early saturday morning

3 shots fired 1:30AM (a repetition or re-petition)

rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat

who fired that gat?
who fired that gat?
who fired that gat?

she screams & shrieks like a wounded animal
she screams & shrieks like a wounded animal
she screams & shrieks like a wounded animal

“where are the fuckin’ pO-lice”
“where are the fuckin’ pO-lice”
“where are the fuckin’ pO-lice”

“I’m back for more nigga”
“I’m back for more nigga”
“I’m back for more nigga”

“yo muthafucka want some of this?”
“yo muthafucka want some of this?”
“yo muthafucka want some of this?”

“they police are comin’”
“they police are comin’”
“they police are comin’”

fight breaks out
fight breaks out
fight breaks out

an unholy number of 7
an unholy number of 7
an unholy number of 7

young men young women
young men young women
young men young women

fight fight fight
fight fight fight
fight fight fight

fists fists fists
fists fists fists
fists fists fists

shouts shouts shouts
shouts shouts shouts
shouts shouts shouts

drown out the sound
drown out the sound
drown out the sound

fists ring out through the night
fists ring out through the night
fists ring out through the night

pain cries pain
pain cries pain
pain cries pain

raw wounds of heart and flesh
raw wounds of heart and flesh
raw wounds of heart and flesh

fight moves inside
fight moves inside
fight moves inside

back outside
back outside
back outside

45 minutes later still no police
45 minutes later still no police
45 minutes later still no police

fight moves down the street
fight moves down the street
fight moves down the street

slinking into the darkness
slinking into the darkness
slinking into the darkness

the distant sound of fists banging on doors
the distant sound of fists banging on doors
the distant sound of fists banging on doors

where are the police?
where are the police?
where are the police?

did anyone call the police?
did anyone call the police?
did anyone call the police?

ameri-KKK[a] loves guns
ameri-KKK[a] loves guns
ameri-KKK[a] loves guns

hunting season on humans is open
hunting season on humans is open
hunting season on humans is open

god is in the gun
god is in the gun
god is in the gun

the age of reason returns
the age of reason returns
the age of reason returns

crippled by emotion
crippled by emotion
crippled by emotion

handicapped by aggression
handicapped by aggression
handicapped by aggression

finally police arrive
finally police arrive
finally police arrive

man on the run
man on the run
man on the run

“I dinn’t do nothin’ man!”
“I dinn’t do nothin’ man!”
“I dinn’t do nuthin’ man!”

dark uniforms in a dark night
dark uniforms in a dark night
dark uniforms in a dark night

shadows within shadows
shadows within shadows
shadows within shadows

flashlights looking for shells
flashlights looking for shells
flashlights looking for shells

gathering of evidence
gathering of evidence
gathering of evidence

belongings scattered like fallen leaves under a tree
belongings scattered like fallen leaves under a tree
belongings scattered like fallen leaves under a tree

“Isabel, Isabel answer the phone”
“Isabel, Isabel answer the phone”
“Isabel, answer the fuckin’ phone”

hope withheld in violence borne
hope withheld in violence borne
hope withheld in violence borne

It’s not about race
it’s not about race
it’s not about race

repression suppression regression
repression suppression regression
repression suppression regression

it’s about decades of hopelessness
decades of hopelessness
decades of hopelessness

decades lacking opportunity
decades lacking opportunity
decades lacking opportunity

results inhuman’s hurting humans
results inhuman’s hurting humans
results inhuman’s hurting humans

the night grows quiet again 2:30AM
the night grows quiet again 2:30AM
the night grows quiet again 2:30AM

rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat

3 shots fired 1:30AM
3 shots fired 1:30AM
3 shots fired 1:30AM

in silence forgotten
in silence forgotten
in silence forgotten

for now
for now
for now

long live the NRA!
long live the NRA!
long live the NRA!

for now?
for now?
for now?

more guns are the answer?
more guns are the answer?
more guns are the answer?

for now?
for now?
for now?

how long?
how long?
how long?

who will break the rhythm of violence?
who will break the rhythm of violence?
who will break the rhythm of violence?

It’s now 3AM
water droplets from the air conditioner
falling on leaves like rain
cleansing the night with manufactured tears
but the heart remains the same
the spirit remains the same

All’s quiet on the urban front
for now
for now
for now

maybe I can go to sleep again
for now
for now
for now

 

*written 8/3/19 during the incident

ramblings on suffering

RAMBLINGS ON SUFFERING (6/21/19)

Of all living things
the most fortunate are
those who escaped….

I saw a still-born hippo
floating in a pool,
it’s legs reaching to the sky
as it’s grieving mother swam, circling around it.

Why did the opossum cross the road?
Did it not see the car speeding onward?
Now just another memory of life
flattened on asphalt.

There’s a black man hanging from a tree, like my savior,
with a sacrilegious cross burning in the yard.
The sounds of wailing through tears
mocked by fleeing hooded jeers and laughter.
And I’ve seen a black man stopped by police
because of the color of his skin
Unjustly harassed, searched and thrown against the car
only to find nothing.

My dear Ophelia, drifting underwater
what was your last thought
watching the last air bubble, wobble
and rise toward a liquid sky?

To a woman: Did you feel free
the moment you jumped
from that high blue bridge
and flew toward the earth?
The broken red wings of your spirit
spilling through your cracked skull
onto the pavement one summer morning.
Your twisted body, lying there
in front of me behind the wheel,
on a street called North when you went South.
The subject of a undisciplined and indiscriminate passerby
who just had to wiggle out of her red van,
before the police arrived, get up close
and take a photo with her cell-phone.

The mosquito gorging itself
on the blood-feast of its host
takes no notice of the hand that will kill it.

The fly for all it’s many eyes
still cannot see
that it feeds, mostly, on shit.

Does the flower feel pain
as each of its petals fall until
all that is left is a withered stem?
Does the tree feel pain
when its limbs are stripped from the trunk
during the storm or when
this living thing is cut down
by the chainsaw massacre of deforestation?

I’ve seen wild mice care for the injured young in a nest disturbed.
I’ve heard the piercing, shrieking squeal of injured rabbits.
I’ve seen the Killdeer risk its life to distract a predator
and I’ve looked into the sad, fearful eyes of an unloved dog.
I’ve seen a deer hit by a car get up and limp away
only to die by the side of road while looking back
as if to apologize for disturbing traffic.
I’ve seen a butterfly with a broken wing
clinging to hope while wishing it were back in its cocoon.
I’ve seen the fish
stranded too long on the beach
its glassy eye blinded by sunlight
its gaping mouth filled with sand and
its scales sticky with death

In Alaska, I found a cassette tape
by the side of the road
the middle of nowhere
the wilderness, no one around for miles
wet and muddy, its case cracked
I don’t know what made me
pick it up and take it home.
I let it dry, cleaned it, rewound it and carefully placed the tape in a new case.
My proud first attempt at restoration.
Then I put it in the player and pressed “PLAY”
I was assaulted by the sounds of thrown objects
hitting something and someone,
cursing, screams, cries, anger, hatred, vicious argument,
begging and pleading.
There were no names.
Only he
Only she
and the sound of a crying child hiding in a corner whimpering “please stop”
Threats and the dull sound of fists hitting flesh
meting out punishment where once there was love.
I sat listening. Frozen. Unable to move.
As the sun set I cried.

I’ve smelled living death
The stink of blood mixed with piss
as the cancer-fill man stood naked by the toilet.
His unbathed pasty flesh clammy with sweat.
He is too weak to bathe himself so I have to help
as I try to disguise my gagging reflex;
and I wonder if this is what the mortician sees, feels and smells.

And I’ve smelled the death of a slaughterhouse
the mindless cruelty and knock of a thudding blow
to the head of a cow with a stunbolt
the still live animal lying helpless, it’s throat now slit,
blood gushing in rivers onto the dirty, stained concrete floor,
the twitching limbs of a dying years supply of hamburgers and steaks.

I’ve even smelled the death
of a carcass in the hot summer sun
at the dumping grounds of livestock no longer “live”.
Cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats piled indiscriminately
the rotting remains, not yet destroyed
lying in an open trailer to a buzzing soundtrack
the pungent waves of nauseating stink
this unmovable feast for flies and their maggot young
The bodies juices oozing
from the rusted corners of the container.

I’ve heard the uncontrollable impulsive
wailing of the living that accompanies
the release of the recently dead

Maybe I’ve seen too much
Maybe I’ve heard and smelled too much.
Maybe I’ve even said too much.
But of all the things that have touched me –
Have I let them move me?
Or do I stand in shock,
immobilized by the glare of oncoming lights
that are driven by forces beyond my control?

I sometimes wonder
if the luckiest child is
the one never born
into this world of suffering –
and of those already born;
if the most fortunate ones
have already escaped
the suffering that is yet to come.

Choices

in memory of Rod Geiser December 2018

Choices: How Long Does It Take A bullet To Kill?

Choices: Years
It takes years of modeling behavior and molding thought
inspired by wrong perceptions and misplaced values

Choices: Months
There are months of despair
Choices: Weeks
There are weeks of frustration

Choices: Days
Persistent anger for days

Choices: Hours
Decisions made over the course of hours
Choices: Minutes
Actions taken over the course of just minutes

Choices: Seconds
It takes only a second to fire a gun

Choices: Instantly
In an instant the bullet will pierce the body

Choices
…and the destiny of shooter and victim
are irrevocably changed.

Choices
Change MUST come
Politically
Socially
Culturally
spiritually

Choices
Choices I must make
Choices You must make
Choices We must make
The time is NOW.

… monster within …

THE MONSTER WITHIN

THE MONSTER WITHIN

Each of us carries within, a monster that we were born with. Depending on your religion you are taught to battle with this monster and overcome it. It has many names – Christianity calls it “original sin”.  Laws are passed to control it.  But I have yet to see someone who has defeated or eliminated this beast. They may be able to suppress it, lock it away, in attempts to control it; but the fact remains, it still escapes from time to time to reveal it’s threatening face. It’s this battle with the inner monster that has led people outwardly to express contempt, rage, ignorance and violence directed at self and others. In fact when in battle with the monster one is frequently overcome by the monster. One may be in battle with the monster even while trying to do good but when that happens it will lead to suffering and misunderstanding.  Remember Frankenstein’s monster who accidentally drowned the little girl? The monster did harm to the child without intending. ( https://youtu.be/v5FtI472Q6I – if you need a refresher). In equating the child to the pretty flowers that were floating on the water he threw her in expecting her to float. But because the monster was in control she died which brought not only suffering to her and others but also to himself.

Has anyone thought of befriending the monster? What about treating the monster with compassion and care as if it were an injured child instead of some wild beast that must be “put down”? When we take care of our monster and treat it with compassion, love and care we can soothe the beast within preventing harm to others as well as ourselves. Preventing suffering for others and ourselves. Take care of your monster. Love your monster. Have compassion on it. It is a part of you. When you take care of it you take care of yourself. If Frankenstein had actually loved his monster and had compassion for it he would have taken care of it instead of pursuing his megalomania.

In fact it is possible that your monster can actually help you.
Your monster can be a great source of motivation. You can use it’s energy to be of benefit and do good things. It can be your energy to stay focused and press on at a time when things start to drag. This takes practice. First compassion, love and caring.

When did we learn to be afraid of our monster?

***about the photo: this image was taken at an abandoned mental institution called Molly Stark State Hospital. The local county has turned the grounds into the wonderful Molly Stark Park near Louisville, OH. The buildings still stand in their slow decay with boarded up windows and doors because the cost for demolition is too prohibitive.