Sestina: White Men are Killing Us

Imagine two elderly white men dying at the hands of a raving lunatic–

a forty-year-old black man roaming through White churches to commit mayhem.

Imagine him loose in a busy, suburban supermarket or a bustling parking lot

with a shiny, black Glock, having earlier refused to take his anxiety medication.

Or, if that’s too much, imagine a black man in a church or synagogue of whites,

spraying Remington hollow points into a congregation of octogenarian victims.


What would our response be if we realized an Afro-American killed these victims?

Why must we know the murderer’s race to judge our response to wanton mayhem?

Holding our breath, like a black murderer would be an act of war–yet, if the lunatic

was white, why would that be acceptable? Shootings are like car crashes–our lot

in life–but if the killer is Caucasian, whether or not his victims are black or white,

it doesn’t matter: we blame PTSD or ADHD or some mind-numbing medication.


We are addicted to viewing mass murder through a race-acerbating medication.

A reaction that says it’s all right for forty-year-old men who happen to be white

or white boys still in their twenties to create piles of multiple, murdered victims–

with the weapons sold to them. In our lust for consumers, who are the lunatics?

AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, high performance shotguns, or the endless lot

of handguns, Glocks, Sauers, Colts, and Rugers create unimaginable mayhem.


Add in bump stocks and extended ammo clips and the deadly crush of mayhem

is instantaneous. But what if the man who wore the vest and mask of the lunatic

was black or Muslim or Hispanic or any race not acceptable, not like the white

Europeans, would our gun laws change if we realized whites were the victims

of weapon sales to minorities or immigrants? Or would the opioid medication

or heroin packets increase–let them kill off each other rather than the whole lot


at once–much more acceptable if minorities die off daily, quietly–but how to allot

for mass murder committed over a summer? Does time matter when mayhem

occurs endlessly? And if it proceeds too slowly, too mild a prescribed medication,

is it enhanced by an Army-outfitted, clandestine-trained police force? Is this lunatic?

How else to understand racial genocide, to build up the number of victims?

But suppose it was only whites dying and the police consisted of non-whites?


Imagine black officers wrestling a forty year-old whose only crime was being white,

tying his hands behind him so he can’t stop rolling in the back of a police van, a victim

of Black justice, a White lynching. Then, multiply over and over, decades of mayhem!

Yes, it is inconceivable! But white men murder us in every way possible, and a lot

of it makes no sense, like white males have gone berserk on their medication.

It is more than that–why the raging anger, resentment, frustration? We are lunatics!


Why else such mayhem: twenty-year-old white kids discarding their medication,

angry old white men killing us like lunatics? We’ve become so anxious around the entire lot 

of them (your brother?), how soon before we’re found in ones or mass as next victims?



Categories: Poetry, Selection: 2018

2 replies

  1. I’m going to read this at the county commissioners meeting Monday where they are debating whether or not the 2nd amendment can not be touched in Rockingham County. Thank you! Afterwards, of course, I’ll be shot or in jail. : ) Julia

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