. I saw the first plane hit. They initially thought it was an accident. Then live, I saw the second plane hit. I remember hearing the fear and dread and realisation in the news readers voices. It was really scary. You're right. I remember so much about this time and Princess Diana's death. Just those two 'events'.
    Heidi xo

  2. I read your post re: your broken heart.
    As somebody who is nursing one, I would love to just take you out for a warm drink, give you a big hug and nod and smile at what you say.
    Take care, my dear. xx

  3. Tis my birthday. I turned 13 the previous day (adjusting for time- so my actual birthday is 11/sept, but it happened here on the 12/sept).

    I simply recall the innocence of my childhood, being removed in a sudden moment I suppose - not only by becoming a teenager but by experiencing the horror and shock value of the 9/11 attacks.

  4. I was at work, and one of my co-workers came in and told us all that a plane had hit one of the towers. I remember us initially dismissing it as a small plane that had made a mistake. It wasn't until we were listening to the radio later in the day that we actually learned of what had happened, and I didn't see any of the images until I went home from work in the evening. What a sad, sad thing.

  5. I was a single girl, living in Sydney. I was fast asleep when it happened and woke up to the news. I went into work (Martin Place in the CBD) and there were police everywhere as i worked next door to the American Consulate. Giant tv screens were erected in Martin Place, so not only was everything replayed, it was magnified. Talk about grief porn.


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