By Marilyn Zuckerman
In the old west
the shoot ‘em up takes place in town—
in the old saloon, the brothel
or the boardwalk outside the barbershop—
These days, it can be anywhere
a shopping mall
your office building
a college dorm
the library or on the road.
Not with a Colt 45
but an AK-47 blazing at so many rounds a second,
the shooter—your husband or the boyfriend you
the neighbor whose lawn was soiled by your dog.
There’s the guy who killed his five children
because he was mad at his wife.
Or the quiet fellow you pass every day
who shot up the kids in the schoolyard with an arsenal
he picked up at the local gun show,
whom everyone said kept to himself and was so polite
you’d never imagine—
· · ·
For those killed May 20, 2012 at the Café Racer in the U District, Seattle WA
Gone are the flowers, and gone are the candles, the vigils, the parades and the droves of visitors and friends dropping by. Café Racer is reopening and the television crews and reporters are moving on to the next spectacular shooting that has taken over the front page and the nightly news.
But we will not forget them. They are not collateral damage to us. They were our friends and neighbors. They were a peaceful group of musicians and artists who hung out regularly at the café, and they had names:
Leonard Meuse survived the shooting. Gloria Leonidas was killed downtown.
N.B. The best memorial to them I know is Amy Denio’s, “Friends Gone” on YouTube. The poem, “Shoot ‘em-ups”, is from my book, The Ninth Decade, from Red Dragonfly Press.