Masterson Wrote Poem to Deal With 9/11

Rockland County Poet Laureate Dan Masterson wrote "Final Approach" when a piece of art made him think of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

With the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks being commemorated on Sunday, noted poet, educator and long-time Pearl River resident Dan Masterson shared his thought-provoking poem “Final Approach.” 

The poem is based on a 1955 work by artist Jasper Johns entitled “Target with Four Faces.”

“When I saw the Jasper Johns painting on the internet, it immediately reminded me of the men and women caught in the high offices in the towers that morning," Masterson said. "I realized that there might just as well have been a huge target hanging on either one of the towers. I built the poem as though terrorists were doing just that. It is meant to be an elegy of sorts - an attempt to come to terms with the horror."

Masterson notes that “the word "Nabilat" that appears in the "permit"
paragraph under the title in line three is "Taliban" spelled


(an oblique rendering of a Jasper Johns canvas encaustic with plaster
casts: "Target with Four Faces")

Permit 66Q6391-1845 hereby issued to Nabilat Productions for filming to be completed no later than 09/12/01. Access limited to grid defined by Vesey,Church, Liberty, and West Streets, for affixation of a 70' by 70' cloth bearing the replication of Jasper Johns  Target
with Four Faces.
- NYC Office of Film, Television, and Broadcasting, August 03, 2001.

Twin spotlights blast the night

Sky high from the bullet-proof

Windows, flicking shards of light

Into their stainless steel facade

That shimmers like giant tuning forks

Stuck in the veined sidewalk here on

Vesey Street. The dark will be held

At bay until the tapestry gets hung,

Its bloody bull's-eye strung high &

Taut against the 95th-floor extrusions,

Giving their corporate suites the dust

& acrid odor of scorch-blackened tombs.

Two young guns, whose buildings have

All been mountains, are nearly ready

To hang the target, a thing limp as

A shroud, before rappelling back down,

Snapping the hem-grommets to the pitons

They intend to install on the way up,

As they slide handheld willigs along

The window-washer tracks that ascend

To the pinnacle, trusting they'll hold

The canvas slings they'll ride in.

They're giving 10-to-1 odds they'll be

Down, coiling their mile of rope around

Their stanchions, before the morning

Bells toll in Saint Joseph's belfry at

The end of the block. But now it's time

For them to lace on their spirit-gum

Shoes & begin to walk the sunny side

Up, 13 hours before all bells on Earth

Will toll, when the target is hit & torn

Asunder, turning the tower to rubble.

-Dan Masterson

Originally appeared in Hotel Amerika; it will appear in the author's fifth book:That Which Is Seen.

LORD ROTHEFELLER September 09, 2011 at 08:55 PM
just google "loose change" and take an hour out of your life instead of watching american idol...to maybe shed your ignorance.
Catherine Baker September 10, 2011 at 12:20 AM
You have successfully ended the discussion with your last rude and offensive reference to my intelligence.
Anthony September 10, 2011 at 12:34 AM
The only "ignorance" here is from someone that expects us to believe the loons in "Loose Change"...I guess my earlier post was deleted, but yet you can freely post your silliness about the "inside job". Wow. The items brought up in that ridiculous film are easily debunked by pure and simple science, but none of you or your fellow "conspirancy" nuts will accept that. Please post the link where Mr. Silverstien said there was "demolition" (whatever that means) already inside, I could use the laugh.
Catherine Baker September 10, 2011 at 01:03 AM
Thank you for your comments, Anthony.
Kelley S. September 10, 2011 at 01:19 PM
While my family was blessed enough to not lose anyone on September 11th, 2001, we were deeply affected by the aftermath. My father was asked to help in the rescue and recovery & after 9 months, he was diagnosed with mercury poisoning and spent countless hours at the hospital, took numerous medications everyday and continued his everyday life as if he were in perfect health. For you to say his sacrifice was for an "inside job" is revolting. For you to say that thousands of children are growing up with out a parent, some having never met their fathers, was for an "inside job" is disgusting. For you say that thousands of family lost loved ones in such a tragic way was for an "inside job" is disturbing. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but for you to make a public statement like that during this time is not necessary. Show some respect for the people who lost their lives and for the families that have been grieving for 10 years.


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