The Sanctuary for Universal Dissidents

do you remember
By Steve Ben Israel

do you remember that morning
when the planes crashed into
the wtc and turned us into dust

do you remember the zerox copies
of the photo's of the lost plastered
all over the walls of the city
with their deadly cry of hope

do you remember the beautiful poetry
that turned up a few days later
along side of the photos of the lost

I remember standing on canal street
watching the towers coming down
the crowd around me breaking into tears
while others to shocked in disbelief

I remember a black man who got out alive
and covered from head to toe in white dust
ask me if I could get him a beer

I remember going to the hardware store
to buy a mask but they were sold out
so I bought an american flag hankerchif
on the corner and wrapped it around my face
like the lone ranger people
walking by said "may I take your

do you remember the cops from atlanta and
and miami parked in the village and everyone
starting conversations and thanking them
for coming up to help with shock talk

do you remember that the attackers were from
saudi arabia and met in afghanistan and
then the usa destroyed the country

do you remember all the flags and flag
buttons on the jackets to show you were
truly american and folks wearing baseball
hats that said nypd, fdny or usa

do you remember the checkpoints on canaL
street and houston, 14th, 23rd and so on
I had to show my id twice when
walking home

do you remember the middle eastern profiling
and the indian man in staten island who was
killed wearing a turban for revenge as the
heat was taken off black people for a

do you remember the cries for revenge and
the bodies keep piling and its still not

do you remember orange alert and what's
in your bag

do you remember union square and all the
great vibes and music, and the 3 black
boys singing beatles tunes and their
father on wash tub bass drowning out
the politicos chanting the chickens
have come home to roost

do you remember walking by the fire houses
with mountains of flowers all around
and going over to firefighters and shaking
their hands and trying to find the right

I remember going to ladder company 39
because my friend keith glasgow had
worked there and I gave out copies of
my poem "warm it up", "they made me coffee
and we talked about what a beautiful
man keith was. i met his parents a week
later and there were tears behind my
my shades and they were so stoic

I remember my great friend tony
rang my bell and I couldn't recognize his
voice but I buzzed him anyway and he
walking up the stairs wearing a firemans
suit and his face full of grey dust
I said may I help you, he said it's me
tony, I said what are you doing in that
outfit he said I been putting out fires
at ground zero as a volunteer.

he started to wash up, I said,how did you get there
he said as soon as I saw the first plane
crash in to tower one I ran over to our
local fire house and told them I am a
vietnam veteran a former life guard
and that I am in pretty good shape and
they said suit him up.

I held those heavy
giant fire hose close to five hours.
tony fish nunziata passed recently and
I wonder if he got that cancer at ground
zero or maybe he got it in vietnam
oh... I miss him so

I remember coming out of the spring street
subway and there were six soldiers with
ak47s and machine guns and I said how you
guys doing and where are you from. I told
the guy from boston that the redsox
would win the world series one day

do you remember the great fear that came
upon us from the terrorists and from the
white house that tried to stop all our
visions of a better world and the paranoia
that still hangs over us

do you remember that there was a big difference
in talking to folks before and after we invaded
the those two countries and its still there

I remember that I had to gather all my love to
keep it working for me and it is so hard

Read more of his poetry in Goodi Magazine here:

Watch Steve performing his poetry,
as a one man show in the TheaterLab of New York,
in a piece called "Non-violent Executions" .




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