[35] The Oldest Part of the City, A Smooth Stone, Mary Shanley

The Oldest Part of the City

 

Sometimes, if you lay very still,
you can feel the web tremble.

With the multiple corpses
we drag around inside us,

I was wearying, and then
the air changed, and I was
in motion,

Take me to the oldest part of the city,
where there are faded names of casinos

and loan sharks on the windows.
Where there is one greasy spoon among

a scarce population of people for whom
there is nothing to be done. Faces, hair

and clothing are all from the distant past.
There are whispers and murmurs
among the remnants.

Take me to the oldest part of the city,
to the Four Queens Casino,

where I can dialogue with my dreams;
where I can pretend to be a card shark;

where the ash on one of the heavily made up,
senior’s cigarette, is one inch long

Take me to the oldest part of the city,
where there is no difference between you and me.

But, how then, will I know who you are to me?
There are some things that nobody knows.

It is all hidden in the oldest part of the city.

 

 

A Smooth Stone

 

Put a smooth stone in your pocket
and when you touch it remember

the waterfall splashing at Jefferson
Market Garden, remember the Japanese
Garden in Golden Gate Park.

Remember to take time to sit
in quietude and let the serenity

wash over you; wash you clean
from the violence of mass murder
and domestic terrorism.

Put a smooth stone in your pocket
and remember how Mitch McConnell,

the leader of the Senate, refuses to bring
a gun check bill to a vote. He’s been sitting

on it since the beginning of the year.
NRA Mitch, how can you sleep, knowing

that innocent Americans are being
slaughtered in the streets, in schools,
in churches, in discos, in shopping centers?

Put a smooth stone in your pocket
and trust that you will travel safely

from your home to the grocery store
and back home again.
Put a smooth stone in your pocket and keep
breathing when you imagine yourself being shot
as you walk down the street.

Domestic terrorism is exploding in the mind of America.
No one is paranoid for thinking they could
be shot as they simply go about their lives.

El Paso, Texas, formerly one of the safest
cities in America, has lost twenty two

souls to a wildman shooter who wrote
white nationalistic manifesto before
he began shooting into Walmart
shopping center.

The shooter in Dayton, Ohio, just hours
after the El Paso shooting, killed nine
souls, one of them, his sister. No motive
has been attributed to this mass murder

Put a smooth stone in your pocket
and when you touch it, call your congressman,
your senator and tell them ENOUGH gun

violence in America. They must act to curtail
accessibility to guns. Our country has become
a deadly place to live.

Put a smooth stone in your pocket and hope that 45
will be removed from office on election day, 2020.

He is spewing hatred for those who are “other,” and
is responsible for inciting hatred in unstable minds.

The minds of the shooters and, unfortunately,
the shooters to come.

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