This Week’s Mass Murders

I just walked in the building, and
I’m pissed—shaking with anger—why am I
the usual, permanent suspect,
Scrutinized, looked up and down, looked at
sideways? Why must I always remind rent-
a-pigs not to worry ‘bout me, “Black Identity
Extremist;” or “Bad Hombre” from below the
Border; or the Muslim; and instead, Sherlock
clean cut white boys, AKA Angry Gunmen?

I just walked in the building—but since I’m
here—Am I too late for lip service—another
super-sized serving of “thoughts and prayers?”
Too late to pen a puff piece on ‘our’ uniformed heroes
swift response? Too late to acknowledge good people
on both sides of the guns? Too late to remind them that
good guys with guns guarantee better body counts; or
that guns don’t kill—or too late to jerk the flag half staff?

Am I too late to tell the ‘American People’ to
Shop on—they’re safe? Too late to tell them
the wall; war budget bigger than 20 countries
combined; trade show parade of aircraft carriers,
F-16s, F-35s, nukes, Predator Drones, boots on the
Ground, military bases pock marking the globe,
prove it? Am I too late to tell them this is common-
place in places they can’t pronounce, or find on the
Map? Too late to tell them, “wars come home—”
even to the world’s “greatest purveyor of violence?”
(Too late to tell them The War On Terror
can be fought 99 cents store-style: mirrors for tracking
The terrorists—razors for them to do the right thing…)

Am I too late to talk about ‘troubled’ teens’ trials
and tribulations? Too late to talk about ‘lone wolves’
(‘bad apples—’ with badges) DOA from capitalism
Killing us all and blaming our
Deaths on other oppressed, exploited peoples of
African, Asian, Latin American origin? Am I too late
to talk about hard-working parents, quiet, normal neighbor-
hoods whose last lynchings were over sixty years ago?

Am I too late to say build the wall between hitlerite sites,
boys bedrooms decorated with confederate pulp fiction;
and nazi paraphernalia and
Medicine cabinets stocked with seventy-seven side effect drugs:
Hitleerium, Klananol, Genocidol? Am I too late to say what I’ll
always say: Division/subtraction’s the only winning formula
for the1%… Against class struggle/unity/revolution/socialism…

Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet privileged to have read at the Harriet Tubman Centennial Symposium. He is Artistic Director of the stalwart JazzPoetry Ensemble UpSurge and has appeared at numerous festivals and venues including the Monterey Jazz Festival and Panafest in Ghana West Africa. He currently is Poet-in-Residence at Black Agenda Report. Turner has opened for such people as James Baldwin, People’s Advocate Cynthia McKinney, radical sportswriter Dave Zirin and CA Congresswoman Barbara Lee following her lone vote against attacking Afghanistan. He is Co-Chair of the NY Chapter National Writers Union (NWU). Read other articles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.