Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Heart Burdened by Youth Violence

Every Off the Wall Thing
By Nordette Adams

What I say, I say in draft because
minute to minute my heart updates its
wrath, sorrow, shame with a ripping of veins
like hair from an undone mind.
With each new crime against a young one
by a young one, my heart bleeds an ugly pus
with raped rhyme that misses the joy of
Hallmark Cards. Misses the forward lift
of a literary bard's song.

The news is wrong! We scream.
We want it to be a nightmare from which
morning will bring a punch line or
a sign that we're not really here
and what we see is not what we've gotten
but each heinous headline punches us in our guts
like the stench of rotten meat ... so real
so inescapable.

Our sons are dying and sometimes with them
our daughters too fall into tombs.
Our minds lack the room to comprehend this madness.
So we search the heart of God, the mind of science,
the dreck of media buzz for an inkling of sanity,
any reason that says because we've done X
our children have no why.

Some of our children have no why for why they are here.
They dare not dream a meaning of life.
They deem themselves and others unworthy of any
breath of God, righteous gift, claim of spiritual wealth.
They are adrift in a sea of nothingness,
and we don't know who put them on these rafts to hell.

We don't know. We don't like pointing fingers. We
despise mirrors and snapshots of ourselves rushing,
tired, and lost. We don't care to levy the tax or cost
that brought us here and nobody wants to show us the clear
path that brought us to this dungeon unless
they live high in ivory or behind a gate
or sleep in the furs of privilege.

Is it your child or her child or his baby that my baby
must fear walking home from school?
What foolishness is this that makes our fruit raise spears
like savages instead of warriors for justice and healing?
I will take any dumb theory, grasp at any straw, even
the hypothesis that what we have here is the curse of Rome,
be it lead poisoning or unbridled debauchery.
Just give me something I can fix to make the nightmare stop.

Make it stop!

(c) Copyright 2009 Nordette Adams

I haven't posted here since April, but have been feeling that given the rise in youth violence, which has weighed on me for nearly a year, that perhaps what this blog should be is nothing but poems and prayers on this issue. At my other blog I wrote fairly recently on the beating of Derrion Albert, "His Death, Our Shame", and last night I heard about the burning of Michael Brewer by five Florida teens. What can we do?

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