Senseless is–
always; young black man killed
in Mississippi.
Never hurt nobody
with that smile.
It stretches, in the pic,
to his eyes, even his hair grins.
One round to the head
all it took,
three guys who also took
his car.
A week before Christmas,
twenty-five feels just
an infant, lost star, hope, son.


Sorry to be so grim so close to Christmas.  An acquaintance of one of my daughters murdered in Mississippi.  Graduate student at Ole Miss.  Here’s the story.  Too too sad. 

Odd to write a poem about something so serious and stick to 55 words as I’ve done here–but the exercise, in this case for the G-man, enforces a kind of discipline, which I hope is good to express these sad feelings without excess sentimentality. 

Hope to post happier things in the coming days.  

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14 Comments on “Senseless”

  1. claudia Says:

    this is so senseless indeed…and so terrible for his parents, fam and co students as well.. over here they killed a man in the subway a bit ago cause he wanted to help someone… others just because they’re at the wrong time at the wrong place… or looked at someone in the wrong way…it makes me sick..

  2. ayala Says:

    Senseless and heartbreaking.

  3. Steve King Says:

    Senseless is the only word. Your fitting this into the constraints of 55 words worked to distill the many emotions into a strong and focused personal experience for me. Senseless in the detail of this particular event, senseless in the larger view of a world in which life and goodness can be so tenuously held.
    Steve K.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    Ugh. It’s odd how words bring these things home to us–I immediately thought of ‘In the midst of life we are in death,’ as if that is the eternal lesson, and not the hard cold hearts of killers, and other violent criminals. You use each word to maximum effect, and the result is a sense of our own fragility–that innocence, goodness must exist for their own sake and are no kind of defense–in fact, I often think they attract the evil-doers. Senseless is the perfect title.

  5. brian miller Says:

    ugh. scary…and hits a bit close to home as well…a round to the head and they stole his car…a sad world we live in at times….

  6. janehewey Says:

    This is a great example of what can be accomplished in 55. Your opening lines are especially powerfully in their breaks and punctuation. There is no doubt that senseless murder is one of the saddest things that can happen in our world.
    Your accompanying picture is really stunning, karin.

  7. I admire your tribute to this young man and the tragedy of his murder. He deserves such recognition no matter the season. I’m sorry for his family. Hope your holidays are happy, nonetheless.

  8. Jamie Dedes Says:

    I think you did right by the young man and the situation. How awful for everyone, K.

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