Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016


Never Point a Loaded Politician at Any Human Being

in Opinion by

My first job, no trifle,
I taught children to shoot a rifle.
Summer camp, shooting range,
no one thought it strange
to show 8-year-olds, sweet kids
to cock the bolt, squint and squeeze.
Blow holes in the paper target, please.

That same summer
I had a girlfriend, cute as molasses.
We met every night, hid our asses
in the boathouse under canoes.
Her expertise: teaching peace.

Next summer, age 18
told them I was pacifist but the Draft Board
saw the job history, me a crack shot.
They said not.

Kissinger lied.
Nixon lied.
Young men died.

Age 25, on impulse at a garage sale
a .22 bolt-action rifle I bought,
same model I once taught
and it came with bullets in a box
plus thirteen pairs of jogging socks.

Wore the socks, raised three kids strong as molasses
to be mindful, to be kindful
while Reagan lied
then Dubya, oh my God
and Dick Cheney who never heard my safety rules
filled his hunting buddy with buckshot, the fool
and lied.

Now grandkids come merry as molasses
mindful and kindful.
The rifle dusty, still here
just in case for the hard to believe
worst ever bad-ass liar president,
a civil war.

When I die, bury me
in jogging socks
with ammo, the whole box
plus that rifle rusty, unshot.
Give me oil, a rag.
First job is now my final task.
Teach those ghouls gun safety:
be mindful, be kindful.
The best weapon is never fired.
The best war is never fought.



In speech billed as ‘plan’ introduction, Sen. Marco Rubio outlines how he will address gun violence [ABC News]
As Trump talks about new gun measures, gun owners talk ‘betrayal’ [Boston Globe]
Retailers Dick’s and Walmart take harder line against guns [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

Joe Cottonwood has worked as a carpenter/contractor for most of his life. Some jobs come out pretty; some, crap. Nights, he writes. Same split. A dozen books, most recent is Foggy Dog. He lives in La Honda, California.

Image by Vladimir Palyanov.

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