Journalism In Verse



in Gun Violence/U.S. by

No self, just floating gun mouth, breath, zeroed-in.
Seeking sound between pews and floorboards,
subtle movements, shaking toddlers. Pastor’s daughters.
Body disjoints from circle to angle,
obliges a long silver maw that glints like rainfall
as it slides down a one-sided track.

This tongue is a puckered loam,
buries hole-punched limbs, faceless infants.
Identities submerge changeless.
Insists the life-giving force of trigger, spark, ignition.

The law of this land is an intrusive silence.
Paraphrased video footage for expectant hands–
Why did he shoot the videographer first?
sets ball bearings spinning helplessly
carrying no difference betwixt hours,
days, laws, distrust, protective instinct,
a field of arms arming arms unlinked, dialed-up.

This traveler’s circuit isn’t done yet. —
who in America deserved a gun that morning?
Heroes, shoot-outs, pick-up trucks,
highway chases, bloodfall, self-erasure. —
Where did he think he could run to, anyway?
There’s a gun for every hand in Texas

This week, at least, was something different —
Hundreds saved as gunman kills gunman! —

And it’s true. A gun stopped a gun that day.

The story slides right past a heart
wet as oil polish, gets squeezed and truncated
by a mattress of intestinal logic,
deftly maneuvers free, trigger intact.
But we’re still left with miles to go,
blunt-forced forward in this hideous
death-march from one surprise unto the next.

The barrel’s elegant curvature holds
itself in fond contemplation.
Ouroboros swallows whole th’grey steel.
Seeks infinitude in this mirrored array,
finds stasis. —

Play dead or die trying. —

Imagine all the guns in heaven firing forever
as gunmetal floats down smooth as scales,
bends to fit the outcome of itself,
tilts onward to wherever
we read about tomorrow.



Sutherland Springs: First pictures from inside mass shooting church [BBC]

Trump says ‘hundreds more’ might have died in Texas shooting if gun laws were tougher [Washington Post]

The Heroes of Sutherland Springs [New York Post]

One Mass Shooting Everyday: Seven Facts About U.S. Gun Violence [Telegraph UK]

Elle Aviv Newton is cofounder and coeditor of Poets Reading the News. She is a fourth-generation native of Oakland, California where she is writer in residence at B4BEL4B Gallery.

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