Pyre

America is a funeral pyre, and we are all burning.

Our streets are awash with blood from Connecticut to Chicago,

Central City to the Pacific Northwest.

The sky is falling — hail — a hail of gunfire.

And there is a miasma, evil, pervasive, a sickness

The bile of rotting gizzard  the emetic reveals

Only to reveal the patient is much sicker than we thought.

And we are all the patients.

We are all tied to the sickbed of this culture.

We are all pierced by hollow points of insensitivity

as .9mm shell casings rattle like spectral chains

as they hit the ground.

Or was it .223.  The NATO round.  The most popular bullet in the world.

They say we don’t make anything here anymore,

but that’s not true.

We package violence, death, and terror and globalize it.

Ultimately, however, we are the ultimate consumers of our

number one export, our homegrown idiom.

The body of a five year old is incredible supple and delicate.

I think about this often when I hold my son.

He is a strong, big boy, but just a boy.

I could easily crush him with my own hands,

snap delicate bones.

My hands aren’t meant for this purpose though.

They are meant for gentle caress and embrace.

Thus I can’t imagine the snapping of bones,

the popping of eye sockets,

the skein of blood from delicate bodies that

were most likely literally blasted from their feet.

And the terror, the sheer terror, far removed from Mommy and Daddy

and the monsters who hide under the bed.

Because real monsters don’t hide under the bed,

they hide among us in plain sight.

They are us.

My tears stream as I write this.  Salty, sticky.

I can’t help but wander into that town.

You’re not supposed to go to the morgue to pick your kid up from school.

I can’t help but be a ghost under the tree of

unopened Christmas or a candle never lit.

I want to turn to the mantle and throw up in the Christmas stocking

But my rage is only tempered by my sorrow.

And my sorrow flows out like the tiny white caskets that will

be born above a stream of mourners like canoes.

And I know this is a reality for many already.

A reality in the city I live in where kids are shot in the street

everyday.  But that’s different, right?

Except is isn’t.  A murder of one is still a massacre.

The boy in the saggy jeans that we’ve let become a murderer is

still my son, still your son.

We desperately try to shuffle the deck, but eventually

all the cards are played — ante up.

As we consume the very thing that feeds our illness

a transfusion of tainted blood

Yet we hope to get better.

And the shooters never speak.

It’s the silence that frightens me the most.

Cry out! Scream! Show me something. Some sign of humanity.

But there is none.

Just silence.

I guess at that point there is nothing left to say.

And as we are all torn asunder

We are all bound together — slavery still — but new chains and new masters.

The weight of our own expectations crushing,

The days ending.

Silently.

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