Poem for October Shootings

Another autumn comes
to get the trees stoned,
to squeeze your hand
with thin and late light
a little on this street
that’s shaded by all these
ancient sycamores. You love
the scraggy sounds
those giant leaves
make when, dried-out,
they fall, and run like rats
down the street when wind
comes around that corner
that’s actually a dive bar.
The soul spittoon’s only windows
are narrow glass cinder blocks,
castle slits, so you’re spared
from seeing the dead/dying
who sit in there and watch
a small television
in the moist underworld,
who sometimes shoot each other
dead-for-real just outside the door
of this cave establishment,
because someone else just said
what they were already
thinking about themselves
in a cruelly honest way.

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How Will You Ever Get Out of This?

Well, there’s a roughly one in three hundred chance
you’ll die by a bullet in an assault.
It’s one in a hundred your own hand
will get there first. Suicide trumps the gun.
Beware of dog? Beware of others. Beware yourself.
Your chances of winning the biggest lottery
are well over ten million to one.
Have a nice day. Be kind and careful with others,
and especially yourself.