Cho

msnbc April 18, 2007

watch the commentators
dance around the hidden fears:
he was a psychotic psychopath
listen to him—
but don’t listen to him he was crazy
he was unhappy
so we shouldn’t listen
“Hardball goes inside the mind of the guy,
the man who…” not the boy
don’t say the boy
not our boy, not one of us
call him Ishmail
outcast in the desert
the gunman
talking like a prophet
“you have poured trash down my throat,
you have crucified me
…with your gold necklaces
your Mercedes
your vodka and cognac
your debauchery…”
think of a boy, a strange vigilant boy
alone among strangers, coming up alone
“…laced with comments about the rich
…truly creepy, beyond sad…
this statement from the grave…”
his parents can’t help him
for they are strangers too
so he moves through the strange land
alone. our children,
our children are empty
rich poor black white brown
“…imminent danger to self and others…”
the weakest fall first
the weakest fall and some take others
when they go
for those moments maybe he was not alone
“…weakness in our laws
and the treatment of the mentally ill…”
don’t listen to him
don’t listen
250 died hideously in Iraq today
men weeping in fury
at the blood-soaked streets
littered with grotesque hulks of burnt cars
broken corpses
how many would have died in Iraq today
without invaders? without us? without our kids?
these kids of ours back from boot camp tell me
they are killers now
we train them and we train them another way too
there is something here
something that leaves too many children
empty and flat-faced
something what is it? it is the nothing
the nothing you are left with
when things are all you worship
trash poured down their throats
the boy with dead eyes so many boys
dead in the eyes
“…now you have blood on your hands
that will never wash off…”

“Who’s he talking to?” brays the neighing buffoon
“Who’s ‘you’?”
you, fool, it’s you he’s talking to and
you
and me too

“…When the time came
I did it.
I had to.
…for my children
my brothers and sisters that you fuck.
I did it for them.”

“..someone who doesn’t think
like you and I do…truly the face of evil…
this animal…” I was waiting for that.

“…You have vandalized my life
…do you know what it feels like
you have crucified me like Jesus
your trust funds were not enough
your Mercedes were not enough
your gold chains were not enough…”
a reverse sermon on the mount
cursed are the rich
cursed the debauched

“…too much to bear…”
indeed

“You can’t force someone
to take medication, not
in this country…”
said regretfully
this our discourse, our self-talk
medicate the deviant against the horror
of feeling the emptiness that is this is us
banality of evil that sanctions slaughter
and makes it to the church on time
and leave the children to their solitary revelation
of every hypocrisy
and wonder when they break
guns don’t kill people.
and this is still
the greatest country in the world.
this canary in the coal mine
choking on the poison fumes
bought an AK
and blew himself and a bunch of other canaries
away

“How do you tell the difference
between a homicidal killer
and a budding Stephen King?”
horror is after all an American genre
the beast that stalks our dreams
the fear we will not will not name
“…a kind of narcissism
that pervades all of this…”
yes one that renders impossible
the obvious connections
the necessary reflection
the seemly silence
the mea culpa

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