This is the opening statement in a poem entitled Full Flight by Bob Hicok. Bob Hicok is an award-winning poet and has come out with books on poetry. The first statement encapsulates his whole ideas found in his poem which are quite nostalgic in nature. The poem centers on the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 event. It is now famously known as the 9/11 attack. The poem begins with the author being on a plane which is not intended to crash on a building – as what exactly happened in 9/11 terrorist assault in Twin Tower Buildings.
His line is reminiscent of that day when the world lost thousands of souls in one day. The attack brought to surface the issue of global terrorism and consequently, had the United States waging war against Osama Bin Laden – the mastermind behind 9/11- and sent thousand of US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq for the sake combating terrorism. Hicok goes on to describe his plane, a small commercial plane dubbed as the SAAB 340 which has a capacity of 40 seats powered by two engines. He says that the “plane is red and loud inside like it must be loud in the heart”.
He might mean that since the aircraft is small, the noise can be heard inside the plane as one can hear his heart thumping nervously. After the 9/11 event, flying on a commercial plane suddenly became a nervous mode of transportation. The memories of that fateful day still linger and haunt passengers as they step on a plane. Hicok also mentions a woman whose hair he writes as fecund and wavy. He says that he recognizes her as one the 9/11 widows he had seen in the television. This brings to the forefront the issue of moving on after a tragedy.
He further writes that “as if she were water and a pebble… continuously dropped into the mouth of her existence. ” Could it be right to say that life after the sad event will never be the same again? For survivors and for those who lost loved ones, life and light can never dawn on their existence the way it was before. After mentioning the woman, the author writes that he is in the sky, mentioning “eighteen thousand feet over America”. From here, he shares his observation on a flight: busy people doing their respective tasks while cruising thousands of feet above the air.
Some are either drawn in minding their own business while others are sleeping their flight on oblivious to the beautiful sceneries below. This makes me wonder what exactly were the poor victims doing and thinking inside the Boeing jet before it hit the Twin Tower. Did they have any premonition of the event? Were they able to breathe a prayer before accepting their doom? The poem turns quite personal at this juncture as the author imagines what he would do in case he’s in the same disastrous flight or if it actually happens to his flight. He reveals that he would have to “kill someone”- probably the terrorist or hijacker.
He would not be afraid having his tainted with blood if the situation calls for it, even if goes his against his own set of ethics as the brain would call for decisive action in the midst of an unlikely event. It could also be labeled as an adrenaline rush. Furthermore, man is genetically engineered to fight in order to survive. Meaning, man will do what it takes to save himself from imminent danger, even if it means trespassing his own beliefs or going beyond what he stood for. He also says something about being “perfectly American” and revenge.
It could be that as an American, the author feels his innate desire to get even with those who perpetrated the terrorist act. It might be perfectly normal to feel that way to get even for a national tragedy that wounded the US and other nation as well. It is an affront to the country’s democracy and sovereignty. The poem then states something about living in the sky again for years. In my personal view, this means flying again in commercial flights without the fear of being used as collateral damage for any terrorist activity. The US has already declared a war against the terrorists and beefed up its security measures.
If one could remember, US have launched massive attacks in the guise of looking for Bin Laden in Afghanistan and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Bin Laden was suddenly catapulted into fame as his face was flashed in evening news, in the dailies and “wanted” posters worldwide. US began a war that has taken its toll in the lives of its innocent victims. As a proof, Hicok writes about pictures taken from Iraq. The pictures depict gruesome effects of the war. He describes these pictures as those of “naked bodies stacked into a pyramid of ha-ha” and of “ass and the limbs of children into stubble.
” His statements reveal the atrocities of the war. As thousands died in the 9/11 attack, same with the war in Iraq as US planes bombed the suspected hideouts of Saddam Hussein. Many had since died in the war including from our troops, innocent men, women and children. The war has been a political one, as they say but it has become a big economic issue as it also involves oil. Moving on, the poem acknowledges the existence of other nationalities aboard the plane – men from New Delhi. The author writes that probably, they have become Americans by virtue of citizenship.
The plane, as the title suggests, is full flight with passengers of different race filling in the seats of the small aircraft. The poem suggests that even America has become a microcosm of the world. People from other countries are flocking to the country in search of greener pasture. Hicok’s euphemism of counting these foreign citizens as “inventory of the world” summarizes his thoughts. Truly, the US has been the world’s melting pot. In this country, races, religion, beliefs and ideologies, and cultures converged to represent a piece of the global community.
It is no wonder that in the 9/11 attack, many foreign workers –some US citizens already- were also killed. The tragedy is not US alone; other countries grieved, too. Conclusion Where have all the planes gone after the 9/11 event? Well, the poem doesn’t answer or even points to the question. But after the incident, the world has become conscious of terrorism and its cost to human kind. The lessons learned and derived from the event is enough to have countries re-thinking their security and anti-terrorism measures. There should be no more 9/11 event in the world. The poem never mentioned the term 9/11 but it refers to it.
The poem clearly espouses a 9/11 aftermath sentiments. The author conveys his thoughts and ideas through the poem. After all the years have passed, the world is still reeling from the event. Much more so of the people whose lives were drastically changed because of the surprised attack. If the world has truly recovered, then there will be lesser number of poets who will offer their poems in remembrance of it.
Hicok, Bob. Full Flight. Poetry. November 2004. Poetry Foundation. 24 November 2008. <http://www. poetryfoundation. org/archive/poem. html? id=146799>