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John-Chris Ward Jun 2020
I’ve imagined killing myself.
It’d be easier.
You know, sorta biting the bullet?
Blowing them a kiss before they shatter my grin,
Can you see it?
Course then, I couldn’t have an open casket funeral
And that’s just plain unAmerican.
My father couldn’t come, my mother wouldn’t allow it,
And my sisters are all uninvited,
Because when black boys bloom we turn blue,
And no one should have to see that
But there’s a bullet for every name,
A ****** for every cop,
And the block is too hot to handle.
I have only ever known freedom as a figment of another nation;
A sensation I’ll never live to feel.
Truth be told,
I’ve already heard what you have planned for my eulogy.
I just knew if I kept listening eventually I’d catch you slipping,
Whispering at crowded tabletops.
As far as I’m concerned,
There are no good cops.
If there were such a thing,
They’d be protesting,
Instead of celebrating the life and times of another dindu nuthin with nothing on em but a degree.
Every fiber of my being is an act of protest, even my joy.
  Jun 2018 John-Chris Ward
I am alive by luck at this point.
I wonder if the gun that will eventually take me has been made.
Whose trigger will bury me.
How many bullets, like a flock of sparrows, will come carry my life to its final bed.
Today, I am alive but there is no law to thank.
If not me, then someone else.
Born into a game of chance we never asked for. Traded diplomas for obituaries. Traded graduation speeches for eulogies. Traded futures for an early grave. Forced to cash in their chips. We don’t want to play anymore.
And this too is eulogy. And this too is prayer. And this too can resurrect the coffin wood back to a tree. Can sing back alive whatever parts of you died with them. Whatever leapt in your throat at yet another headline.
Mourning until you, too, are a thing to mourn.
But we will no longer be martyrs.
We are the rude awakening to politicians who pawned out our safety, who bartered our lives for bribes.
You say “gun reform is not the answer” but all I can see is a bullet rattling like a pinball in an innocent student’s jaw.
You smell like gun smoke and
I can see the AR15 you're holding behind your back and
I guess it's easy to crack jokes about dodging bullets when you're the one firing them.
Give teachers books not bullets:
Kafka isn’t kevlar.
Bronte isn’t bulletproof.
And how sick is it that we must add school shootings to your list of proud american traditions.
Throwing opinions like punches.
How many more have to die before you decide your ego isn’t as important as you think it is?
And I, too, am buried alive
My soggy grave parting its greedy lips.
To you, my bones, when ground into gunpowder and mixed into water, taste like champagne.
My pulse, as thin as an obituary panting beneath sweaty palms, and sure
We are “just kids,”
But you are forgetting we are the next generation
And you autopsy your fists.
Call it reclamatory.
Lately, when asked “how are you?” I respond with a name no longer living.
And who knows if mine will be next
Performed this yesterday in my first poetry slam and won second place :)
The Agèd Hands of Time have reached yet another
toll of the bell.

12 years have passed since I’ve last seen her in this life.
Distance and sickness in our being had robbed us both
of streams of time which passed like a long cold winter
into her death. These lost memories often create over-
exposed and superimposed photo negatives of imaginary
frames of time I desperately imprint to hold tightly in my
heart and mind.

But I still hold tightly in memory to her soft voice on the
phone and pictures of split second frames of physical
time my sister would send me. Many people don’t even
have that.

In this life she loved to mother her three grown children
and flower garden as near as she could to the end. It was
in her nature to nurture her resilient perennial children
and to help make the move easier for her annual foster  
children from a confined existence to a deep soft warm
bed of comfort.

Stamped on my mind is not the faded and worn, bruised
and torn image of her outward shell in the Trauma
Center at age 88, but the indelible inner and outward
image at age 38: a lovely young mama who tucked her
little boy in bed every night with a song and a prayer.
The little boy that is still alive in this man.

The Agèd Hands of Time have reached yet another
toll of the bell.

--Daniel Irwin Tucker
My poem, The Agèd Hands of Time, posted two days ago, works in concert with this poem which I wrote one year ago today.
  Jun 2017 John-Chris Ward
Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to ****** or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.
  May 2017 John-Chris Ward
Jana Andrea
You were not a mistake,
Even though my heart still aches.
Even though you and I are separated
By an infinite number of stars.
Even though we no longer get to touch,
And everything I feel hurts too much.

You were a choice I made,
You are not a mistake.
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