Once a paradise, now in despair.
Poor and broken, no reason to repair.
A fear of communism brought about your fall.
Or was it the rise of capitalism that started it all?
I claim not ownership of another,
for in forgiveness lies dignity.
No longer do emotions betray
random slips of anger,
unwelcome notions of control;
no more thoughtless infidelity to one’s own weaknesses,
as innermost feelings, are carelessly exposed,
unknowingly laid bare and exploited,
clearly illustrated for the practiced, watchful eye;
to recognize petty motivations,
to take the most basic precautions,
to ignore the triggers and resist the bait,
and in so doing, handily disregard and easily dispose
of the toxicity upon which you desperately seek to thrive.
My Children are on lock down.
They’ve been practicing drills since school began;
just in case a shooter ever decided to come in.
My children are on lock down.
Here in this land of supposed freedom and tranquility,
I mourn the dead, and wish for modern civility.
In two short weeks, hiding in closets for kindergartners became the norm.
I used to practice my ABCs, they practice surviving gunfire
that rains like an unforgiving hailstorm.
Now fire drills are the least of our worries, and so take a back seat
to hiding from our precious guns,
as my community’s news anchors are gunned down,
conducting an interview in the street.
When will we have enough? When will we say no more?
Each community plagued by short bursts of violence must pay with permanent scars.
Mine was this week.
Will next week be yours?
Author’s Note: I did, in fact write this while my children were on lock down at their
elementary school in Roanoke, Virginia following the on-air shootings of journalists
Alison Parker and Adam Ward. Watching the coverage on TV, I pelted this out, frustrated
and emotional not only that my children had been practicing lock down drills at school, but
that such a practice is now necessary and we are completely apathetic to how
they must feel hiding in a crowded closet with a flashlight, waiting for the intercom “okay” to
come out. At Sandy Hook, in a terrible twist of torment, the intercom played only more gun
shots. When preserving the right to violence becomes more important than preserving
the right to a peaceful education, we as a society have forfeited any notion of freedom.
Freedom is not expressed when kindergartners must hide in closets at school, and middle
school teachers place the wall shelving just so— and let the students know
that if ever there’s a shooter, they are to hide behind the shelves since they appear to be
flush with the wall. This is not a mental health problem, it’s not a parenting problem, and
it’s not a media problem. This is a gun problem. This is an American Problem.
Guns on a shelf.
A box filled with lies.
The preacher says clean house
before everyone dies.
A manipulative woman
a story well told.
Lips red like cherries,
a heart completely cold.
Leave town at once,
fear and confusion in your wake.
Leave terrified children,
their own decisions to make.
Run, coward, run.
You lie to meet your needs.
An empty, soulless shell,
on their very innocence you feed.
A heated topic online,
and without warning the air is gone.
The next palpitation, an endless flutter.
Fluttering down into my belly like a sack of rocks.
Has my heart stopped? What if this is a real arrhythmia?
Shirt comes off, bare breasts to the floor. Cool air rushes from the vent.
I just need more.
I’m here alone with my children and I’m going to die.
I can’t breathe. Here logic does not apply. The only certainty is death.
My heart is fluttering, skipping, beating around.
Changing rhythm with every breath.
I cannot seem to get off the floor.
For as soon as I do, I know I would fall,
and this whole life before me with its beautiful
laughter and happiness would cease to be at all.
Help soon arrives 45 minutes condensed into one.
My heart rate still a mess; and I, still naked and clinging to the
vent on the floor, he wraps me up and leads me to the door.