Boots on the ground in Buffalo

He was happy to head East
picking up the birthday boy’s cake at

Wasn’t Halloween. Was it Hollywood?
White boy? Long gun? Body armor,
Camera on helmet—horrible, hateful
eyes—Black side of town?

Last questions before Bushmaster’s barrel
popped-popped-popped…flashing false
Consciousness—fiery hate— ripping hot
into his happy head, leaving burgundy brain
tissue on the store floor

Family and friends gathered to sing “Happy
Birthday” to the birthday boy will never—
Ever—celebrate birthdays in the same way.
False consciousness flooded their homes with

Mass shooting of the week—
Ol’ Schmo to Buffalo—
star-spangled chest puffed out, locked and
loaded with fully-automatic shrink-wrapped
High-capacity magazine—thirty rounds of
“Thoughts and Prayers,” “Heavy Hearts—”
bursts of Dem doublespeak sprayed at
Buffalo’s mourning Black masses. Nearly mis-
firing… babbling “Build Back Better-isms…”

Ol’ Schmo to Buffalo—
Watson-to-Sherlock-like—“Lone gunman armed
with a weapon of war— it’s a hate crime! White
supremacy’s a poison!”
Not nazi venom saturating settler-colonial-confederacy soil.
Not gunpowder-driven real estate deals with the Indigenous
Peoples. Not unpaid labor extracted from enslaved Africans—
Teaching CRT: Charlottesville-style Racist Terrorism:
Wild Boers storming Capitalist Hill January 6; Officer Prodigy
walking in Wisconsin, spawning Kenosha copy cats; The slow-
walking, wrist-slapping AG acting as Boss Tweet’s straight man
for Teflon Don acts…

Mass shooting of the week—
Ol’ Schmo to Buffalo—
NO caravan of Brink’s trucks for the ten teary
Bills, house and car notes, rent, tuition, student
debt. For inflationary food and fuel. For forever
Generational repair…
Healing/housing Scrooges swiftly shipped billions
in weapons. Crowed ‘bout recipients
Naming children after Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin,
Northrop Grumman products! Today, they say, “Pray
for Buffalo’s victims and their families…”

Mass shooting of the week—
Ol’ Schmo to Buffalo—
If only the young gunman had driven seven thousand miles—
instead of 300— poison’s
Cool in Kabul, Baghdad, Khartoum, Mogadishu, Tripoli…
He’d hear, “Thank you for your service,” boarding aircraft
before babysitters, teachers, nurses and food-workers…Or
have handcuffs, Glock, taser, baton, badge, pension and

Former forklift driver/warehouse worker/janitor, Raymond Nat Turner is a NYC poet; BAR's Poet-in-Residence; and founder/co-leader of the jazz-poetry ensemble UpSurge!NYC. Read other articles by Raymond Nat, or visit Raymond Nat's website.