I was recently upset by the Gun Control initiative recently died in the Senate. I remembered the poem I wrote previously about my fear of guns and how strongly I dislike them. I decided to write a continuation of that thought and wrote past the first three stanzas of this poem. It works well as slam poetry, but I think it also translates on paper. This is not a condemnation of other viewpoints, but an expansion of my own.
Somebody asked if I would like to shoot a gun
just for sport, a hobby out in the woods,
I could barely muster up a No,
torn between feeling as though it were silly
to feel so antagonistic
but still the feeling in my stomach argued
with logic and I couldn’t bring myself to hold it
the cold barrel, heavy and metallic
and easily deadly, in my cold hands.
I could not imagine the feeling of power
and suffering and far too often
contained in something so small and toy like.
So I collected my words, uncomfortable,
waiting at the depth of my mouth, but stirring
in the pit of my heart and very calmly and politely said
“No, thank you. I’d rather not.”
You see, guns to me are not a sport,
but a family tragedy
where there is only a memory
of imagined gore
and unimagined fear.
An empty bench,
and a premature goodbye.
You see this week a gun control law failed,
and flailed in the arms of the senate
begging for the smallest of cautions
met with great resistance
and I can only cringe and ask
isn’t it worth the tiniest of measures
if just one time a shot
You see, this to me is not a great roadblock,
or even a steeping block to something bigger
but an almost meaningless precaution
taken to ease the pain of those of us
who have lost at the hands of those
wielding guns—see I am not naïve enough
to blame the gun, but I can blame it’s
overwhelming presence, and think
that maybe that small allowance
would give me small comfort when I think
of my father.
Because some days I sleep peacefully and restfully
without waking in a sweat, without seeing violence
under my eyelids, without cringing at images,
once indifferent but now unsettling.
Some days things are alright, but other days
I hold back the frenzy, like a shadow it follows me
sewn to my toes and mockingly dancing with pain
as it pokes at the back of my neck trying to get a rise.
No, I am not naïve enough to believe
that it’s the fault of the gun—I am all too aware
that the fault lies with the man holding it
thinking about ending life, isolated by
hatred, self-doubt, or unjustified motive.
I see a gun in the hands of someone giving up
on life and taking it by force
never mistaking a deadly weapon for
a water-filled harmless action.
So until then I will kindly decline to hold a gun,
something toy like and tragic in one
so often sold and easily bought and politely say
“No thank you, I’d rather not.”