It the continuing search for truth, in theories and counter theories, let us not forget that innocent people died and regardless of religious or political beliefs, that fact is unquestionable. My heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives. This poem is about my experience.

Class Zero

Double class after lunch is maths lesson / I walk in impeccably dressed in / uniform, till James Cannon, my best friend, whose wit / is swift / as comets, announces to the class… “Inua has a minus area” - that’s the mathematical term for a ‘black hole’ / I jump over the table / grab James in a headlock, grind my knuckles / into the crown of his skull till his knees buckle / He screams, calling others into our mock scuffle / and the class becomes this mass fray, where small fists like soft rubble / rain on the buildings of our bodies, limbs / like metal beams / twist under the dust clouds of voices, billow upwards and outwards, continuously /

till the maths teacher, suddenly there, pissed / calls for order. Dust settles. In the debris / of rough shirts, upturned chairs, she demands to know the culprit of the fray / But in the calamity just passed, we grown together, become a family of dust boys, so no one calls my name /

She shrugs, then tells us how ten minutes ago, two planes were flown into the world trade centre / calls it ‘America’s worst night mare’/ sinks into a silence we take for despair/ but return her news with blank stares/ We are sixteen. All we care of / beyond these four walls / are Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg / and the tingle of taste buds /before a pint of Guinness/ with no frame of reference/ so this is new.

I leave school / puzzled, into the living room/ find my father huddled / around the television, mother paces back and forth, the atmosphere is horror laced with disbelief, I sit / cross legged towards the t.v. screen / lean into the footage played over again / where two planes / crash into buildings / instant rubble rains off, the metal beams twist under the dust clouds and fire, billow upwards and outwards, continuously /

till they suddenly fall. Dust settles. In the debris / of torn lives and upturned worlds / the news reader calls / for the culprit of the fray / but pauses to say / how from Ground Zero / New York spawned a new race of people / survivors of the day / concrete powdered to one tone of grey /

Years pass / I date a girl called Sara, ask / what she did as the towers fell, she tells me / it was her birthday, she blew out her candles as the fires swelled / the most muddled day she’d been through / I agree, ‘me too.’ /