Todays poem is a poem I wrote years ago in college. It was a poem about my relationship with a college friend. When I wrote it, so much of our worlds were changing. We were about a year into school and we were beginning to start to have relationships and grow in a multitude of ways. The reason I chose it for today was because I wrote it in late spring. It was shortly after we sat and watched Columbine unfold from the lounge in our dorms. It was unprecedented and horrific. Being freshmen in college, we might have been the last group of kids not to have to deal with mass shooting drills and such. My friend and I have remained friends over the years and are almost forty years old. I called her this weekend, as I have after almost every one of these tragedies. Unfortunately this time there were two. My friend and I are both poets. She is one of the only people in my life that really follows politics and the news cycle and like myself, we are both empaths. On days when tragedy strikes like it did this weekend, I know she is hurting as much as I am. We have lived through our tragedies and shared them. We’ve had so many joys too. When I read this poem, it reminds me of being young and unaware of all that was to come ahead. One thing I never expected was to be still consoling each other after these mass tragedies. It’s been twenty years. As we talked this weekend, we could only hope in twenty more years this is something we don’t have to console each other about. Twenty years is a long time. Those two kids at the bus stop twenty years ago in this poem, could never imagine that this would be a conversation that we are still having. It should have been one and done. I can’t imagine being a student at Columbine that day yesterday or any of the other days that these events occur or for that matter any of the other places where it has occurred since. The frustration and pain to see this happen over and over again and having to relive that trauma. It’s something we need to fix. I don’t want to have this conversation again, ever, but if in twenty years lawmakers have not been able to find some resolution, I fear the conversations the come. I want to offer my condolence to anyone suffering from losing someone to gun violence; however, we need more than condolences. We need action to stop this from happening. People deserve to feel safe in public places and that should be a right of the people.
Waiting for the 15
The childproof lids are off us again.
We’re feeling older than when
you told me all about the boy who took your virginity,
“He’s in there,” you announce to me
pointing to a bar, as we shiver in the realization
You were no longer a girl.
I, no longer a boy.
The world could spin faster.
Things seemed blurrier that evening.
More blurry than when we used to spin around
in our backyards never thinking
of things like sex and bars. Getting off
on spinning ourselves around, and around, and around.
as we tried to stand up.
In the same way you sounded tonight
when you told me how he made you feel,
the things he whispered to you
just before he sealed the deal.
“I feel so dumb when I’m in love.”
You cover your face with your mittens and smile.
I turn to you, laugh, and say,
“We still spin,
We still collapse.
It’s what we think about while doing it
that makes the world feel different.”