I am finding poetry much better at depicting the craziness of these times. I would love your comments.

Bang Bang You’re Dead

There’s a gaping hole in America’s heart.
The bullets of racism have torn it apart.
Shots from aimless guns—a profanity—
Are blindly killing dreams and humanity.

Anger and intolerance expose the lies
Of our mythic exceptionalism. Better cries
That we are all too human—selfish, corrupt.
Our President is at center stage, acting out
Our nation’s unwritten play, telling us who
We really are. It’s not me, I say, I care,
But if I really cared and lived it, why
Do so many poor, hungry, and unloved die?

Life is much more spectral than Black or White.
Two opposing sides cannot bring the light
To the darkness that enshrouds our days.
Perhaps, if they listened to one another,
Instead of the voices of those who stand
Between the light of hard-won truth and
Greed, or worse, indifference to the screams
Of a nation, born in light and hopeful dreams.

So we are told, but it has become undone.
Those dreams disappeared in the morning sun
That illuminates the dark underside of reality.
Dreams can live, but only when kept alive by care
And attention to the ties that bind all from birth
In the awesome web of life on Planet Earth.

We are one — a oneness that powers the souls
Of everyone, that, in spite of so many holes,
Speaks to the miracles that brought every one
To walk upon the Earth’s life-giving soil.
Joining hands is but a token of solidarity;
Joining hearts moves the needle of justice
A little closer toward the Full mark but
Only action will loose the waiting sunbeams
That carry peaceful rest and fulfilled dreams.


2 Replies to “Another Poem”

  1. John,
    I wrote this on the first anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.

    After 22 November, 1963

    When leaves get crisp and curl and rattle on the branch
    and then fall like ducats from a calendar
    that slip off day by day
    and are whisked into the past
    until at last tomorrow is the past,
    and the long curve of days revolves around
    in oval course,
    it dawns then that a year is gone
    since the sun’s diurnal track
    has split the sky
    three-hundred times and more.

    Change, almost imperceptible
    in the long, slow months of summer,
    now doubles, triples cadence
    as the stripping of the earth
    plays nature’s own Good Friday.
    Spring’s liturgy of birth
    has been despaired of: ever coming.
    The army of the elements
    deploy in battle dress
    to strike, commando fashion,
    the vernal month’s caress.

    Brief beauty of the autumn is winter’s own fifth column,
    whose sharp forays into the twenties cover all with frost.
    But nature’s skilled mortician is ambivalent November –
    when death is clothed in color
    and we try not to remember
    how the bleakness surely follows from the stripping wind to come.

    Fall – the quarter the world’s corpse is waked
    and we pass in quick review,
    remarking how she looks so much
    like the world that we once knew.
    The garish reds and glaring orange cosmetically applied,
    and winter’s rigor mortis
    is waiting just outside
    for the slowing of the clock
    when the mercury plumbs zero
    and life has seemed to stop.

    Dick Sumpter, 1964

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