Justice, it seems, comes down to this— we’re strapped with a gun-happy, delusional president that believes he’s Superman, ready to leap unarmed into the path of active shooters. Yet we’re the ones left taking all his bullets—his toxic laws, his treasonous behavior, the way he plays the Constitution blues in We Fuckt Major. It’s no wonder the Statue of Liberty sleeps with one eye open. Every hour, she’s got slimy, lying politicians’ hands up her skirt, around her throat. Justice, it seems, comes down to this—one must remain wide-awake, diligently holding politicians accountable for all their untruths and criminal behaviors. Lest we forget, we’ll become just another listless statistic in these United States of Amnesia.
So much white noise coming from the White House, all those white guys white-inking common-sense thinking until the Constitution ain’t nothing but a blank white page; leaving the rest of us white with rage, wanting to white-out this last election, as we white-knuckle our way through history, while Mother Liberty proclaims to white supremacists and the like that she ain’t gonna wave a white flag of surrender, not when what makes America great is that so many are of a different color; not just blanched, bleached, pallid, putrid, wan, and waxen Wonder-bread white.
Where is the solace, where is the sanity? Who will spark the new peace train? Where is the terrain across which it can safely travel? Why do bullets continue to sound their murderous bells? How do the survivors of violence begin to forge their healing? Saner voices rise in the hopes of rhythming a new America—one having outgrown its deranged music, its damaged trouble clef.
And still, the survivors of so many mass shootings, desiring only gun control and Second Amendment common sense, are calling out to society— without brutality and fatality, without the money of huge gun lobbies, without purple hearts, without full and happy hearts, without full congressional support, without the backing of Internet trolls and militias, without a world fully willing to listen, without a tickertape parade, without the friends and family members that have died by bullets bearing their names, without Glocks, without bump stocks—with only peace and reason as their weapons, waiting for their voices to be heard.
Let’s offer teachers new books. Let’s offer them school supplies—like pencils, notebooks, and up-to-date visual aids—that they often purchase with their own money. Let’s offer teachers arts and music in the classroom. New PE equipment and healthier, tastier options for their school cafeterias. Let’s offer teachers a portion of Trump’s border wall money to help pay for the raises they rarely receive. Let’s offer teachers decent health insurance. A handshake and words of encouragement. Maybe an occasional spa package for when they’re feeling particularly stressed out. Let’s offer teachers a good, strong early morning cup of coffee. A dependable car so they can arrive safely to work. Let’s offer them trainings on up-to-date methods of teaching and how to deal with troubled students. Let’s offer teachers our love, support, and appreciation. Maybe even an apple. But please, let’s not offer them guns.
You can never be a protester for more than a day unless you’re protesting sleazy politicians, hate-noosed hangmen & redacting maniacs trying to silence those who stop, look & listen. You can never be a protester for more than a year unless you’re protesting congressional dysfunction, democracy’s destruction & those trying to rub out the no-qualms lip balm of sweet-kissed lovin’. You can never be a protester for more than a decade unless you’re protesting bump stocks, chump cops & evil greed mongers stealing your profits. You can never be a protester for more than forever unless you’re protesting tombstones, cyclones & serial-killing saxophones wanting to serenade you with their crazed song of suddenly gone.
Still another senseless mass murder. We kneel, scrub at the blood and chalk outlines of our fallen family members and friends. No matter how hard we try to cleanse the place where our loved ones have fallen, the stains won’t go away. Neither does our growing anger. We are well beyond prayers and hollow promises. Beyond all the assault rifles dressed in flimsy 2nd Amendment clothing. And so we rail against the diminished chords of our democracy’s dangerous dismantling. We shun the bitter, apocryphal kiss of covert politicians. While these darker forces deter us from finding our way to light, we continue to fight. Our eyes have adjusted to America’s mounting darkness.
When it feels like mass shootings are coming at us quicker than another Monday. When America’s immigrant soul has been hijacked by racist nativists’ sick intentions. When we’ve become desensitized, when hate has become bureaucratized. When our peace signs are mistaken for hands holding Tech 9s. When weapons are more readily available than clean drinking water. When all this gun violence can’t be prayed away. When we’ve become so flooded and spun by the 24-hour news cycle we’re left in a perpetual state of dizziness— that’s when we’re living in the season of the bullet where no flesh is safe.
If you pull a fast gun with a slow hand in a midnight alleyway where black cats daydream, and the stench of rotting garbage cleanses your mind, and naysayers sound like truth tellers, and irredeemable ignoramuses come off like optimistic scholars, and jilted lovers and cherished haters transform your tranquil nirvana into a brothel for arsonists, and congeniality becomes a malady, and exactly what is meant remains what is never truly said, and all your clear and happy confessions are struck with sudden hangovers of depression—maybe that’s when you should consider calling in sick to work the next morning.
The sound of your voice in my mouth tastes like honey, like a transfusion of arable parables where weapons shed their birthmark of blood, and sorrow is cured of its name. Your voice is an enduring light moving through me, so when I travel deep into the anvil-hearted dark, I feel your shine and know we’re alive. You awaken the stillborn earth within me, crack wide open the silence-reckoned seed. And so I grow stronger, forge cadence from complacency, rail against the agonies and atrocities threatening to uproot the stars from our future night skies.