September 11th Epic Poem Chapter 13

The Following is chapter 13 of the September 11th Epic Poem. The rough draft was written between June 2008 and May 2010. It is 2,000 lines long and has 1,499 rhyming pairs.
 
CHAPTER THIRTEEN (The North Tower Trap)  
The sum of all I’ve said ‘til now
            May seem obscure and vague,
And ev’ry point seems out of joint
            When patience starts to lag.                             
But if you’ll wait to extricate
            Your brain from what I’ve said,
You’ll understand there is a plan
            Behind the things you’ve read.
 
I’ve spent some time and lots of rhyme
            On philosophic notes,
Which have a sound that’s often found
            In bumper-sticker quotes.
But I insist my aim in this
            Is surely not by far,
To earn some pay through each cliché
            I stick to someone’s car.
 
 
For have no doubt this song’s about
            That mid-September day,
When thousands died and millions cried
            In anger and dismay.
My goal remains to help explain
            The horror that was there,
And merge this with the very pith
            Of ev’ry day despair.
 
The things I’ve said at last have led
            Us back to where we were:
When tower two collapsed right through
            And shortly was no more.
And ev’ry one in tower one
            Now faced a mortal threat;
But those who knew what they must do
            Could still be rescued yet.
 
The fire chiefs engulfed in grief
            Had left the tower’s base.
They understood that all who could
            Must leave in any case.
The ones who grasped what just had passed
            Felt horribly bereft.
They all agreed they’d later need
            Whomever still was left.
 
The mayday call went out to all
            Who still remained inside,
Directing those with radios         
            To flee before they died.
The most who heard that vital word
            While climbing towards death;
Were turned around and started down,
            While slowly catching breath.
 
But other pairs who climbed the stairs
            Had not received the news.[13]
They still embraced the grueling race
            Straight up that smoking fuse.
They thought of chaps engulfed in traps
            Above them in that hell.
These daring men did not know when
            The southern tower fell.
           
 
As some came down they shortly found
            That others still came up.
Bewildered men yelled out to them
            To ask them what was up.
They told each band that head command
            Had ordered all to leave;
But some of these despite their pleas,
            Inclined to disbelieve.
 
The most agreed to leave with speed,
            But some remained and died.
They chose to stay, survivors say,
            For reasons far and wide:
To not descend without a friend,
            Or else to rest and talk;
But others paused to help the cause
            Of those who could not walk.
 
Confusion grew as crew by crew
            The exodus began.
They took their time to make the climb,
            Exhausted to a man.
They thought that when they reached the end
            They’d learn what’s going on;
But to their awe instead they saw
            That ev’ryone was gone.
 
The leaders’ post was just a ghost:
            The plaque alone remained.                
They looked around for sight or sound,
            But only silence reigned.
The pallid crust of chalky dust
            Induced a kind of swoon,               
Which made it seem as in a dream                                             
            They’d stepped onto the moon.[14]                                           
 
They paused in shock, afraid to talk,
            As if already dead.
The empty shell produced a spell
            That hypnotized their heads.
They felt a voice, against their choice,
            Enticing them to rest;
But seasoned guys could recognize
            This final, lethal, test.
 
The time had passed, the die was cast
            To close the second act.
This tower built to never wilt     
            Could not remain intact.
The steel beams and welded seams
            Had weakened at their heart.
They’d fought so hard, but badly scarred,
            At last they came apart
 
Then ev’ryone who still could run
            Was dashing for escape.
The ones who’d walked a couple blocks
            Remained in hopeful shape.
The ones whose hides were just outside
            Had somewhat even odds,
But all the pairs who roamed the stairs
            Would see the face of God.
           
The crushing noise engulfed these boys,
            With little pain, I hope.
A moment’s sweat is all they’d get
            For hearts and minds to cope.
These heroes died because they tried,
            With much success, I add,
To save the lives of dads and wives
            Whom other people had.
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