(i’m going to tell you a story today, a story that reads like a nursery rhyme that’s how common it is, and i’m going to tell you all the parts, all the facets of it that show a different picture like the faces on a diamond slowly turning on a pedestal in an empty jewelry shop and here it goes)
a cloudy night in Los Angeles.
There’s a young black boy walking down the street,
he’s got his headphones on
with his hands in his pockets
and his hood up.
It was a hot day
and even though it’s night
the passing headlights still make you think
you can see the heat waves
coming off the pavement,
so of course
the boy’s got on basketball shorts,
isn’t that what the boys do?
He goes into a corner store
and comes out with a pack of cup noodles,
and I guess the sound of rustling plastic
sounds a lot like danger
because the next moment
the boy’s got three bullets in him,
one after another like
and in that last frightened heartbeat spilling lifeblood out onto the pavement before a gathering crowd of spectators we see a college student escaping a hectic, hateful world to...well, who knows, but I sure do hope it’s quiet.
(yes yes it’s sad but it’s only the first part hang in there we’ve got a little more to go)
A college girl is at a party
and she’s dressed down in a ponytail and her favorites,
the old jeans she’s had since she was fourteen
and her white Converse with Sharpie all over.
Someone offers her a red cup,
tells her it’s beer,
knows she won’t say no
because wouldn’t that be rude?
All she wanted to do was dance, really.
and she feels herself getting fainter
and she feels the hands tighten on her forearm
and the world falls over.
or maybe it’s fifteen days--
she’s alone in a dark bedroom
with her heartbeat banging on her eardrums
and her favorite jeans lying on the floor by her feet.
She’ll tell her friends,
she’ll tell the police,
and she’ll find the boy who lured her there
but he’ll remind everyone that he’s an athlete
and he’ll get off with a slap on the wrist while the girl isn’t allowed to dig herself out of her own grave because his varsity letters are worth more than her virginity and her ripped jeans.
(we all know where this is going but there’s nothing we can do about it now is there)
Twelve students killed in a school shooting.
Subcontract factory explodes in India and none of the child workers make it out alive.
28 year old woman murdered by abusive boyfriend, body discovered in the bedroom.
Part eight part nine part ten part eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three TWENTY-FOUR TWENTY-FIVE TWENTY-SIX TWENTY-SEVEN TWENTY-EIGHT
I’ve told you a story today.
It’s a story that reads like a nursery rhyme, that’s how common it is.
I’ve told you all the parts, all the facets of it that show a different picture
like the faces on a diamond slowly turning on a pedestal in an empty jewelry shop.
These are the words in bold at the bottom of our TV screens
and the news articles we shake our heads at before clicking away.
Some men and women and children didn’t have that option.
They did not get to choose between stories,
life or death,
love or horror,
and only when we see them in thumbnail pictures
or dissect them psychology class
or use them as just something to talk about
can we see what went wrong.
And the only thing we can say is,