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Sunday, January 27, 2019


by Rick Kempa

"The New Normal" by Pat Bagley
A few AP headlines, January 27, 2019:
Search on for Louisiana man suspected in 5 deaths
1 dead, 1 wounded after shooting near Atlantic City
Police: 5 people shot overnight at Indianapolis bar
Teen arrested in shooting death of another Blue Springs MO teen
MSU police: Woman shoots herself at campus shooting range
Reno police: Man killed when shot multiple times in vehicle
New Haven Police investigate shooting of pizza delivery man

Fly it at half-mast always
because we are never done grieving,
because, one by one by one,
we are killing each other daily.

Fly it at half-mast
to declare our permanent sorrow,
the holes in our hearts, the horror
that we are no longer horrified.

Fly it to mark the fallen,
yesterday’s, today’s, tomorrow’s,
ten thousand exes on the streets,
a million feet of crime scene tape.

Because we are willing to sacrifice
our neighbors, our children
to defend our right to own,
to be killing machines,

because we fall so short of what we
could be and refuse to be, because
our numbness is complicity,
fly it at half-mast always.

Poet and essayist Rick Kempa lives in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where he has recently finished his thirtieth and final year of teaching at Western Wyoming College. Other work of his on the themes of social justice and the lack thereof has appeared in Haight-Ashbury Review, Los Angeles Review, Little Patuxent Review, The J Journal, and elsewhere. His latest poetry collection is Ten Thousand Voices (Oakland: Littoral Press).