Poem: Murder is Slow

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Murder is Slow

A black man dies on a city street,
the policeman’s knee on his neck,
breath, life taken from him.

There are riots. Of course there are.
A people ignored too long will erupt sooner or later.
A people not heard too long with erupt sooner or later.

This is a truth we ignore,
an ugly truth.
A universal truth we should understand

from our holy books
and the history repeating itself
again and again and again.

People are made to be loved and cared for,
and when we are not, we either die, or erupt.
too often both.

We know this from our holy books.
We preach it from our pulpits.
and yet we are content to ignore it,

avoiding discomfort, a bit here and there.
avoiding conversation, and listening,
hoping somehow we can deny the truth of neglect.

But the poets and the prophets agree with history.
We can continue it ignore them only so long
before the roof falls in.

About this poem

I don’t often get political in my poetry. But what happened this week in Minnesota is not an isolated incident. It is a spiritual failure, of not treating everyone as if they were people of value until we become all “us vs them”. It is a failure of the love we profess. A slow unraveling until, as the poet W. B. Yeats writes “Things fall apart.”

 

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