Our Life and Times

Funeral after funeral we watch
but none will top the one in
Charleston when the President
sang “Amazing Grace.” There are
no more words of shock or grief.

When will the national well of
tears run dry? 204 mass shootings
in the USA in 204 days? We hear
that stat and we question: but
did someone die in every one? Why
were they not all on TV? Is this
real? Or the propaganda of paranoia?
How can this go on week after week?
We didn’t know!

And Bobby Jindal, or some other
governor, some other politician
jumps in front of the camera
barely able to conceal a smile
and says in righteous rage: “This
is not the time for politics! We
need time for this city to grieve!”

Well, no Bobby, our grieving is done.
We are past grief. We, the nation,
are in some other place – is it
anger? We need someone to shout
you down, Bobby. Someone needs to
take control of this, this what?
This lifestyle of grief?

Listen – it is not going to stop. We
are too full of guns, yes, and crazy hate –

Though we want to puke, frankly
when we hear the words, “Both
sides need to…”

There is a national malaise – there
is no other word. Go pick one.
The economic indicators go up, the
people’s confidence goes down.
The Mourner-in-Chief sighs.
He knows if we think it’s fine to
murder six-year-old children and not
put a limit on our treasured guns –
what? Are we past saving? Remember

the last time of national malaise,
Jimmy Carter was President and a
former actor was scoffed – Reagan
could never be President, they said,
Gerald Ford said. The nation was
sad and fed up. And now we have



2 thoughts on “Our Life and Times

  1. This is a beautiful poem, Cal, but its subject matter is dire. I think this format is perfect, for it adds breathing space between each dark image.


  2. Lucie, I am so happy to hear someone who can see beauty in my expression of these dark thoughts. They have been building in my mind for a long time and then kind of suddenly came to fruition this morning. I actually do write ninety percent of a poem in my head. The fact that the state of the nation is dire has been coming to me more and more in more different ways – the divisiveness that is actually unresolvable and the nastiness of the political hatred towards our fine President. I hope that no one feels that the line about him sighing is in any way a criticism of him.

    We cannot continue with the constant mourning on our news. It is now so formularized that it’s shameful. The causes of the deaths every week are varied – I chose to focus on guns in this poem. I may continue a series with the murder of unarmed black citizens, the mass murders by deranged people due to the litany of cut cut cut government programs – there is a whole poetry book of sources for the malaise.

    I don’t think it will result in the election of Donald Trump, but strange and unexpected events could occur. Also, he’s running on nothing now – what if he used a billion dollars to hire the world’s best PR and ad firm and a bunch of advisers to give him real things to talk about? A reboot of Donald with money in the game could be dangerous.


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