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Sunday, May 25, 2014

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND: ISLA VISTA, 2014

by Marjorie Maddox


Aftermath. Photo by Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times. “Seen through a bullet hole, IV Deli Mart owner Michael Hassan cleans up his store near UC Santa Barbara. A gunman fatally shot someone there.”
     “Authorities on Saturday afternoon removed three bodies from the apartment of the suspect in Friday night's shooting rampage that left seven people dead in Isla Vista, near UC Santa Barbara.” --LA Times, May 24, 2014


On this weekend for honoring the dead,
more dead, the radio blasting updates
between ballads, Beach Boys, the “Battle
Hymn of the Republic.”

Friday night post-graduation
in a college town not unlike ours,
sorrow drenched in war songs and the same
bloody questions we’ve mourned before,
each grief mounting beyond what we feared
possible, and possible again,
the way the radio keeps blaring
Sousa, worse-case-scenarios drumming still
worse long after we’ve tried
to turn the knob, silence the sound waves,
to finally and forever
disconnect the throbbing beat
between each patriotic wave
of the half-mast flag.


Director of Creative Writing and professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox’s book,  Local News from Someplace Else (Wipf & Stock 2013), focuses on living in an unsafe world. In addition, she has a new ebook, Perpendicular As I ( Kindle version, Nook version, Kobo version).