Mass Shooting Manifesto #2

~3 in 24

Land of the human shield,
shields knitted together
like arms criss-crossed
above a screaming child,
shields gripping the edges
of door frames, of store shelves,
of shoulders hugging themselves
into oblivion.

Land of oblivion,
oblivion unto crater unto black hole
opened in the center of the universe,
the universe of a nation
crushed under the weight
of its own immovable heart,
a hole blown through the center
of a map that catches fire and spreads,
a darkness that burns
with no remorse.

Land of no remorse,
land of bulletproof glass,
bulletproof blankets
bulletproof vests
bulletproof backpacks,
but not land of bulletproof bodies,
not land of the still living
who stood up to the barrels
and said go through me first.

Land of me first,
of President Me,
of this gun belongs to me
as this life belongs to me
as this world belongs to me
and anything less is an invasion.

Land of invasion,
invasion of privacy,
invasion of perpetual PTSD,
where balloons pop,
where fireworks boom,
where books dropped
to a concrete floor
send the damaged ducking
for cover.

Land of cover me up,
land of smoke and soot,
land of lift me up,
carry me from the carnage,
carry me to safety
amid the cacophony
of so many sobs, incoherent cries,
shutters and flashes clicking,
caution tape flapping in wind,
cradle my head to your chest,
and wait for them
to finally ask your name
instead of the name
of the shooter.

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Provocative truth teller, author of 14 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at:

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