bang bang

fireworks meant for celebration
are exploding above our neighborhood
i wish i could hear them without thinking
about all of the bullets that have ripped
through strong, brave and earnest young men
defending our treasury of beliefs
willing to be sacrificed for community
that they might be safe, their mothers
fathers, sisters and brothers
all in some way fighting for love

hmmm, if we rip a hole in the belly of evil
perhaps understanding will come pouring out
i doubt but it comes down to orders
and who must fulfill them

and yesterday bang an 18 year old woman
shot in the head she had just bought clothes
for her first year at college her dream this fall
bang shot dead her car and lifeless body
careened against a concrete wall
as the driver, tired of fucking around
for his entitled space, sped off
a young dangerously angry white man
in a red pickup truck nailed her one bang

and so much suffering among the innocents
i know all are victims and without blame
but i also witness the most loving people
who suddenly undeservedly fall gravely ill
why must they endure such stress and pain
that every day becomes a struggle to stay?
they seem to convey that love alone is worth it

i wish i felt something to celebrate
when the sky is full of exploding rockets
yes there are many blessings i am grateful
but then when i see how cruel we can be
with our cherished beliefs that we
hold like death with such utter conviction
we can no longer see beyond hero and victim
i feel at times such despair and despondency

the race for supremacy has almost been lost
the ancient wisdom we tossed gave balance
and now a more insidious beast slouches in
a monstrous dark thing seeking to be born
the ultimate separation between them and us

bang bang every few seconds another falls
all around our cities and towns they are
dropping like flies throughout our nation
and among enemies and allies bang bang is
the preferred expression of strong belief it
rings out with victorious finality bang bang

it’s worse than ever this nauseous dread
that we will fail to love well enough
in the simplest kindest most human way
that we become incapable of celebrating life
instead of death that we fail to see
the imperative of loving all unconditionally
how necessary it is to surrender and
to extend compassion to all humans everywhere all at once immediately

what’s wrong with us we withhold ourselves
then ask to have the creator’s love
served warm with an extra dip of specialness to make us unique, better than next best,
certainly better than the wretched rest of our neighbors
who failed to find the key to holy favor
in time to save themselves poor uninformed

it sounds ludicrous but we live like this
bang bang, hell yeah, then speed off to celebrate
we can do anything again once we get numb to it
new rules some will even call us darling heroes
most are too timid to openly display it though so
anyway, it always somehow boils down to us
that means me who has a problem which i can
usually see except in this one bang instance
of gunpowder-laden choking insistence on
shattering the night, but i already get it, alright? i should be proud and celebrate

©John Greenleaf-Maple – text and art 7/2/17

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