Out of respect for the newly dead
just for today, let our tongues be silent.
Speak not of gun control.
Let us, as a nation, grieve in silent outrage
for our dead, and for our surviving children
who shall forevermore carry memories
of fearful moments, in noiseless horror,
corner cuddled, hearts throbbing;
waiting for Death’s cold hand
to pierce their tender hearts.
Let us speak of senseless, repetitious horror
that might well have been averted
had we all been willing, even once
to dream beyond heroic violence
to the far more challenging, more
courageous, more inspiring vision
of heroic peace.
With compassion for the victims and their
grieving families, both slain and slayer.
Let us not speak of mental health
nor seek to soothe the conscience
of a country with simplistic categories –
good guys, bad guys, innocent and guilty.
But let us not lose to shades of gray
our mindfulness that ours is a culture closed
to those who most need help;
who least are able to afford much-
needed meds, who cry and stamp and tantrum!
Now is not the moment for convenient blame,
for those who we cast out and tell they can’t
be saved return, who in blazing rage
to inhabit the darkest shadows,
and all the rest the pious light.
Out of respect for tradition
let us not speak of change.
Out of respect for the dead
let us all still our tongues.
Out of respect for the past
let us never speak of the future.
Out of respect for the wealthy
let us not speak of the poor.
Out of respect for the poor
let us not speak of the economy.
Out of respect for the worker
let us not speak of unions.
Truth be told, I am out of respect.