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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Umpqua

(For Chris Mintz & John Hanlin)

 

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, the incident is the 45th shooting at a school so far this year

 

It is gray and cold in Boston but I’m thinking of ice cream and home.

Because Oregon is next to Washington and I’ve driven through Roseburg

on the way to Crater Lake. Because Umpqua is a bank

and a brand of ice cream I like

and that’s all it should ever have been

to me. It’s a river, a national forest

or the word “satisfied” in a dead language

from a dead tribe displaced before our Civil War,

when mass shootings were a matter of business,

unremarked and unreported but remembered.

 

So far

When does an event recur enough to lose its place as news?

When did an editor decide to not report a suicide because he knew

it would only cause more death?

When did we forget that there’s no such thing as bad publicity?

When we will know the life history of a broken man

while the lives that matter will be plastered on a banner,

faces like marks on a scorecard.

When I can count on one hand until next time,

0 days since the last…

When fame is merely the flick of a finger away.

We will keep having one conversation,

reloading words in the same jammed revolver.