Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rapture



image borrowed from bing


Rapture

“I am often asked how do I know if my followers have reached
enlightenment. That’s easy. Every morning I count them. Those
who have left have reached enlightenment.”--Mulla Nasreddin.


At 8:46 a.m, American Airlines Flight 11, flying
at 466 mph crashed into the North Tower
between floors 93 & 99.

Jack Sailor worked hard at not losing
consciousness under that massive desk
on the 105th floor of 1WTC,
on that beautiful Tuesday morning;
the illuminated face on his golden Rolex
reminding him that 20 minutes prior
the building had sustained some kind of impact
and explosion.

Several large plate glass windows had been blown out,
acrid smoke smelling like high octane gasoline
hung like a dark choker around his neck,
his red silk tie was wrapped tight
over his burning nose and mouth.

He had just arrived at a meeting held in secret
regarding some land acquisition in New Jersey.
The last thing Bill Priestly had said jokingly,
just before his head exploded, 
“Why are you eating my walnuts?”. 

Some people got on their cell phones,
and there was ten kinds of yelling
about an airliner that had crashed
into the Tower below them;
the stairwells were all blocked,
evacuation appeared impossible.

The shrill screaming had continued
non-stop for 15 minutes, replaced
by unearthly wailing as squads of survivors
formed into leap-lines before throwing themselves
out of smashed windows, preferring free-falling
at 100 miles per hour to remaining
in that blazing quagmire.

Jack, always the Murid, remained low
in a fetal position, contemplating
the impossible, that somehow
it was safer to remain motionless,
but this required excessive effort
since fear tore at his body
like a ravenous tiger.

He knew he had to push himself
away from intellectualism,
had to commune with his deeper self,
reminding that entity that he was experiencing
a mystikos, that every normal aspect
of reality had been shattered,
that despite the obvious contradictions
piled up all about him, he simply
had to cling tenaciously to the overarching thesis
that he could survive if he could tune out
the deathly din and remain quiet.

He could barely visualize the 2WTC across
from him, but in a flashing moment of clarity
at exactly 9:03 a.m. he watched
United Airlines Flight 175 flying at 590 mph
crash into the face of the South Tower.

“My God,” he thought, “Dragons have attacked us,
the earth has split open and flocks of demons
have taken to the air!”

The world was wearing the blood-soaked
jet fuel-saturated cloak of a Zen koan,
there would be no answers to this riddle.
Was this the rapture, some mystical oblivion?
Were Jesus & Buddah & Krishna & Lao Tze
hovering divinely just beyond the smoke?

The air was raped again by raucous rumbling
at 9:58 a.m. as the South Tower collapsed.
He watched it hypnotically crashing
floor onto floor like a sea captain’s telescope
until it dropped out of his sight line.

His mantra, repeated at a rapid rate, was
I will survive,
I will survive,
I will survive,
staring at his Rolex as yantra,
his basest instincts blunted by chaos,
blinded by smoke and fire,
the insight came softly.

He rose to his feet.
He seemed alone.
The silence held no screaming.
His heart beat staccato in his ears
walking stiffly toward a broken window,
squinting into indifferent sunlight
struggling with his distinction
between the self and the divine.

Alas, the decision was made for him
at 10:28 a.m. as the North Tower collapsed,
and he found himself 1,300 feet in the air.
The torrents of wind seemed to hold him up
for a moment while he portrayed a falling version
of Sufi whirling, before the descention,
like Christ before him, down, down
hard to hell, mystical regression,
returning to the maternal womb,
laughing just as his body reached
terminal velocity.

Glenn Buttkus

January 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets OLN

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?

14 comments:

jasmine calyx said...

Excellent writing as always, Glenn.

Love the quote at the beginning.

And Stanza 3.

"just before his head exploded,
“Why are you eating my walnuts?” Ha! Great way to weave that in. :)

These:

"Jack, always the Murid, remained low
in a fetal position, contemplating
the impossible, that somehow
it was safer to remain motionless"

"He knew he had to push himself
away from intellectualism"

"had to cling tenaciously to the overarching thesis
that he could survive if he could tune out
the deathly din and remain quiet."

"The world was wearing the blood-soaked
jet fuel-saturated cloak of a Zen koan"

"The air was raped again by raucous rumbling" Ooh, love this so much.

"His mantra, repeated at a rapid rate, was
I will survive,
I will survive,
I will survive," Am I bad? I'm picturing him singing that song.

"staring at his Rolex as yantra,
his basest instincts blunted by chaos,
blinded by smoke and fire,
the insight came softly." Oh my gosh, this is definitely my favorite part.

"squinting into indifferent sunlight struggling with his distinction" Or is this my favorite part?

"like Christ before him, down, down
hard to hell, mystical regression"

"laughing just as his body reached
terminal velocity"

So glad to have you write for me, Glenn. Thanks again.

Jim Robbins said...

"Rapture" is breath taking in it immediacy, sense of wonder and ultimate horror, Well imagined and given form.I would point out a possible correction In wording. The proper nautical nomenclature for a sea captain's telescope is a "spyglass".

mrs mediocrity said...

oof, this was a punch in the stomach,very real and heartwrenching... but i love the way you ended it, that laughter, there lies hope.

Brian Miller said...

def intense...having been in the air that day, i find little peace to it...and i think many have found little peace with it since...from the lying of the politicians to the war that never finds an end...hard to think about what those trapped inside went through that day...

Mary said...

Glenn, definitely a chilling piece. Took me right back to that day; and I think you wrote from the mind of what many must have been thinking on that day before.............the unthinkable.

Susan said...

Horrible and wonderful, Glenn. Though you call this "Rapture," you question the whole idea of rapture with the brilliant and brittle end of your poem, and this middle:

"Was this the rapture, some mystical oblivion?
Were Jesus & Buddah & Krishna & Lao Tze
hovering divinely just beyond the smoke?"

. . . and I believe you have at least one person's experience exactly right: his death is a little rapture. I believe we need to think inside the heads of those who face death in order to ever come to peace.


Claudia said...

so tough to think of what people went through that day...and def. the world has changed since then..an intense and emotional write glenn

Laurie Kolp said...

This is so real and wonderfully written... makes me sick just thinking about it.

She Writes said...

Wow, this is powerfully written. The last stanza had to read more than once for the pleasure of reading your what you do in the writing. I apprecaite that the spirituality is not succinct, in a box, predictable, "all-American" but open to interpretation, various schools of thought, and a blended America that exists. Almost sci-fi and too close to home. Bravo.

Behind the Smile said...

Very powerful, I felt I was there with Jack. So sad and emotional reading this. Thinking of what people experienced that day. Some people did think it was the beginning of the end of the world. For some it was.

Kim Nelson said...

Just returned from Manhattan and stayed in a new hotel from which I could watch construction on the freedom tower. You took me back...

Dave King said...

An indictment and the end of all hope - depending which way you read the finale. Well crafted and an enjoyable read, in a masochistic sort of way.

rumoursofrhyme said...

The moment of peace, of knowing what must be done - the sudden clarity of thought - in the midst of such horror and inescapaby facing one's own demise. You've captured that well in this disturbing poem.

mefeedyoume said...

There's more to life than mantras. Sad story, nice read