Bad 9/11 poetry: ‘Untitled’ and ‘Declared Tumble’


While combing through the digital catacombs of my computer files, I found something I’d forgotten about: BAD 9/11 POETRY.

You see, after the 9/11 attacks five years ago, people who had theretofore never written poetry decided now was the time to start, as a means of expressing their grief, anger and sorrow. But instead of putting those poems in their diaries or sharing them with friends or lighting them on fire, they instead mailed them to the newspaper where I worked, apparently believing that in times of national crisis the newspaper would become a literary journal and starting publishing poetry on the Letters to the Editor page.

Well, we didn’t publish poetry, and the editor of the opinion page instead handed all the submissions over to me. He figured I’d know what to do with them.

Here are a couple, reproduced exactly as they were received. Note, of course, that it is not the sentiments that are fodder for mockery, but rather the inept and sentimental way they are expressed.


by Joshua Erickson

Somewhere there are wails of grief
Death’s handsome crop to reap
The aching cries of those alive
The dying who long to sleep

The frigid air though summertime
The icy pain a knife
The chilling loss of innocence
The colder loss of life

The weapon forged of ignorance
The victims very own
Metal birds with bowels of flame
Into the foe were flown

The giant toppled to the ground
A mortal wound perhaps
Someone hopes he will not stand
And aims for his collapse

Somewhere there are angered souls
Whose eyes are filled with tear
In their hands a sword is drawn
Defiant though in fear

In their hearts a patriots flame
Unquenched by acts of war
With retribution on their lips
The giant stands once more

Justice must be meted out
To satisfy the dead
The serpent’s venom bruised thy heel
But thou shalt crush his head

Somewhere there are wails of grief
And somewhere shouts of glee
Though devils taunt and hell gapes wide
Free men will be free.

* * * * *

Declared Tumble
by Bob Faux

Tumbling towers freeze our minds,
Landing on our soil.
Tears flow, coast to coast,
In them we toil.

On us war’s been declared,
Who’s our enemy?
Let us employ thoughtful thought,
Wav’ring who it be.

Some say good can come
From world hunt.
Let us, hand in hand,
Grasp united front.

* * * * *

Bob Faux used to write letters to the editor on a regular basis, most of them as incoherent as his poem. “Let us employ thoughtful thought/Wav’ring who it be”? What does that even MEAN? And how do you “grasp [a] united front”? What does the title, “Declared Tumble,” mean? WHAT IS WRONG WITH BOB FAUX?