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Saturday, August 10, 2019


by Mary K O'Melveny

                        …El Paso (this time)

This is a video game gone quite wrong.
This is a prayer turned to a theme song.
This is a mental health problem.  A strong
response will allow us to move along.

This is a city where migrants have long
been welcome, in serape or sarong,
where border crossers shop for daylong
Walmart bargains—our US torch song.

They sell weapons there too that stoke real fears—
bumpstocks and bullets and bandoliers.
But apparently all is not as it appears,
even as these are checked out by cashiers.

The enabler-in-chief and all his peers
report that we must cover up our ears.
The silencing of rifles would set back years
of cold cash from NRA financiers.

Republicans, whose loyalty is owed
to makers of shiny things that explode,
hide from the press as the mark is towed
while innocents reap what their greed has sowed.

Where bones have shattered and blood has flowed,
these folks blather past each grim episode.
Their words are camouflaged in secret code
while still more angry white men lock and load.

Mary K O'Melveny is a recently retired labor rights attorney who lives in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  Her work has appeared in various print and on-line journals. Her first poetry chapbook A Woman of a Certain Age is available from Finishing Line Press. Mary’s poetry collection Merging Star Hypotheses will be published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2020.