We Cannot Look Away: Not Another 17, Not Another One

I am grateful to be part of such an incredible collective of writers. They’re not just writers, though, but intellectually vibrant thinkers. Their words move mountains, and hopefully our voices will finally call those responsible to justice. Maybe then we will truly have peace.

This piece is our call to action in light of the Parkland violence…

Just another day
just another town
bullet perforated backpacks
spilling loose-leaf lined paper, textbooks
onto blood stained sidewalks
helicopters hovering
to give us the birds eye view
I tried to avert my eyes
out of respect for the dead
the injured
but I could not look away
Christine Ray

Even though I should
Because I am ashamed
At the bullets that rain
At the bullet point pain
Etched in their faces, rivulets in their eyes
They were just children, stolen from their time
Not forgotten in these lines
But to their parents and loved ones
It’s a void they’ll never fill, and it shouldn’t
Lives shredded and ruined
17 times we’ve gotten the chance to do better
and for the 18th, we blew it
Just like those children who looked at their killer

Their killer is not Nikolas

The Killer is you
Devereaux Frazier

Seventeen blossoms
seventeen blinks of an eye
seventeen bullets in the body of spring
and those left behind
food to flashback phobias
memory outbursts
numbing
Spring won’t be coming
in a town far away
in a country across the sea
right next to me
Basilike Pappa

Running
Running for class president
Running for the Varsity Football Team
Running to get in line for a movie they can’t wait to see
Running to embrace someone they love
Running and laughing with siblings or friends
Running to get to the dance floor before their favorite song ends
Running for exercise
Running for fun
They should never be running from the thunder of a gun
We’re destroying our future for profit and gain
While they run for their lives
And we’re left with questions and pain
Eric Syrdal

Look away, little bird.
The sky has adjourned, rejecting your flight path
well into wrath.
hell hath no fury like the anger turned apathy, semi-automatic rhapsody that plays on
the overhead speaker that once freed us
from maths.

It doesn’t add up, the physics, social studies, introduction to business, life and
death 101.

Nothing could prepare us for the words we don’t have.
Nicholas Gagnier

Lives swung into darkness
and voices numbed
Eyes losing hope
and
Blood on the hands, soul
screams and tears everywhere

Deafening silence of the death
and roaring sound of the violence
life stripped of its happiness
and tears losing the feeling

Yet again, My heart is hopeful
Lips in unison with the prayers
Trying to calm my self down
Thinking It won’t happen again

But deep down inside
I know we all are living in denial.
Megha Sood

Spare me your
thoughts and prayers.
Spare me your
people-kill-people babble.
Seventeen more names
added to a statistic
that will never be used.
So, by all means,
let’s keep sending
millions of dollars a year
to powerful people
in exchange for turning
a blind eye.
Proving over and over again
that dollars mean more
than lives.
Sarah Doughty

Seventeen more reasons we grieve.
Seventeen more reasons we’re
broken as a nation.
Seventeen more reasons we must
rise up
a giant against apathy, and
negligence—
willful ignorance.
Destroy the dissidence.
End the agenda of greed.

Our freedoms are not free—
seventeen more innocent souls sacrificed.
Kindra M. Austin

True horror has unfolded,
We watch on glowing screens of disbelief.
With the voices of innocents ringing in our ears,
Fingers swipe it all away.
As others moved on with their day,
I could not look away.

Grief, pain, disbelief,
All right there, before our eyes.
Yet one headline replaces the next,
That gut wrenching sadness suddenly replaced.
As the topic changes to something else,
I could not look away.

Where is our humanity,
I ask as society moves on from this butchered elephant in the room.
Can’t we just stop and think,
Acknowledge the death, the suffering, the wrongness.
Another day will come and go, setting on our community,
We cannot look away.

Doomed to repeat this dreadful fate,
We need to choose to change.
Insanity is as insanity always does,
As we continue to place ammunition with malignant intent.
What can I do, the individual, the lone soul, this:
I will not look away.
Michael Erickson

We
Only
Have ourselves
To blame for this
Again and again
An unsolved tragedy
We must hold ourselves to task
For every death. Every child
Like spent shells fallen to the ground
Souls adrift to haunt those who do not act –
Who do not act again and again and again
I cannot look away again, again, again
Again
Again
Again
Again
Again, again, again, again, I cannot look away, not again.
Stephen Fuller

I cannot look away
From the train wreck shit show
This country has become,
Where cash in a senator’s pocket
Outweighs the blood of our children,
Where losing your ‘right’ to own an assault rifle
Is more an abomination
Than Children being murdered in school
Than human beings dying at a concert in Vegas
Than parents burying their babies.
The blood on your hands will not wash away.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where kids call presidents out on their bullshit.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where they won’t let hypocrites hide.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where they call BS on the lies.

I’m with you in Parkland!
John W. Leys

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#OcPoWriMo Day Thirty One: Eternal, an Aubade

cod

(Check out my Day Thirty prompt here https://marylandpoetblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/ocpowimo-day-thirty-prompt-simplicity-an-onda-mel/)

Yep. I know this is an odd picture to use for a poetry prompt (the part of Call Of Duty: Black Ops III, where the player and Kane (the woman dying) discover the Coalescence facility and the cause of the disaster in Singapore that killed 300,000 people), but as I was playing the game I felt inspired (and deeply saddened) by this scene. Kane is an integral part of the game, being the intelligence behind the operations the player takes part of, and being my favorite character, I always come back to this scene as maybe the best of the entire game. Since it is the final day of #OcPoWriMo, I thought it would be a fun departure from what I’ve been doing.

Kane, I can feel your heartbeat from this side

After so much ignoring the heart, so much  prohibition, you’ll never get the chance to say

No, or yes

Eternally locked away from you, I can only muster up a little “goodbye”

 

Aubade (dawn song) is a love poem, specifically the parting of lovers at dawn. Conflict between love and responsibility is at the center of this poetic genre.

This genre dates back to 12th century France and is the counterpart to a secular Evensong, Serena or Serenade.. The name Alba comes from the medieval watchman’s cry “alba” announcing the passing of the night and return of day. The early Occitan troubadour poems ended each stanza with the word.

The Alba or Aubade is:

  • a love poem, most often mourning the parting of lovers while extolling the coming day.
  • constructed at the discretion of the poet, length, stanzaic form, meter and or rhyme. although often a smattering of rhyme is present without any particular rhyme scheme.
  • dramatic since it is often dialogue between the parting lovers or coming from a cuckold husband or a watchman’ warning. Sometimes dialogue is silent, expressed in images.

#OcPoWiMo Day Thirty Prompt: Simplicity, an Onda Mel

a_northern_light_cover

( Check out my Day Twenty Nine prompt here: https://marylandpoetblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/ocpowrimo-day-twenty-nine-prompt-upside-down/)

Walking through the darkening night

Going off dreams

Not what it seems

Simplicity becomes a fright

 

When you cannot see your way home

When paths are gone

When paths are long

When you’re finding yourself alone

 

33

The Onda Mel is an invented verse form introduced by Renelda Gibson.

The Onda Mel is:

  • an octastich, a poem in 8 lines made up of 2 quatrains.
  • syllabic, 8-4-4-8-8-4-4-8 syllables per line.
  • rhymed abba cddc.

 

#OcPoWriMo Day Twenty Nine Prompt: Upside Down

(Check out my Day 28 prompt: https://marylandpoetblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/29/ocpowrimo-day-twenty-eight-prompt-sea-shells/)

 

 

aspie

Yes, I

have Aspergers

I cannot read social cues

I cannot make eye contact

but I want friends. I’m upside down.

33

Pensee found in the Caulkins Handbook stresses exact syllable count and strong end words. This invented verse form was first introduced by American poet and educator, Alice Spokes. It can be found on line at Instant Poetry Forms for Kids

The Pensee is:

  • a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
  • syllabic, 2-4-7-8-8 syllables per line.
  • unrhymed.
  • titled

#OcPoWriMo Day Twenty Eight Prompt: Sea Shells

(Check out my Day 27 prompt here: https://marylandpoetblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/28/ocpowrimo-day-twenty-seven-prompt-favorite-scent-a-sweetbriar/)

33

Sea shells

by the calm sea

Their meaning is great to me

because they could listen to

what Aspergers kept from me

Pensee found in the Caulkins Handbook stresses exact syllable count and strong end words. This invented verse form was first introduced by American poet and educator, Alice Spokes. It can be found on line at Instant Poetry Forms for Kids

The Pensee is:

  • a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
  • syllabic, 2-4-7-8-8 syllables per line.
  • unrhymed.
  • titled

 

#OcPoWriMo Day Twenty Seven Prompt: Favorite Scent, A Sweetbriar

Roses so red

With love I’m led

tasting your body’s wine

Sweetness you’ve bred

a pretty bed

Flower garden, you’re mine

Sweetbriar is a stanzaic invented form similar to the Minuette. It uses only 1 rhyme and was created by Viola Berg.

The Sweetbriar is:

  • stanzaic, written in 2 sixains.
  • syllabic, 4-4-6-4-4-6 syllables per line.
  • rhymed, rhyme scheme xxaxxa xxaxxa

33

#OcPoWriMo Day 25 and 26 prompts: Bleeding, and abandoned

(Check out my Day 24 prompt here: https://marylandpoetblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/25/octpowrimo-day-twenty-four-prompt-fantastical/)

The surface is still and little stirs underneath the brown tinged waters

There’s baby splinters caught in my sweater

I’m so far along the clickty-clackity rail of abandon

that knuckles dyed with crimson blood isn’t close to a worthy ransom

33

Palette  creates a vivid word painting within a brief and lyrical poem. It is simply a short poem, using vivid imagery. This genre was specified by Viola Berg. There is no prescribed structure or rhyme. The only mandate is the poem should create a brilliant image in the reader’s mind.

The Palette is:

  • a word painting.
  • framed at the discretion of the poet.

#OctPoWriMo Day Twenty Four Prompt: Fantastical

33

I love

how you hurt me

Daily fantastical death

You slice me and I still love you

You could kill and I’d still come back

Pensee found in the Caulkins Handbook stresses exact syllable count and strong end words. This invented verse form was first introduced by American poet and educator, Alice Spokes. It can be found on line at Instant Poetry Forms for Kids

The Pensee is:

  • a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
  • syllabic, 2-4-7-8-8 syllables per line.
  • unrhymed.
  • titled

#OctPoWriMo Day Twenty Three Prompt: Undoubtedly

zerozero

I’d marry you

Undoubtedly

True love doesn’t present in

the way everyone expects it

Be okay letting love find you

33

Pensee found in the Caulkins Handbook stresses exact syllable count and strong end words. This invented verse form was first introduced by American poet and educator, Alice Spokes. It can be found on line at Instant Poetry Forms for Kids

The Pensee is:

  • a pentastich, a poem in 5 lines.
  • syllabic, 2-4-7-8-8 syllables per line.
  • unrhymed.
  • titled

 

#OctPoWriMo Day Twenty Two Prompt: Dangerous Men Only Need A Closed Door

 

36

He says he loves you in light of friends

but treats you like shit when the lights are off

You say he isn’t dangerous, but his sins

are written on the body that he used to love

33

The Tango is an invented stanzaic form introduced by Chiquita LoJuana Gonzolas Sills.

The Tango is:

  • stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
  • syllabic, 9-10-11-12 syllables per line.
  • rhymed, xaxa xbxb etc. x being unrhymed.

 

This is a brief (I have another, longer piece in the works), but heartfelt call to every woman (one in every three, chew on that ) that is abused by the man/boy that claims to love her. Domestic violence is most commonly physical, because it leaves the most obvious scars, but the deepest scars are the ones that you can’t see. The scars that can’t be seen, that too many women bear everyday, are the ones that destroy lives and hope the fastest. The mind is the driving force of humanity, and once you lose control, you re effectively cut off from all else in this world. So many women are cut down, yet live to see day, after day, after day. That is the greatest tragedy. Having to live with your abuser, having to depend on him, and having to know he will hurt you, with no escape. This was inspired by Nicole Holder, Molly Brown, and every other lesser known but equally important case that I’ve seen.

As a man with a mother, sister, grandmother, and so many other dearly loved females in my life, I’m appalled by men that think of their wives as “slaves” and disposable objects. They aren’t men, they’re punks. Punks with too much authority and too little appreciation for the life they think they’re in control of. You make it hard on the good men, the real men in this world, and you shame us with you disgrace, bestiality, and mistreatment of the very sex that helped bring you into this world.