Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Here We Go Again—A Vow to Remain Un-numbed with Murfin Verse

A gun man in El Paso--White rage, a weapon of war, and a manifesto.
Note—ordinarily a blog entry for this date would remember and ponder the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima in 1949—the fires of hell unleashed on Earth changing everything. We have lived under what I have called “The Inevitable Umbra of the Mushroom Cloud” for74 years now.  But this year another dreadful fire burns in our country and threatens to consume it—the poisonous stew of White supremacy and nationalism crossed by toxic masculinity, freely armed by gun worship cult, and abated by a fascist criminal in the White House.
Over the years I have written poetry often, far too often, after explosions of gun violence, mass murder, and domestic terrorism in this country.  It feels like there is hardly anything else to say—no new insights, outrage, or grief.  The parade of atrocities seems never ending, as does our by now ritualized and inadequate responses.  But however familiar they become, we cannot allow ourselves to be numbed by them.  We cannot lay aside our outrage and our anger not only against the individual perpetrators, but those who encourage, abet, and arm them. We must resist the culture that fosters violence and hate and take positive action—far more than ever before—to stop it.
Chicago Police seized  these guns, ammunition,  and high-capacity magazine in just one stop over the weekend, all profit for gun manufacturers and dealers.

Note must be taken that this week’s mass murders riveted the nation’s attention while in Chicago over the weekend left seven dead and another 52  wounded, many of them in incidents on the West Side including a gun battle in Douglas Park left seven people injured and a drive-by on South Kildare that left one dead and eight injured. The street carnage got so bad that the overwhelmed emergency room at Mt. Sanai Hospital had to close to new admissions for seven hours.  It is true that no White fingers were on the guns of these Black-on-black attacks, but the system of White supremacy that keeps these neighborhoods in hopeless poverty, flooded with drugs from nation’s destabilized by our military from the poppy fields of  Afghanistan to Latin America, and armed the same arms merchants of death that supply wild-eyed White boys.  May be it is true that gangs we will always have with us, but when they were armed with brass knuckles, switch blades, and an occasional one-shot homemade zip gun the casualties of their rumbles were much lighter and collateral damage far less.  We must remind ourselves that in American gun violence Black Lives Matter too.
In lieu of new pieces inspired by killing sprees in El Paso, Dayton and elsewhere, here are three poems that remain still relevant.
The victims at Umpqua Community College--now barely a footnote.
Remember the Umpqua Community College shooting?  Probably not.  Ancient history as these things go—way back in 2015.  Wikipedia reminds us that:
The Umpqua Community College shooting occurred on October 1, 2015, at the UCC campus near Roseburg, Oregon, United States. Chris Harper-Mercer, a 26-year-old student who was enrolled at the school, fatally shot an assistant professor and eight students in a classroom. Eight others were injured. Roseburg police detectives responding to the incident engaged Harper-Mercer in a brief shootout. After being wounded, he killed himself by shooting himself in the head. The mass shooting was the deadliest in Oregon's modern history.
What stunned me that time was how before the bodies were even cold the gun worshipers and NRA trolls were all over social media wailing that they were the real victims.  The same this week with some new twists.  Less than an hour of the first bulletins, someone posted that the El Paso shooting was “another false flag attack  and the whole thing was just more “fake news” to empower gun grabbers.  In the past the NRA line was feigned sympathy along with finger pointing at Democrats, liberals, bleeding hearts, mental illness, movies, rap music, video games, and the ever reliable—taking prayer from schools.  The answer, they say is more guns and they blame the victims for failing to be armed to the teeth
There was plenty of that again this time from the Lt. Governor of Texas, an official White House spokesmen, and a parade of Republican Congress rats.   But there was also something even more sinister.  Emboldened  and enabled by Presidential Tweets and rally rants,  White Supremacists and Nationalists are openly cheering for the gunmen and violence on the so-called Dark Web—the online forum 8chan, the neo-Nazi web page Stormfront and other sites.  Shooters are hailed as heroes and saints and open calls are made for more killings in the hope that a wave of them will destabilize the nation leading to a collapse upon which Arians can construct their utopia free from the “mud races,” Jews, and race traitors.

Ritual Bloodletting, Breast Beating, and Blaming
October 1, 2015
In the Wake of Umpqua Community College Killings

Grief stricken families, victims, and survivors
            are the bullies
            the launchers of vast, dark conspiracies
            and the gun worshipers and fantasy world heroes
            the mewling, pitiful victims.

Step right over the victims.
            Don’t slip on the blood.
            Remember what is Holy and Sacred.

…Or we will kill you.

—Patrick Murfin

Not John Brown.
Less than two months later a self-proclaimed John Brown of the Right to Life movement dealt death at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood Clinic. A police officer and two women at the clinic as patients or accompanying patients were killed; five police officers and four civilians were injured.

He Who Shall Not Be Named Here
November 27, 2015
After Colorado Springs

No!  He is not Old John Brown 
            come round again
            no matter the wild eyes
            and wilder beard.

The unborn will not rise up
            and arm themselves,
            to wreck vengeance on
            the women who carry them
            and anyone who ever
            had a kind word or thought 
            for them.

God is not on his side
            just as He/She/It 
            is not on the side
            righteous trigger happy cops
            tempted by the backs
            of Black young people.

Just as Allah is not on the side
            of fanatics in Syria, Iraq, and Paris.

He will never savor martyrdom,
            ride to his own hanging
            on his casket,
            only the long, lonely oblivion
            of maximum prison hole.

Despite his yearnings
            a nation will not march to war
            with his name ringing in song
            on hundred thousand lips.

With luck, rivers of blood
            and mountains of corpses,
            families turned against families,
            the land laid waste,
            will not be his legacy.

With luck.

—Patrick Murfin

Bodies amid the refuse of the stampede to get out of the line of fire in Las Vegas.

The efficient mass murder in Las Vegas in 2017 was unusual only that it was carried on from a distance—a hotel snipers’ nest overlooking an outdoor concert.  By happenstance it occurred exactly two years after the Umpqua rampage.  The shooter killed 58 people and wounded 422, and the ensuing panic brought the injury total to 851.

What Doesn’t Stay In Vegas
October 3, 2017

What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay there.

It oozes under the front door 
of that little house in Tennessee
leaving a nasty stain in the carpet
that will last generations.

It drips from the empty desk
            in the high school office
            where the phone rings unattended
            next to a famed family photo
            and a jar of M & Ms.

It is tangled in the nets
            of that Alaska trawler
            spilling on the deck
            and splattering those rubber boots.

It has to be wiped from the table
            of that Disneyland café
            by some other harried waitress
            before it spoils some child’s
            special day
            or gets on Snow White’s costume.

It pools by the council’s table
            in a San Diego courtroom
            the empty chair 
            unable to represent 
            the mother of three.

It cannot be washed from
            the filthy hands
            of every politico 
            who took gun pushers’ cash
            and kissed the ass of every
            fetishist wanking himself off
            to violence porn and hero fantasies.

—Patrick Murfin

A target for Valentine's Day.

After the February 14, 2018 slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, I began to see a pattern.

Three Holes in the Valentine Heart

Chicago 1929

Toddlin’ Town rat-a-tat-tat,
            just Jazz Age juice and justice,
            Tommy guns talkin’
            fedoras flying,
            mugs massacred,
            wanna-be eye doc,
            grease monkey
            garage gore gone.

“Only Capone kills like that.”

Cool beans!

            —Patrick Murfin

Northern Illinois University 2008

Gunman on campus!
            Good-guy grad student
            gone goofy
            lecture hall lesson
            in shot gun blasts
            and Glock gotchas.

Campus cops closing in, 
            one last round 
            under the chin,

Twenty-three down, 
            sixteen shot,
            five dead and,
            oh yeah, the perp.

Is that all?
            Piker!  Ain’t no Virginia Tech!
            hardly worth the weeping and wailing
            all those vigils and candlelight!

And the NRA says all those pussy students
            who didn’t pack their own heat
            should have OK corralled it.

Nothing to see here,
            move along.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School 2018

Crazy Cruz kid had issues,
            gas mask, smoke grenades,
            and a handy AK-47
            extra magazines just in case.

Shoot, pull fire alarm.
            spray death, kick in doors,
            spray death, repeat.

Thoughts and prayers 
            out the wazoo today.
            Blame tomorrow.
            Not me, not us.

Look….a squirrel
            or Stormy Danniels’ cleavage,
            any damn thing…

—Patrick Murfin

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