I'm sad and angry, so I wrote a sad and angry poem.
That’s the thing about self-inflicted wounds:
You get pity, but no compassion.
You get mocked, and it’s hard to say it isn’t deserved.
Yet the bullet lodged in your squishy bits
Does no less damage when you put it there yourself.
We stood in lines in drab school hallways.
We chatted with our neighbors. Beautiful fall weather, Earl.
Nice day, isn’t it. Let’s burn it down.
We hovered at rickety booths and fired our weapons at once.
Not all of us, no. Fewer than half. But that’s another thing about self-inflicted wounds:
They can cause collateral damage.
We did it because we dislike loud women, clever women, women with opinions.
We did it because higher melanin levels make us suspicious.
We did it because we hope wealth is contagious.
We did it because we didn’t read the damn manual.
We did it for the lulz.
Tens of thousands of reasons. Rank them on a spectrum
From careless to foolish to venal to vile.
Now we wait for the hemorrhaging to start,
For systems to collapse, for ignorance to devour us, for kindness to wither,
For the victories of hard-fought battles to be wiped from the record.
An exhausted nation scans the horizon and notes the shape of the clouds
Then crawls into a cave to die.
—Morgan Richter, November 10, 2016