Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Emperor of the Gun: A Poem by David Hartley Mark

The Emperor of the Gun

By David Hartley Mark
(With Apologies to Wallace Stevens & Carl Sandburg)

Call the wielder of the AR-15,
The camouflaged one, and bid him stitch
His initials on the bodies of his victims.

Pile the bodies high in Dallas and Orlando.
Shovel them under and let me work.
I am the NRA; I cover all.

Let the shooting clubs dawdle in such Kevlar vests
As they are used to wear, and let the families of the Dead
March, bearing placards saying— what they wish to say.
Let them march and sweat beneath our Equal American sun.
            The only emperor is the Emperor of the Gun.

And pile them high in Columbine,
And pile them high in Newtown, Roseburg, Charleston—
Who cares where?
Two days, two weeks, and the TV-watchers ask one another—
What shooting is this?
How many died today?

Go to your Sporting Goods Store,
Perhaps a Pawnshop, or a handy Public Arena,
Buy all the guns you wish, avoid a Background Check,
They’ll take your Plastic, Debit, even Cash—
And buy a Camo Sheet
On which Black-Brown-Yellow Splotches mix together
And spread it o’er the Dead, all in a pile.
If their unmoving Feet protrude, they come
To show how helpless we all are, and dumb.

What shooting is this?
Who died today?


I am the grass.
Let me work.