“The Gun″ and other poems were originally posted in PNA Village Connections Blog on July 13, 2016.
by Marilyn Zuckerman
The Seattle Public Library Permits Concealed Guns
Nobody asked me
if I wanted to sit next to a guy
carrying a gun
he can pull out at any time
something triggers his paranoia—
a suspicious movement,
a foreign face
or the librarian who has asked him to be quiet.
It’s the moment he’s been waiting for
ever since he bought the gun,
learned to use it at the shooting range
banging away at a moving silhouette
wearing a sign that says
· · ·
Shoot ‘em Ups
In the old west
the shoot ‘em up takes place in town—
in the old saloon, the brothel
or the boardwalk outside the barbershop—
These days, it can be anywhere
a shopping mall
your office building
a college dorm
the library or on the road.
Not with a Colt 45
but an AR-15 blazing at so many rounds a second,
the shooter—your husband or the boyfriend you
the neighbor whose lawn was soiled by your dog.
There’s the guy who killed his five children
because he was mad at his wife.
Or the quiet fellow you pass every day
who shot up the kids in the schoolyard with an arsenal
he picked up at the local gun show,
whom everyone said kept to himself and was so polite
you’d never imagine—
· · ·
Known as the AR-15
built in 1958
as a selective-fire weapon
for the military only
but sold to Colt
for civilian use
as a semi-automatic rifle
Popular among civilian shooters
due to their accuracy
auto-loading assault style
The most wanted gun in America,
there are millions on the streets today.
· · ·
A Plagiarism (after Jonathan Lethem)
Once again elegies, services, and memorials for the dead after yet another mass shooting in America brought about by the violent misuse of guns. The following is a collage of remarks about our “American Olympics of murder” from several voices around the country. Every word that follows has been said before in newspaper essays, speeches, sermons and addresses on the floor of Congress.
One person did that?
Yes…but with a weapon designed only for mass killings on the battlefield, a weapon so dangerous that soldiers keep their versions locked up when not actually training with it. …No one can ever eliminate violence in a modern society. …The success of the AR-15 has led to increasing militarization of the entire consumer firearms market in America. If we had gun laws like those of most countries that resemble ours we would have lower levels of gun violence. This massacre is therefore further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school or in a house of worship or a movie theater or in a night club. Now there are speeches of condolences, the service for the dead, tears have been shed—and everyone goes home.
· · ·
Natasha Singer, The New York Times
Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker
Tom Diaz, Violence Policy Center
Congressman Christopher Murphy
and at the last, President Obama