All that animated the bodies
were their cell phones,
feeble, if metered, febrillators,
vibrating pockets slouched
in cramp
or release,
sluiced or wadded
with the wrong reds–
the workers stiffly straightening limbs
onto gurneys.

Most simply trembled
with aspen desperation,
like the voice that was surely picked up
by the machines,
but some chimed, knelled, their gamelon toll
far too game
for the silence of boom, shatter, shout, shard,

No one present able
to answer for this.


A draft poem of sorts; I will probably link to Real Toads Open Platform.  I wrote it thinking of the recent mass shooting in Oregon; it was inspired by reading an article about the mass shooting at Virginia Tech.  There are too many in the U.S. at this point to sort them all out.   (Photo is mine–ice candle piece by my husband, Jason Martin. All rights reserved.) 

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11 Comments on “Afterwards”

  1. X Says:

    Yet again.
    We are burying bodies.
    How many more will we bury?

  2. thotpurge Says:

    How many lives will it take, one wonders, for change to be brought in.

  3. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    I wonder how many shootings it will take, before people either become immune to them, or maybe, just maybe, consider it time to institute an effective solution to the problem.
    These kinds of shootings seem to be trending in the States, and what a media feeding frenzy each one gives rise to… I find it all quite sickening.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      The political system in the States is very gerrymandered–with crazily shaped voting districts, meaning a disproportionate amount of power is given to GOP and (to some degree) rural voters. This, plus the money in politics, has made for a certain political gridlock, which doesn’t seem to reflect the popular will. Add to that the apathy of many people, and the obstacles put against voting—it has become a really crazy situation.

      And, of course, the NRA is loaded in all kinds of senses. (That is the gun lobby.) k.

      On Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 8:17 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  4. I have heard from both accidents and shooting how the cell-phones chiming for those that will never pick it up is such an addition to the stress… We had a case of a discotheque arson when I lived in Gothenburg, where 63 people died and around 200 people were injured.. the reason was simply revenge for not being let in.. I still do not understand how we can make murder so very easy. (not to mention all the accidental shootings).

  5. hedgewitch Says:

    Horrific on the real level, as well as the imaginative and artistic one. I will not quote too much for fear of lessening the impact, but ‘aspen desperation’ is such a perfect phrase, as is ‘gamelon’ which I had to look up. I thought you might have been writing about the ‘accidental’ US bombing of the Doctors without Borders hospital in Afghanistan the other day, but this fits both senseless occasions of violence.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      The bombing was/is horrible; unimaginably horrible. I think the US effort to support Afghan fighters is pretty doomed, and trying to support them second-hand seems very ill-fated. I’m certainly not pro-Taliban, but it is hard to imagine how we can do much good in this situation–

      I was not thinking of that in writing the poem, but, of course, there are all kinds of dead bodies holding phones, too many situations for them–

      I hope I did not misspell gamelon. I didn’t check it before hand, and thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment–hard to know how to write about these things. k.

      On Mon, Oct 5, 2015 at 2:11 PM, ManicDDaily wrote:


      • hedgewitch Says:

        Hard to know how, yet you do it very well. I find both instances of violence appalling, but I also see no solution in our current environment of political stalemate. I very much fear our karma is coming to get us as a world power, and that at this point there is little to do except choose not to participate in the evil as much as one can. It doesn’t seem like enough.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        I fear that too. We unthinkingly create such suffering and then expect to be forgiven because ostensibly we didn’t mean it. Pretty scary.

  6. Jim Says:

    I hadn’t thought of the unanswered cell phones chiming.

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