Julia Vinograd: World Trade Center


Julia, Berkeley, the famous "Bubble Lady" of Berkeley, California, is the city's all-but-official Poet Laureate: the mayor recently gave her a Lifetime Achievement Award. But she is much more than just a street poet: this very wise woman uses the urban scene, from tourists to homeless people, as a window on humanity (and sometimes inhumanity). She also offers unique takes on today's painful headlines. Her Jerusalem Poems, perhaps her finest work, picture that beleaguered city as a beautiful woman engaged in a long love-hate affair with God.

Source: http://www.lionlight.com/Julia.html


World Trade Center

I am an old woman in a black dress

Kneeling in the ruins, clutching my shoulders,

teeth clenched and lips drawn back in a snarl,

rocking back and forth in grief and rage.

I need to tear out my enemy’s throat

for the taste of his lifeblood

is better than strawberries.

I am kneeling in the ruins of Byzantium.

I am kneeling in the ruins of New York.

I am saying the names of my dead children

over and over, as if they were silver bullets

to shoot at God’s smile,

but I want to kill my enemy’s children

more than I want my own children back.

My face is twisted and strong.

People in uniforms want me to stand up

and get out of their way.

I ignore them.

The sky’s a pillar of smoke above me.

There’s a pillar of fire raging inside me.

I clench my shaking old hands into fists.

I need to squeeze my enemy’s throat

more than I need to hold my lover in the sweet and warm.

His body’s in front of me, squashed to a bloody pulp

with fallen metal.

Somebody takes our picture.

I am kneeling in the ruins of Jerusalem.

I am kneeling in the ruins of Ireland.

I am kneeling in the ruins of New York.

I am kneeling in the ruins of Stonehenge

that was a city once.

This was a world once

and I was human once but I’ve forgotten it.

I walk on bloody feet thru war.

Dying soldiers kneel to me

and I smile.