Depth On The Bench

By the dawn’s early light
Came the end of the night
Where his demons had ransacked his soul

He had slept between screams
He’d let loose in his dreams
To awake and escape was his goal

All alone on his bench
Still immersed in the stench
Of the bottle he clutched to his chest

The night terrors replaced
By the panic he faced
Every day, it would yield him no rest

For his raiment, distressed
His harsh life now confessed
Here was evidence true of despair

Now untouched as he lay
By the hope of this day
Or the smell of the crisp harbor air

Busy souls passed him by
And he started to cry
Without tears, for they’d left long ago

With a purposeful stride
The living now passed his side
Without casting a thought towards his woe

For the bed that he’d made
The park service had paid
It was here that he spent his night hours

As if by some inner voice
Had said “make this your choice”
In the shadow of these matching towers

Though the bustle by day
Would soon drive him away
To continue pursuit without cause

But on this autumn day
Some strange force made him stay
Though at risk of the vagrancy laws

He sat up, gazed his eyes
Where the twin buildings rise
Towards the skies in a jubilant thrust

They are symbols of power
Free enterprise’s true flower
More than that, they are beacons of trust

Their proud glass now reflects
What their culture protects
The fond dreams of a world he can’t fit
There is pain in his heart
As he makes to depart
But again, some strange urge makes him sit

As the workers stream in
Unaware of their sin
In his mind, through his fog, he can see

Life’s a choice, not a gift
He has chosen to drift
They have chosen instead to be free

By their toil every day
They continue to pay
For the choices that he couldn’t make

It is their love of life
That girds them for the strife
These shafts hold the chances they take

In pursuit of a dream
Every girder and beam
Were erected, an idol to hope

They reflect by their size,
The grandeur of their rise,
The enormity of freedom’s scope

Now he shrivels inside
This man, stripped of his pride
And reflects on his failures, his past
As he sits so engrossed
Staring up at his host
He could not be prepared for the blast

By the full light of dawn
His attention is drawn
To a missile inbound on its prey

The impact is loud
And the screams of the crowd
Set the tone that will play out this day

In the din and the smoke
A soul suddenly awoke
And the husk of a man stands erect

As if learning anew
What a man ought to do
He starts slow, but his path is direct

The shatter of glass
That succumbs to the mass
Of the building no longer intact

Overshadows the sound
As his bottle hits ground
And at last he is free to react

One witness speaks
Of a man of the streets
Walking into that pillar of fire
Of the look on his face
How he shed his disgrace
Sacrificing despair for desire

The onlookers saw
Him succumb to the law
Of survival, but more, of intent

He carried the fight
For persistence of right
By his actions his sins were repent

The stories are told
Of a man who was bold
Through the smoke he would drift like a ghost

He was seen on the stair
The dust covered his hair
Carrying someone who needed it most

He’d hand off each in turn
Slip away, then return
With another limp form on his back

Then at once came the sound
And the force shook the ground
As the steel of the girders went slack

The eclipse of the sun
As the world came undone
Was it dust or the vapor of hope
As the structure collapsed
Freedom’s hold was relaxed
There were things with which it couldn’t cope

In the days that would come
Folks would tally the sum
Of the courage expended that day

They would talk of the men
Whose lives came to an end
And we never may know where they lay

But unnoticed by all
Who were caught in the maul
Of this monstrously evil display

Not caught on any tape
Sat a lone ashen shape
On the bench where he’d started his day