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New York Skyline (C) 2004 by Daniela Gioseffi. All rights reserved.

9/11 Poem by Brenda Gannam: Scroll down!

Brenda J. Gannam, Arab-American poet, artist, and writer is a longstanding member of the New York creative community. As a student of French, Arabic, Russian, and German, Ms. Gannam has been influenced by the metaphysical, spiritual, and symbolist aspects of poets writing in those languages. Ms. Gannam's work reveals the powerful spiritual messages embedded in everyday phenomena. Simple subjects with underlying metaphysical and Jungian themes are written in free verse using alliteration, internal rhyme and, quite often, words and phrases from other languages. Many of Ms. Gannam's poems are presented in her signature vertical format with little or no punctuation and, in some respects, resemble abstract or impressionist paintings. Ms. Gannam's poetry has been featured in The New Press Literary Quarterly, Feelings, Pegasus Dreaming, The Lyric Recovery Anthology, Lunch With the Muse, This is My Beloved, Here Is New York (a video anthology documenting the events of 9/11), and Poets Against the War. She was awarded first prize by The Anderie Poetry Press for her poem "umm" (Arabic for "mother/source") which appeared in Womankind, a special edition devoted to poetry for and about women. Her poem "forget not me" was featured in the 2002 Lyric Recovery Festival. Ms. Gannam also writes haiku, senryu, and renku. Her work in these forms has appeared in Frogpond, Black Bough, Pink Bulldozer, Five O'Clock Shadow, The Pianist's Nose, Behind the Fig Leaves, Hues, and Voices and Echoes. She is regional coordinator for the Haiku Society of America and coordinator of The Spring Street Haiku Group. In addition to poetry, Ms. Gannam writes nonfiction: her chronicle about mourning doves appeared in Brooklyn Bridge Magazine, and her work on a variety of subjects has appeared in other magazines and publications.


... but then I wake up

moon low on the horizon
        the nation’s flags
                 at half-mast

my standoffish neighbor
        greets me with a bear hug
                 September 12

my first thought
       "Please, God,
                 not the Brooklyn Bridge!"

1:00 a.m. subway ride
        I smile at everyone
                 no one smiles back

the president saying
       "God Bless America"
                 as if it’s an order

this Christmas
        all my tree lights

since that Tuesday
        I look for every chance
                 to speak Arabic

bunker busters
        busting more
                 than bunkers

after the disaster
        all the friends who wrote or called
                 and those who didn’t

for once
        no one telling
                 disaster jokes

Arab neighborhood
        in every window
                 the Stars and Stripes

circling ground zero
        a ring of sequoias . . .
                 . . . but then I wake up

woman exchanging
        a book on career building
                 for one on childbirth

the next day
        I change the way I say my name
                 from Gannam to Ghaanim

late September
        behind the birdsong
                 the drone of war planes

memorial service
        the communion wafer
                 sticks in my throat

on the visitors platform
        souvenir hawkers

my grief
        for someone who died before

from the next room
        my grandson’s voice
                "Wanna play ‘crash the towers’?"

house cleaning
        I wipe away the dust
                 of the dead

August 2002
        here comes the E train
                 To World Trade Center

        where the towers once stood
                          the crescent moon

Poems copyrighted (C) 2004 by Brenda Gannam. All rights reserved.

Graphics copyrighted (C)2004 by Daniela Gioseffi. ALl rights reserved.

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