If the word "poetry" evokes highbrow language and stilted rhymes,
do not be put off. Flynn's poetry is free-form prose, and it speaks in
the vernacular. In the following verses, he contrasts the burning
towers, while they stood, with the Statue of Liberty, just off in the
"No, this is not the lady of the harbor
who carries the torch of dreams.
It is a barbarian beacon, with no intention
to warn those who see her beams."
Flynn's story is harrowing. Parts of it are painfully -- and
"painfully" is really an inadequate word -- sad. It is completely
devoid of humor, but not of compassion. It is real. It concerns his
experiences in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the towers.
I have been privileged to read the personal story of a survivor of
the Twin Towers. He wrote that story shortly after the attacks, in an
email sent to his colleague, my sister. She sent it to me, and since
then I have read it over on subsequent September 11's. Of course, that
is a private memoir. Now, here is a memoir which the entire world can
I cried through Bikeman. It is cathartic. Why do I need to read
these stories of survivors? Why was I plastered to the television for
weeks that September? Disbelief? Compassion? Guilt? I don't know. But I
think I value this because it is so easy to forget, for those of us who
experienced this from afar, the raw horror of death and destruction. We
should never forget.
I am a homeschool mom. My boys will read Bikeman in high school, when they study Modern / American history.