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World Trade Center / Black Holes / ’74

ISSUE:  Summer 2007

I may have flunked physics
but I was full of black holes
and wind that was slamming the tower

as I rose in the glass box
up to the 80th with a check
from Chilean Line. Black holes

opened relativity, created frozen stars.
In the sky lobby on the 99th I loafed
over headlines of John Dean’s testimony

and the suicide of a CEO—
I heard the relativity of the wind.
Everything was like. I was trapped in similes

I hated. I couldn’t leave my head
and so the sound was insidious, then beautiful—
Then … it was there

(if I say I once bird-bone pipes
in an old church in the Caucasus
like this wind blowing in the tracery

of the top floors, in the pipelines
and farther up.) Through the glass
I could see the other tower wavering—

the silver like broken mica—
I was falling matter dislodged by the idea
of a place from which nothing can return:

Jackie Wilson’s tremolo, Paganini’s
broken wires, or the frantic shaking
of the small bells at the altar

going up into some place
beyond the smudged-out sky
above the radar needle,

above the planes coming out
of the fog on their way to Newark.

It was possible to hoist an object
out of a black hole with a rope;
this bit of knowledge I was hanging on to.


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