Click this link to hear the poem read:https://soundcloud.com/cinshop/breathe
Another day, another shooting.
Another campus / theater / mall, another shooting.
And I am sick.
I am sick of the bloodshed, the flood red
wave that crashes again and again
as if gravity were guns
and we were powerless to stop the tide.
I am sick of witness accounts and fatality counts and
“thoughts and prayers” going out
to families who vow to change the system
when we all know the system is rigged,
the Kool-Aid already swigged
in mugs that proclaim
“Happiness is a warm gun.”
I thought twenty would be enough.
I thought twenty first-graders would be enough
to make even the most trigger-happy fingers
drop their guns in horror.
But apparently we Americans love assault rifles more
like living past age six.
I thought twenty would be enough,
but we’ve had 986 mass shootings since
and I hate using a number because this poem will be wrong tomorrow.
I can’t write as fast as they shoot.
In response, our bought-and-sold leaders point fingers at our borders,
point fingers at those seeking asylum
when we cannot even seek shelter in our churches
without guns taking our breath away.
There has to be a better response than sitting in my basement writing poetry.
There has to be a better response than sitting and claiming impotency.
There has to be a better response than
But I’ll be damned if I know what it is.
Excuse the profanity
but do not excuse what is truly profane:
a nation kneeling at the altar of arsenals,
a nation praying to the god of guns and glory
I don’t know how to say “enough.”
So I sit in my basement with the baby monitor turned up
and I listen to my children breathe.