When I post a piece of this nature I like to prelude it with a warning of sorts. It contains content of a political nature that is somewhat contrary to the prevailing mindset of most in the poetic community. Which is also why I choose to post it on a Friday night when not many are online. So, you are warned. If your blood boils, it is not my fault.


By 9:30 — it was Friday, two weeks ago —
I was two meetings into my day, one
potentially profitable, the other probably
less so, when the exuberant news anchor

starts spouting the horrid information.
Most of which was false, but newsworthy.
By days end the count was twenty dead
first graders plus teachers and staff.

The world wept.

I was horrified and offended when the outcries
began; pundits, politicians and activist
blaming a tool, pushing an agenda before
the pools had dried or the names were known.

I was horrified and offended when the rebuttals
followed close behind: activist and ‘rights’ groups
defending tradition and spewing tired slogans before
the pools had dried or the names were known.

I was horrified and offended when the President
of the United States turned a memorial service
into a political stump speech, a bully pulpit,
taking advantage of grief and circumstance

while the world still wept.

In 1920 we banned alcohol, drinking flourished
and a new class of criminal prospered.

In the 1960’s racial discrimination was declared
illegal, ignorance and bigotry still flourishes.

Now there are screams to ban a weapon,
thinking less children will die.

Meanwhile, on that same Friday, across the U.S.
3500 children died, denied a chance at life,
but this is ok because their mothers
were allowed to choose this course.

And no one wept.


Filed under Poetry

12 responses to “Banned

  1. Mark, this is strong and says what you have to say, from the solar plexus. I for one will not fret over whether our politics mesh–I will take this piece for what it is–a strong, angry poem that says something important, whether I agree 00% or not. Well done.

  2. I am in 100% agreement with you, politics be damned life is life!!

  3. Politicians’ egos require constant stroking, hence stanza 5. Well written but I can’t agree with all of it.

  4. Although we can disagree on many things about which you write, I think we can agree on being horrified and grief-stricken at the event of Dec 14. and perhaps we can also agree that the press as it exists today is pretty horrifying too! Thanks for sharing your truth!

  5. I do agree with you, Mark, that the timing was definitely poor for the “discussion” regarding guns. I do think the parents and famlies and city and even the country needed time to mourn the loss; but, that is not how politics works. I also do think very much about the effect of banning alcohol..definitely didn’t work; and I do wonder if the same would happen with gun control. The criminals or unstable will always find a way to get a gun if they want to. I truly am not sure WHAT the answer is. We have had the Sikh Temple mass shooting and the Azana Spa mass shooting occur within miles of where I live in recent months. One of the shooters was a ‘hater’ and the other shooter was a husband who had a restrainer out on him. I think these two would have found guns somewhere even if there WAS gun control. Christmas Eve a young woman police officer was ambushed (shot 5 times in the head) while on duty and killed — her husband, an Iraq veteran with PTSD. He used one of her service revolvers. Gun control wouldn’t have stopped his act either. Just sayin’. I will return somewhat later to see if you have responded.

    Also, on another note, thank you for your support of Poets United and Poetry Pantry this year. I wish you the very best for 2013 & much good writing.

    • Thank you Mary. I do think it has been proven that gun control does not reduce crime. Quite the contrary, the states with the strongest right to carry and concealed carry rights have lower crime rates because the criminal knows his victim might be armed. While it has become a bit cliche, it does remain true that if you outlaw guns only the criminals will have guns. Then those that obey the law will not have the ability to defend themselves. Connecticut for example has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. I do have some issues with assault weapons, but it then becomes a slippery slope. where do you stop.
      Everyone also seems to forget the intent of the 2nd amendment. It was to allow us to protect ourselves from the Government! What happens when only they have guns?

  6. You have written a strong poem here, which is thought-provoking and well presented. Like Susan, I respect the strength of your viewpoint and your right to express it. All the best in 2013, kiddo, hope to keep seeing you in the Pantry!

Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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