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Monday, February 08, 2010

If a Man Puts Out the Eye of an Equal, His Eye Shall Be Put Out [Feb 8, 2010 Today's News Poem]

If a Man Puts Out the Eye of an Equal, His Eye Shall Be Put Out [Feb 8, 2010 Today's News Poem]

“The "evil" killer of an East Palo Alto police officer showed no mercy or remorse as he stood over the fallen man and fired a final shot into his head, the officer's family said today in court before a judge sentenced the convicted murderer to death.”
--Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, Feb 8, 2010

I knew a woman online
Who wanted to be a writer.
And because she seemed so blithe
To an activity I thought of as seppuku, as mortal combat—
An activity I value more than its practitioners—
I told her to quit.
I wanted to scare her from the page—
To chase her to the other paper—
The kind that most people love.

She died.
Age 33, so a year younger than me.
The life I tried to scare her from,
The one our thirties assures
Will wait for us with crochet needle,
And grandchild on lap
Didn't happen for her.

I have been mourning my whole life,
Which means the things that were
Matter more to me than the things that are
Or will be.

I didn't want her to be sad like me,
But I also didn't want her to be bitter like me.
I thought if she hated me, but lived well
And raised her son well,
It wouldn't matter what I said.

Everybody mourns something
And carries this sorrow like an infant—
Or more accurately, a tumor.
They say don't take it personally,
Don't take life personally,
You will go mad that way.
It's true. I'm there.

I've seen more ebbing than flowing in this life.
Change isn't an enemy, even if enemies are cast in that role.
Does my singleminded fury against the inhumanity of this world
Make me too inhuman to live in it?
I think I'm still human because I mourn,
But perhaps mourning isn't a noble emotion.
Maybe it's the justification
To see every cop as the one who did you or did someone you know—
Or someone who could have been you—wrong.
So that every cop becomes the cop
Someone should have shot.
So that every muse is a siren,
A devil, a prosecutor
Who should be ignored,
Lest death overtake one.
To see the affront to everything,
In everything.
And in mourning, becoming the affront,
Another thing that hates and should be hated
In a world we're insane to love.
In a world we have no right to mourn.
Whatever we were, we've killed it.

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