Saturday, December 15, 2012


He asked me if I had ever
fired a gun? Yes, many times.
A hand gun? Yes. A shotgun?
 Yes, several of those. Even a musket.

 Do they have much of a kick?
It depends. Does the trigger
give any resistance? That also depends.
They are all different -

 you never know what to expect
until it actually goes off.
You have to aim it at a target,
whatever you want to shoot.

 I've fired a World War One deck cannon
with a caliber the size of a soup can,
& a replica Revolutionary War cannon
you could stuff with rusty nails.

 Professional historians asked my dad
what his cannon would do to a Redcoat
if you loaded it with nails, a question
dad was always willing to address.

A poem that sat unfinished for a long time. You can tell the final two stanzas are different from the first three, glued on. But I think it works  because I move from a desultory tone about a topic that doesn't  particularly interest me into an animated explanation of why modern weapons don't  interest me.  The poem is also  for anyone who mistakes me for an anti-gun ownership ideologue

It's natural to be outraged by the murderous carnage at Newtown,. The good people of that place do not need a million condolence cards & 10,000 teddy bears,  or whatever those who believe there's an absolute right  to the possession of military assault weapons say we ought to be doing  in lieu of expressing outrage. It's the same after every mass murder: save it, not now, show compassion & empathy, don't politicize it.  That is an agenda; trying to silence the outrage. The most compassionate thing we can do is to fan our outrage & not let it go this time. The people of Newtown will be feeling the outrage too when the grief starts to wear off.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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