Danny Rohrbough 4/20/1999

Crime Poetry by Jonah Finn

Writing this, I was reminded of how Seamus Heaney’s career is filled with elegies for those who died in the Troubles; the same might be done for those dead from all violence–in this case, school shootings.

Danny Rohrbough 4/20/1999

God is the sidewalk where her son was shot,
where he bled out and died and stretched as if asleep
near the steps back up to the school.
His mother, she wanted something to keep,
something other than the gathering pool
from his knee and the gorge in his chest
and how his heart stopped before he could turn,
never knowing the pavement rose up to his rest.
(He was left there for a day in case there was more,
more bombs or guns and all the other dead,
and at some point it snowed at least, cold on cold head.)
She had those slabs jackhammered out and taken away
and…

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16 replies »

  1. This is really powerful, Tim and shows the power of lamentation. In the first two weeks of the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster/atrocity in London each of the families were given the opportunity to pay tribute to the one that they had lost. It has now set the scene for the rest of the inquiry in a most powerful way. Every story is now a human one.

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  2. It is insane that a poem like this can be written, that such things could happen & continue to happen. Watching the two boys Harris & Klebold in their dusters & shades, behave like they are from an action movie should be something we laugh at for how ridiculous they look, but of course the context of their horrific deed make the photos bring horripilation head to toe, instead.

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  3. …….& even more awful is that it was less a school shooting than a failed bombing; they hoped to blow up the lunchroom & kill upwards of 600-800 people. I’m just thankful I found meaning back at that age with reading & writing, & that my depression didn’t look towards power or violence at all.

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  4. They must be blamed if only for the victims to have something to release the pressure of their anguish, but it is a systemic, societal problem. Too many thoughts & prayers & not enough…? well I don’t know, enough meaning perhaps?

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  5. yeah it’s said they both probably saw the live TV coverage of Waco & Oklahoma City bombing, & Hollywood BS & the rest also made them want fame, but I can’t blame the news or Oliver Stone (they loved Natural Born Killers) for what they did. it is a meaning thing at bottom, & how that’s made & sustained outside of religion I guess, & against the cynical reality of How the World Works that’s obvious to any teenager

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  6. It’s a tough one: how to justify violent media after this when what does it do other than offer an hour or so entertainment but can in the exception lead to this when coupled with other systemic problems? I have no answer just thinking out loud. Entertainment just doesn’t seem worth it, does it?

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  7. no, just as art & tech advances aren’t worth the wars that sometimes make them possible. but I can’t blame Stone especially since his movie was about how shitty the media is with handling violence. Educated thoughtfully, you’d know the difference between glorifying violence & Stone’s movie (or Clockwork Orange), & the glorifying shitty stuff would be less. It’s the meaning thing you mentioned

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  8. ….reminds me: I’m reading a book on WW1 Vienna, when cinemas were just beginning to boom. Goofball Viennese blame juvenile delinquency on the violent movies teenagers were seeing, since violent movies & using them as an excuse started immediately. Strangely no one blamed juvenile delinquency on the ongoing war that emptied the city of those kids’ fathers, since that wd mean maybe they shouldn’t be away at war, maybe there shouldn’t be a war….

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