Of Silenced Life

September blue sky, American city
gleaming high,
foreign designs
lurking behind
surveillance screens,
moving freely
catching flights,


full of lives taken that day
trapped on planes, on floors high above

that American city, under September blue sky

bustling business until crash witnessed
upward gazes frozen, shocked in place

not one…two…not three…four

not an accident…intentional


steel marvel melted, imploding
inward like nothing seen before
dust apocalypse consumes all
in its path

the smell of annihilation
of nothing left
of silenced life

life that fought

that saved
that chose
between options
no one should

life that will always be remembered
honored, missed

that American city, forever changed
on that September blue sky day
and forever stronger
the heartbeat of a nation
leading the way

two towers gone
3000 lives lost
millions of tears shed
one country united
never forget


~ Emily C.



16 years ago was as blue a sky kind of day as today. I remember the stunning confusion, the watching endless hours of coverage. I remember initial denial bargaining, saying, “Surely they had to all have gotten out, right…right?” Then realizing we were watching thousands dying live on tv. I still went to work…numb. Came home and sobbed while watching the footage of people pleading for info on their loved ones, missing posters lining the streets. I remember the silence of the lake’s float planes that were always daily
sound in my apartment. Eerie quiet.

But, ultimately, as traumatic as it was from 3000 miles away, it didn’t really hit fully until visiting Ground Zero last year, the monuments, and the museum; that the true magnitude of that day could feel tangible.

It’s hard to say what impacted me the most, but the tears really poured when I saw the foundation wall of one of the towers behind which still lie uncollected remains, and upon the face of which has blue tiles, as blue as the sky that day with the quote “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” Or maybe the portion of preserved staircase that still has blood stains on it. The mangled fire trucks, the personal items, the recorded phone calls, the video.

I think everyone should hope to visit in their lifetimes. Never forget the victims and heroes. May it never be repeated.



She had left her small town called Petal. She left her town, her family, friends, and fiance.

Petal slept on the northern edge of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, a coastal town near the forest known for, well…not so known, actually.  Salty air and scent of pine permeated. Views of the Straight of Juan de Fuca, towering mountains and winding roads were dotted with billowing chimneys and nestled farms. So just another stunningly green and beautiful place in the great Pacific northwest that people passed through, maybe stayed in, or escaped to from the big cities.

Everybody wants to escape something to somewhere.

“Welcome to JFK International”  the sign said.

She released a deep sigh as she stepped off the plane. By habit, her left thumb stroked her left ring finger.  Nothing there.  She scanned the terminal in front of her. So far, she recognized no one. A welcomed change.

A six hour flight cramped into absurdly small seats meant for no one with real proportions, she desperately needed yoga. At least she was a good conversationalist; it kept her mind occupied and distracted from the discomfort of her hips pressing into the sides of the seat and her knees knocking the tray table.

In addition, she learned great tips about where to go in her new city for some great food — she intended to eat her way through the city. “Always ask the locals” – was her favorite travel rule. So far, she had never been disappointed by taking time to talk. On her list now thanks to her row mates: BBQ, Italian, burger, sushi places, and of course, steak.

Her whole life, New York had only been a postcard city, sent from others on their journeys; the towering steel buildings, the bridges, taxis, and people. Everywhere. All of the stories, their stories…sounded like dreams from a mystical place that only existed in her childhood imagination, ripe with impossible possibilities.

It was now her turn to see for herself. And just as one must enter Vegas at night and see the lights, so she must enter New York.

The lights beckoned from Times Square like a supercharged searchlight; its own colorful history a symbolic patchwork intersection of world events, where people come to gawk, to celebrate, a congregation of nationalities, a microcosm of commerce.

As New York is the heartbeat of the world, Times Square is New York’s heartbeat.

Hers beat with anticipation of not knowing what was next.

~ Emily C.



Part 1: Return to Sender


My attempt to break past the opening scene of my long abandoned book attempt. 🙂 Can be read stand-alone, or in sequence.

And as I don’t know what kind of story I’m writing, this could literally go anywhere…dark, light, funny, sad, mystical…all of the above perhaps.

Just playing with my brain.  Again, feel free to ignore.

“The New Colossus”


(Photo: Em @poetgirlem)

The New Colossus

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

‘Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’

~ by poet Emma Lazarus, 1883



Having seen the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with my own two eyes for the first time last April, never did I think that in my life or our country’s existence, that these words could possibly mean absolutely nothing to any administration in office, Democrat or Republican alike. This is not about party affiliation, this is about sociopathy, psychopathy, and narcissistic personality disorder. RESIST.


Crazy Idea

So, random idea. While reading my latest issue of The New Yorker and stumbling across the poems in it, I thought to myself…maybe I should submit some poems…

So I did some research. Can’t be anything already published including online. So I’d have to create their limit of 6 poems without any feedback and then submit.

I mean…what’s the worst that could happen, they most likely won’t publish them. But if I don’t try I won’t know.

Anyhoo. I’ve never submitted anything I’ve written anywhere before. But, may as well go big. Life is short. Made ever more prominent by the fact I’m turning 40 in a few weeks. Ahem.

Thoughts? Anyone ever attempted submitting to The New Yorker?

Pigeon Man


(Photography: Emily C., New York City, April 2016)

Every morning,
outside my hotel
there you were
sidewalk strewn
with breadcrumbs
you’d toss to cooing
pigeons pecking
always waiting
for you to come

The busy New York street
bustled past
your daylight ritual, fast…
most without a glance,
except me
pausing to see the care,

Pigeon man, your heart huge

Your tenderness
for those unwanted birds
sharing your meager meal, a splurge
for those little rainbow gray creatures

Some say they are dirty,
but, I saw you and their beauty…
the heart within,
the kindness,
a connection between one
downtrodden man
and his flock
of friends


~ Emily C.



It was a morning treat to see Pigeon Man outside my hotel door as I would head out to explore NYC each day I was there in April. It was the quintessential sight to see in NY: gritty street, non-stop traffic and people, but here he was taking time to take care of these little pigeons that call graffitied Gotham their roost.  It became one of my favorite memories of the city.

Alice in Manhattan


She swirled her snow globe upside down
watched the snow glittering around
the city inside, the shrunken metropolis
imaginary people unseen amongst sparkles

She had walked those streets not long ago
a girl in Manhattan strolling distances alone
concrete jungle of hopes and dreams
of fiery personas buzzing likes bees

Alice in Wonderland with rainbow hair
palpitating heart worn on her sleeve with flair
wondering eyes, wandering soul
she left part of it there
for later retrieval


~ by Emily C.



Central Park ~ NY poem #6

The long plot of trees
carved out of concrete
jungle, a haven of peace
where people retreat
to spend a moment
an hour, a picnic
or along the lake, sit
in quiet amidst the bustle
the hustle of uptown
where folks sit down
breathe on grass green
pause on famed benches
or stroll arm in arm
a beau with his lady
an upperclass woman
with her Pomeranian
from Long Island
monied maidens
or models posing
by blooming roses
the meandering pathways
lit by romantic lantern posts
of storied times
by ponds sublime
row boating at sunset skyline
reflecting what can’t be seen
from center city
between upper east and west
a treasure chest
of natural respite
in the city that never sleeps
it’s the only dark spot
at night,

but the magnet

of life by day

~ Emily Clapper