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Thursday, November 02, 2017


by Alan Walowitz

FBI to release all of its JFK assassination files. In this file photo, President John F. Kennedy's hand reaches toward his head within seconds of being fatally shot as first lady Jacqueline Kennedy holds his forearm as the motorcade proceeds along Elm Street past the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. | James W. "Ike" Altgens, File/AP Photo via Politico, October 30, 2017

I was in homeroom when JFK got shot
and we weren’t told much
about what’d happened—
or about much else—
this was high school, late shift,
and the afternoon wore
so damn slowly into night.
But that day I learned
from the very purposeful
and well-dressed Mr. Wulf
that life must go on
and a greater angle of a triangle
is opposite a greater side,
and though I never had the need
to read the Warren Report,
I hear those august guys
absolutely nailed Theorem #6
with their fine discussion and diagrams
of angles and distance from the Book Depository
to the limo riding by in Dealey Plaza
carrying a human god, the man we most admired,
though we later found out
he had feet of clay and was just a guy.
I also learned that
if a teacher remains in the back of the room
and tamps down weeping to a quiet, plaintive sob,
a tough old bird like Mrs. Hirsch in English
can wring a pink handkerchief dry
then drown it again with her tears
and no one will think less of her.
Though the president we’ve got now
makes me sick with his lies,
his ugliness, and everything else he hides,
there’s nothing left in the vault,
unrevealed from 1963 or ‘64
that could have taught me any better
what kind of grownup
I ought to hope I’d grow up to be.

Alan Walowitz has been published in various places on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, and teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in his native borough of Queens, NY. Alan’s chapbook Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press in 2016 and is now in its second printing.