America is Flight 77: chained to the target
by remote control, all power of decision gone,
both engines blind, slaves to the digital bullwhip,
the hardware’s nightmare cabinet of silicon and wire,
the guts of old man Cheney’s dark equipment—used at last!
on Tuesday morning in the well below the White House,
white fat fingers flicking history’s helpless switches.
Happy now, a hidden king directing everything. AA 77
folding into flaming liquid, metal vapor, gypsum dust.
The blast-wave rips the coke machines like paper:
glass and candy everywhere, glass wet with fire,
as rainbow Skittles perforate the intern’s legs.
Insulation: burning horsehair packed between the floors
by Truman’s engineers—great holes—ten thousand crates
of files baked to ashes; tides of black smoke pouring
down the hall from higher floors, beams; where it’s quiet,
vortices of poison smoke pool white like cream. The Kevlar
windows blunt the bouncing axes of the firemen, unbreakable.
America is WTC 7, rigged to burn and then collapse, free-fall.
Beyond the giant day, the smell hung on, deep into Winter.
On New Year’s Eve we heard from Robert Lowell’s ghost:
“Clamavimus! O depths, we are poured out like water.”
All year we breathed vapors of the dead; asbestos, ash.
Draped in one enormous rag of black, the DeutscheBank
building hid beneath its canvas veil and processed trades,
shifting giant numbers in the dark, Wall Street’s great black
cube of pure authority, dreaming of the Reichstag’s flames.
Do not compare it with the hollow granite cube in Mecca,
draped in its enormous black silk veil, the Kiswah,
with its tracery of holy verses spelled in spun gold thread.
Algae blooms in vast profusion; 90 million years go by;
Cheney sends the Air Force off on drills because he knows
what’s coming; wants it to succeed, wants to start the game.
So white investment bankers and Honduran janitors
burn for his fermented ancient slime. His, ours, theirs,
De profundis, we are poured out like petroleum,
into an undisclosed location.