Tag Archives: gun control

The Toddler King Part (1)


IMG_0269 (10)     IMG_0269 (8)    IMG_0269 (9) 

    Orange is the New Bleak 1 (3)

The Toddler King Part (1)

5 am in America

the toddler king
checks his Twitter feed

a five hundred pound ball
of carbohydrate and grease
rolls across the parking lot
of a big box store,
no one notices

assault rifles take stock

the second amendment
thinks about making amends

the founding fathers
find themselves wanting.


American Carnage (Edit)

WU 2 (4)

American Carnage

Not the export it used to be,
nothing like the glory days
Hiroshima, Vietnam, Cambodia;
still popular at home tho’
nearly twelve thousand gun deaths a year
the gun barrel points both ways.
This is not much of a poem, is it?
That last metaphor was a bit clumsy
and there’s no music in statistics
but there is a rhyme in that last line
and there’s assonance in ‘American Carnage’
and there is an ass in the White House
but enough about that
stay away from the low hanging fruit
we need a rhyme
carnage, baggage, garbage, image
imagine all the people
that’s what this situation needs
a protest singer, a protest song
three chords and a chorus
that we can sway and link arms to
Where are you
Josh (Ritter)
Michael (Stipe)
Bruce ?


This poem originally appeared in Rat’s Ass Review . 

I was watching the CNN town hall last week where some of the teenage survivors of the Parkland school shooting got to pose questions to 3 politicians (including Marco Rubio). It was probably one of the most painfully riveting pieces of television, I’ve seen in a while. It was truly amazing to see a 17 year old high school student cut through the usual fog of evasion and diversion to pin down Marco Rubio about NRA sponsorship of his campaign. Marco, in the end, refused to say he would stop taking money from the NRA. I thought of these lines from Bob Dylan:

“Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.”



A Very American Problem

A Very American Problem

In the wake of the recent mass shooting…
in the wake..as if the mass shooting is an ocean liner
and we are sailboats helplessly bobbing.

In the wake of the recent mass shooting
the President will talk about mental health (not his own)
and find someone to blame.

In the wake of the recent mass shooting
Anderson Cooper and his panel discussed how in future
the notification of victims’ families could be speeded up,

the acceptance of the inevitability of mass shootings
inherent in this discussion
saddened me more than anything.

In the wake of the recent mass shooting
thoughts, hearts, prayers will go out,
in a mass exodus of platitudes.

In the wake of the recent mass shooting
no one will ask how someone who can’t legally purchase alcohol
can purchase an assault rifle.

This observation, this juxtaposition
has become so obvious, so commonplace,
it no longer qualifies as an insight.

Slim at the Vancouver Folk Festival (reprise)

One hour into the folkfest

and a mellow, minor key, melancholy

is seeping into Slim’s bones,

he feels it like an arthritic ache

and he wishes that someone

would duck walk across the stage

shooting staccato bursts of distorted guitar

at the chill, Tilley clad audience

who, unlike Slim, have a default mode

other than anger.


I thought I would reprise this one. I spent yesterday at the Vancouver Folk Festival. The photograph shows the on-site solar-powered ATM. The ATM is housed in a Volkswagen van which is indicative of the post Woodstock festival vibe, in fact some of the people looked like they may have been at Woodstock. At times they must have felt, looking at the current generation of festival-goers,  that they were looking at their former selves – long straight air, flowing dresses, tie-dyed shirts, garlands, beards, that swirling hippy dance. The solar-powered ATM is indicative of the environmental consciousness or conscience of the event ( there are attendants at each garbage bin station to ensure that people make the right recycling choice).

In recent years, local authorities have allowed a beer garden, which means that beer can be purchased and consumed behind a chain-linked fence but not carried around the festival grounds. This is good in that beer is available but having to drink in a compound dampens the free spirit vibe a little bit. It is ironic that at the Republican Convention this week, guns can be open-carried and here in Vancouver, it is forbidden to open-carry a beer. Sometimes erring on the side of safety is a good thing.

Some great acts that I hadn’t heard before = the Moulettes, San Firmin, Hayes Carll.