UPDATE: Use this link to read the poem on my website—Elise’s journal is getting slashdotted. Let us know if you experience any display problems.“110 Stories”, a poem by John M. Ford. It’s formal rhyming iambic pentameter, ABAB: one story told per line, 110 lines total for the stories in the World Trade Center. I first read it last fall. Someday I’ll be able to read it without crying.
There’s no one you can help above this floor.It was good enough to be published anywhere at all, but most magazines weren’t opening mail from strangers; and even if they had, there was a tidal wave of writing about 9/11.
We’ve got to hold our breath. We’ve got to climb.
Don’t give me that; I did this once before.
The firemen look up, and know the time.
These labored, took their wages, and are dead.
The cracker-crumbs of fascia sieve the light.
The air’s deciduous of letterhead.
How dark, how brilliant, things will be tonight.
(Yes, but this bit’s by Mike Ford.)
I’ll confess: I passionately wanted it for my weblog, but didn’t ask for fear that he’d say yes—the paying venues where you send submissions like this want first rights. But none of them bought it, and they’re stupid, and it is altogether right and proper that Elise should have published it.
I told Mike at the time that as soon as this thing hit the net, it would start spreading like wildfire. I suppose I’m doing my bit to spread it now. So you, whoever you are: If send a copy of it to your mom, or your college roommate, or you mailing list, leave the author’s name on it. And if it comes back around to you again with the name missing, stick it back on.