Tonight (Monday, Dec. 8) Martin Willits, Jr. starts off the contest in memory of Michael Brown and in sorrow for recent events with his "Epistle on Healing." (Above is a picture of a candlelight vigil after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.)
Epistle on Healing
We need a healing. As a nation we need a center
of reason. Instead, we have back-biting.
Some are ready to go back to the old ways, hanging
reason and sitting the body of logic on fire.
Some would take action into their own hands, shoot
their way to get what they want, then ask questions.
Some look for excuses to shoot without guilt.
Some fear they will be victimized, sleeping on a gun
as a pillow, ready to unload nightmares,
discovering later, they killed their own family member.
We need a calm that news does not allow us to know.
We need the thirst for better voices. Instead,
we have the twitch-response on auto-pilot.
When is the second guessing? Do not go out
without more guns than the other person,
and do not worry if they have no guns.
They looked like they had guns. They looked
suspicious, out of place, foreign,
not like me in the least. I had to respond.
It might have been me. It might have been.
If you ever felt a gunshot wound,
you would want all guns to be outlawed
like in a reasonable country.
But we walk around like at High .
All it takes is someone faster.
We need a healing you cannot find in a hospital.
We need a cleansing of anger and fear.
Instead, we get a call for more guns.
As the number of guns increase,
the number of deaths by gunfire increases.
You could get shot for walking.
When asked why they shot, they could say,
they had their hands in their pockets
and they looked like they were fixing to do harm.
Thank you, Martin, for starting off the contest.
On December 11, the Newtown Action Alliance is holding vigils for all victims of gun violence in Washington, DC and the fifty states. For more information, see this link: http://newtownaction.org/2014-national-vigil/
We'll finish with some music, starting with, of course, John Lennon's "Imagine": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY0COX0gcyw
I also want to include Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On." I remember that the album it came from was one of the select few my husband and I played in the wake of 9/11. No Elvis Costello. No Richard Thompson. No Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross. No Miles Davis.
The last cut is Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbO2_077ixs
I hope to continue posting thoughtful poems in this contest through March.