NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 1 - Winter 2018 - Page 46

poetry By Roger Aplon Charleston Church Massacre – 6/17/2015 “We Forgive You”   The maimed & dead line the walk to the toilet, to the bathroom where  shaving gear rests on the green granite counter, down the polished stairs to the kitchen, where hot tea is brewed. The maimed & dead were there  when he awoke, when he fed Buddy, the dog, when he filled the birdfeeders. They’ve been knocking on the door all day. Most are from Aurora, Colorado, a small town east of Denver near the old  airport where not much (of note) has happened in years. Imagine: it’s midnight, bats are winging their way through star-filled skies,  Aunt Louise from Galveston arrived earlier that day & is drunk on the porch. Scotty, 12, the youngest of four, is sneaking peeks at the Shufuni porn site & jacks-off into his handkerchief. Stephanie, 20, the oldest, keeps her date in the basement where they play at marriage & divorce for the pleasure & pain of the sex & withdrawal. Mom’s at the movies with Samantha & Rob, the middle two,                                 & will never return. ​ Aurora, Colorado Around Midnight  7/19/2012 Swept-up in a blast of heated air — one flash & another & nowhere to run, to hide, to breathe free . . . & he keeps coming on this pilfered heart, this shameless ragging, like a lion on fire, provoked, pissed-off, punishing, a collapsed invention where fear marries power, with guns blazing the angel of death smacks his lips slurping up a treacheries soup . . . Speak not of justice, sanity & bigotry in one breath. Speak not of mercy without passion. Do unto others as you do unto me. The words ring wrong. If harmony reigns what will come to fill the vacuum? Guilt-of-the-fathers passed to the sons. Inbred fear of retribution. The Other, no longer dark but from the light comes to resurrect that supreme fabric. Owner. Master. Overseer. That sublime indifference born of guilt — suspicion — nurturing — fomenting. Is there no one to speak against the blind warrior? We forgive you. It’s said with conviction — tearful & full of grace. Who’s earned such a holy gift? Tattooed across his brow a crown of thorns, swastika etched between his shoulder blades. This is the time of mutilation, of dementia, of disgrace. Where are the voices of revolution? Those willing to stand & be counted, unafraid of hard choices? The one who bears malice bears a cataclysm too long dismissed as fated, too long tolerated, too long unchallenged. “Born in blood, so blood must be spilled.” It’s the way of the smuggler, the rapist, the strangler of kids, the demon lover of hatred & dread. To this we say, with all our strength — No More! Six AM 7-20-2012