Self-Inflicted

I'm sad and angry, so I wrote a sad and angry poem.


Self-Inflicted


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

Comments

Oh, it is all just so sad. Beautiful poem. I'm sorry that it had to be written. We will recover. We must. I say this as a British person, but I think we'll all suffer from this. But we'll have to keep being stronger and better and healing and helping.

I'm having a lot of trouble reconciling DMcC's political decisions with my adoration of his glorious form right now, but in a weird way it's helping. It's helping me understand why this terrible thing happened and why good people still support something that has the potential to be terrible.
Morgan Richter said…
Thank you. We'll get through this, and beyond it, and above it. Right now, it's very hard to see a clear path, but we'll get there.

It's very weird knowing that half of the US voting public -- and over half of white women, which is the part that specifically sticks in my craw -- voted in a way that was diametrically opposed to their own best interests. This wasn't a good choice for anyone to make, and yet so many people made it. McCallum has a whole lot of company in his beliefs.
Anonymous said…
Thank you. I have spent the past two days comforting a classroom full of crying and angry children, telling them that the apocalypse has not begun. In my efforts to be a rock of stoic optimism for their sakes I did not dare allow myself the chance to reflect. Your poem has given me the opportunity to do that. Thank you for expressing words I could not form. I am hiding from my tv and have reread everything you and your fellows have written on this site. And I've told my husband that only breakfast diamonds and two tiaras can heel my pain.
Illesdan said…
You should put your poem up on Facebook; I have some friends there that I think should read this, which means I would share, if you didn't mind.
Morgan Richter said…
(Blogger is eating my comments today; apologies if I end up repeating myself.)

Anonymous -- thank you so much for your comments. I hope your students are feeling a little more optimistic and reassured now; it's good that they have you to comfort them. Hiding from the TV is a very sensible course of action. We'll get through this, and move past this; it's just going to take a great deal of strength and kindness from everyone.

Illesdan -- I'm avoiding Facebook for a bit (apart from the Duranalysis posts), just because things were pretty acrimonious last time I looked, but I imagine I'll post this here in a bit. In the meantime, I have a .jpg of the poem on Twitter; you (and everyone) are more than welcome to do anything you want with it.

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