There is a scene in one of the Star Wars movies

That I cannot watch.

It’s the one where all of the young Jedi

Are killed by the evil Skywalker.

Today, for me, the movie came to life

Scraping across my nerves in so many ways…

As a parent

Wanting only to hold my children

Both old and young,

As a teacher

So proud of the bravery

Displayed by those striving to save children,

As a citizen (and former gun owner)

Tired of the lame slogan

That “people kill people,”

As a brother

Whose bro might still be alive

Had he not owned a gun.

The emotions brought this cynic

To his knees

Leaving me wondering

Why this was allowed to happen

And begging for it all to end.

For once again

The pundits are waxing of innocence lost

And the gun lobby is calling  for temperance

As a defense against the offensive surely to be taken

On the weapons

That brought such destruction.

I say,

“Damn the amendments

Where civil liberties on gun ownership are concerned

For guns do kill

And today’s evil is not the tyranny that should be protected.”

How many need to die before

The laws are tough enough

Before the manufacturers give in

To a proper moral code

That places lives over profits

Before politicians lead

Without donations from purveyors of guns

Before people take back

A country built on freedoms

That guns are supposed to protect?

Arguments will certainly ensue

That this was a troubled person (SO, HE USED GUNS TO KILL)

Or that he got his weapons legally (SO, HE USED GUNS TO KILL)

Or that most gun owners are responsible (MOST?)

And I am sick of it

These deaths were not foreseeable

And neither will the next ones,

But they are predictable

As guns are so available.

Enough.

I want my brother back.

I want these children back with their families.

I want this school to return.

I want the adults lost back with their families.

I want the guns back as blanks of metal

To be made into something beautiful

With a purpose of hope

And no potential for destruction

I want, I want, I want…

Surrounded by desks and dodge balls, they circle up and talk the lunch away. Sometimes debating the malaise of students, other times living Seinfeldian limbo acting the parts of their own nothingness. Each day brings freshness to the adults saving what could have been a day deterred by too much time with teenagers, so it is not hard to imagine how they end their meals with locker room humor or the latest story from ridiculousness present. Their opinions could save the planet, end world hunger, or at least make forty two-ish minutes feel like a real lunch hour. See ya’ tomorrow.

Pushing through his nineties

With the help of a cane

And buckling knees

He shuffled forward

With faulty eyes

That left him unable to see

Those outside of an arm’s length

But his wit and charm

Brought light to his companions by

Masking an old man’s grumpiness

And letting out morsels of wisdom

Hidden by a body long past it’s warranty

He brought forth a beautiful day,

One of those where

Summer and winter agree to share

And the sky is blue

The air crisp

And the colors vibrant,

Not because he called God for the November gift,

But humorously,

“Because God called me”

And fitting of a man of many passions,

His life now alone

In the clutches

Of a nursing home,

He spoke truthfully

Of the power of touch

To emit true intimacy

Without the complications

“Of whatever you all are doing”

He asked me what to say to young people

Advice he could give to the younger set

His thoughts yearning

For people to live with

A purpose towards civic responsibility and commitment to all

And I was left

Wishing that I could give him

Some of my body’s vitality

For the lesson he had just bestowed upon me

So he could share more of his thoughts

Beyond this beautiful day

That he brought to us.

I’m ready for leaders with
the balls to say more about
what they believe
and less about what will get them the money

Leaders with a set
that will allow them to
tell their own party
to shove it when they are the problem

I’m ready for religious zealots
to admit that faith
is as flimsy as science
and none of us really know

But if they aren’t ready
to take that leap of faith
maybe they could stop
treating religion as a trip around the Monopoly board

And for scientists who know
that the Scientific Method has its limits
and is only as strong
as the virtue of the observer

I’m ready for women
to stop talking about how bad
women are
and thinking they should act like men

Go out
Burn a bra
Join Augusta
But stop being so darn caddy

I’m ready for the media
to report
leaving the conjecture
to Las Vegas

I’m ready for people in my home town
To stop praising football players past
Who abused drugs
And paid to sleep with teenagers

I’m ready for my profession
To stop hiding behind tenure
And start providing solutions
To the ails of education

I’m ready for the public
To look more critically
At its indifference towards accountability
For their children’s responsibilities in school

I’m ready for soul in music
Less synth and thump
More feeling and funk
And fewer break up songs from Taylor Swift

I’m ready for sportswriters
To get back to writing,
Off the radio, away from TV,
And free of cliches

I’m ready for the return of boxing
And Ali
And Don King
And Howard Cosell

I’m ready for a rise of independents
Who are flexible
Who believe in all
And are swayed by their own reasoned way

Yep, I’m ready.

Stashed away

In a heep of backlogged emotions

Is that one of hope

That happens to be chained to pain.

So strange that they are coupled together

Under the other baggage he drags around.

He hopes each day will be easy,

Full of motivation and commitment

Without the drudgery and insolence,

So common along his path.

And just when it seems to be that day…

Pain yanks that chain bringing reality crashing

Upon the pair

A kick between the legs for sure

Always, the tandem takes turns

Pushing optimism and remorse

With neither gaining a stronghold

From far back where things should be forgotten