The Cat and the Horror

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By HEATHER WAGENHALS and Jim Woods. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Welcome to today's Audio Essay from Way Of The Renaissance Man Starring Jim Woods Today marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center September 11, 2001. In this special audio presentation, Jim offers his poem and thoughts on this day. And now, here's Jim Woods.

The Cat and the Horror By Jim Woods There was a cat sleeping on my porch She didn’t know what I had witnessed

The lacerated skyline of metropolis A bleeding out of her twin sons Flying lancets piercing steel hulls Black smoke seasoning the azure sky As the falling man descends to the concrete

Incendiary ideas born in Bronze To please a prophet on a white horse Hatred of the good for being the good Crumbles a once-proud icon Falling ash blankets District streets

A macabre concoction of concrete, bone, blood Fury rises in the giant’s heart Rage and revenge burn white Country targeted, let there be fight Two decades later, let there be flight

There is a cat sleeping on my porch While the world remembers

Jim Woods

September 11, 2021

**********

On Saturday, we mark the 20th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001.

And yet the passing of two decades hasn’t been enough to fade our scars. And for me, those scars will never be allowed to fade.

Etched on my personal black box recorder are the memories I had circa 1999, when I checked in at the World Trade Center lobby to report to work for my first day at Morgan Stanley. The firm’s training program for new advisers/traders took place in those Twin Towers, and in the weeks that followed, I spent many an afternoon high atop the Manhattan skyline, learning the business inside the iconic monument erected to celebrate capitalism, Western achievement and the wealth of nations.

Their boldness, their glaring simplicity, their twin-brother like stance and their defiance of the rest of the New York City skyline was all part of the reason the World Trade Center was targeted for destruction by forces whose primary directive is death to the infidel.

On that day, when the blue skies were pierced by the stiletto insertion of commercial jets into the towers, I watched the events unravel from some 2,500 miles west. A condo nestled at the foot of the Hollywood Hills hardly seemed congruent to the billowing smoke oozing out of the structural siblings.

The only connection in my mind was… my mind.

A mind having been there just a couple of years earlier, wondering what it would be like to actually be there in that moment.

Wondering if I would have been incinerated along with the roughly 2,600 other souls that were extinguished that day.

Wondering if I would have acted heroically, the way so many did.

Wondering if I would have succumbed to the cowardice that so often accompanies paralytic fear.

I would like to think I could have been a hero. I need to think I would have been a hero.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to find out.

Instead, from afar, from the safety of Hollywood, I watched. All day, all night, I watched. Compelled by the horror; compelled by the enormity. Thinking to myself, “Will this be the world from here on?”

Would the world be plunged into war? At that moment, I wanted war. I wanted vengeance. I wanted to pound those responsible, and the philosophy that animated these acts, into a pulp.

I still want to.

I want to stoke the burn of that day. I want to remember the collapse of icons.

I want to keep calling out the life-hating, celebratory death cult of ideas that is radical Islam, and I want to rejoice in its defeat.

The scars of history must never be allowed to heal, and no salve of time should be permitted to mask the day America would be altered forever.

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