The recent school shooting and a couple of the poems I read yesterday and today at dVerse Poets Pub are the source of my inspiration for my own link to dVerse (better hurry up) and for Write2Day.
Writers of both poetry and prose are in constant source of inspiration and once source that we embrace from time-to-time are news stories offered in the various forms of new media. The tragic story in this week’s headlines offers an opportunity and, for some of us, a need to explore our own emotional response to tragedy or the complications of our world today.
For this week’s prompt, I suggest you turn to a news item that has (or had) an impact on your emotions.I wrote one I’m submitting after the shooting at Virginia Tech about 5 years ago.
April 16, 2008
The night before,
did he try to tell someone?
Say it to some stranger in a bar
who couldn’t hear through the boy-man’s
Did he wake up most days
at 2 AM,
hands balled in a fist
so that his joints ached?
Did pain creep from the ridge
of his gums and crest on the
sweet curve of his cheeks?
I once read that prodigies
are good at what they do
because they’re a little crazy.
That mask of smooth ochre skin,
could he peel it away for a moment?
Give a sneak peek of the gnawing
disease etched on his psyche?
In those hours alone in the library
or hidden behind undulating mounds of
did his swelling fingers clutch a BIC that bore
the phone number of his father’s
dry cleaning business?
Did he use the pen to scratch out
active verbs of destruction,
obscene adjectives that clung to
They say that Hitler went
to daily Mass as a child.
As a kid, did he have a dog?
When he blew through the screen door-
the one with the tears stuck shut using
silver patches of duct tape-
did the dog come running,
tap a welcome dance on
the linoleum (gray squares with
tiny clusters of flowers at each corner)?
And did he kick the dog aside with his knee?
ignore it until the same time,
the same performance
the next day?
would he go to his room
and shut the door?
Listen to rap cranked
up in his headphones
while he read the Bible and wonder if
he’d go to hell
because of Lust?
Did he go to the woods in Virginia?
Find comfort in leafy branches
that tickled his progression along that path
that no one else seemed to know about?
There, in the hollow,
beneath an old oak,
did he flail his fists at the void,
swallowing the scream rising from the
base of his spine like a snake of
the Kundalini species?
I understand it’s true of all
Creative People, if we didn’t do the arts,
we could hurt somebody.
Did he sleep the night before?
Or did shadows toy with his angst
while muffled snores from the other side
of the paper thin dorm wall
ripped through him?
Taunt him in his evil purpose?
In the morning, did he wonder
if this was the day,
or if today,
like yesterday and the day before,
he’d steal a nap before class and
find enough release in sleep
to buy a few more moments of time
from his accrued life span.
Lots of people, I understand,
plot the sequence of their lives every day,
ahead of time, step-by-step.
And after he played out the first Scene of his
journey, did he fade off stage
and savor the coppery taste of blood spatter
on his hands?
Wonder if that was enough or if he
should go forward with Act II?
Or, did the fog of numbness
propel him through his role:
the part that hours of mental rehearsal
engraved in his movement memory?
When he dropped the package off,
did he look the clerk in the eye,
or had he weighed it ahead of time,
calculated the postage and
slid it through the slot in the wall near the PO boxes
to be time-stamped?
Then, after the others died,
did he hesitate,
think twice before the grand finale?
Wonder what he’d do if someone
ran through the door and cradled
him in strong arms,
sob with him in Fear and Anger?
Wrap him in a blanket and lead him from the scene?
Care for him like he’d really wanted to
do with his mangy hound
after it’d peed on the carpet in his bedroom?
But what if he were preempted?
What if someone stole that final scene?
He couldn’t let it go down that way,
After all, he was the author.
And once it’s written,
it’s copyrighted, even though
you should register it with the Government.
Previously Published, Edge, 2008
Photo via Wikipedia. Source Unknown.