“american child” – Poem by normal

Have a good, hard look at America’s poster child! If you feel shock, you haven’t been in tune with the trends. This isn’t reality TV, this is American reality.

Three Worlds One Vision

Four-year-old American child learns to us a machine gun

Four-year-old American child – in the age of the National Rifle Association – learns to use a machine gun
Photo Credit: ABC News Video (January 2014)

My Poetry Corner June 2018 features an excerpt from the poem “american child” by normal. Raised in Passaic, New Jersey, normal is a poet and registered nurse now retired and living in Saugerties, New York.

As a young poet in the early 1960s, he began reading his work at the Rafio Café in Greenwich Village, frequented by Beat poets and writers. Among the poets who influenced normal’s sensibilities is the American poet, e.e. cummings (1894-1962), whose use of low-case letters and minimal punctuation he emulates.

The following excerpts come from normal’s chapbooks, Blood on the Floor (1999) and American Child (2001).

His poem “blood on the floor” brings to mind America’s powerlessness to end mass shootings, stealing the future of our children.

don’t slip

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17 thoughts on ““american child” – Poem by normal

    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      I’ve read the article. There are two highways in BC (Canada) where so many native women have disappeared, they are titled “the highway of tears.” I believe that all instances of violence are indeed related. The Earthian creature is violent by nature, sadistically so – there’s no denying that. If it can’t kill other people, usually our of fear of reprisal, it takes it out in sports such as hunting, fishing, and of course “organized” and institutionalized sports such as football, hockey, basketball. There is a saying in Canada: “I went to see the fights and a hockey game broke out.” The violence is denied, justified and praised, depending on how it is expressed.

      Reply
    2. Sha'Tara Post author

      I meant to add that Earthian violence is a global thing, not only an American thing. Americans just glorify and advertise it more.

      Reply
  1. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Good share Sha’Tara. Powerful work
    Reminds me of
    “Close The Coal House Door”
    (Written by Alex Glasgow: British Folk Singer & Socialist. At a time when there was a British coal industry. A reflection on the hardship of the miners. The verse which mentions ‘bairns’ (a northern and Scottish word for children) is a reference to the Aberfan disaster of 21st October 1966 when an ill-maintained mountain of coal slurry avalanched and buried half of a street and a school full of under 10 year olds 116 children and 28 adults died)

    Close the coalhouse door, lad
    There’s blood inside
    Blood from broken hands and feet
    Blood that’s dried of pitblack meat
    Blood from hearts that know no beat
    Close the coalhouse door, lad
    There’s blood inside

    Close the coalhouse door, lad
    There’s bones inside
    Mangled, splintered piles of bones
    Buried ‘neath a mile of stones
    Not a soul to hear the groans
    Close the coalhouse door, lad
    There’s bones inside

    Close the coalhouse door, lad
    There’s bairns inside
    Bairns that had no time to hide
    Bairns who saw the blackness slide
    Bairns beneath the mountainside
    Close the coalhouse door, lad
    There’s bairns inside

    Close the coalhouse door, lad
    And stay outside
    Geordie’s standing at the dole
    And Mrs Jackson, like a fool
    Complains about the price of coal
    Close the coalhouse door, lad
    There’s blood inside
    There’s bones inside
    There’s bairns inside
    So stay outside

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks Roger. Another powerful work, as so many through history yet they don’t learn. Round and round they go. Another powerful song that demonstrates how nothing changes: Where have all the flowers gone? (Pete Seeger, 1985, with additional lyrics by Joe Hickerson to make it a round: Where have all the flowers gone…young girls picked them everyone…where have all the young girls gone…gone to young men everyone…where have all the young men gone…gone for soldiers everyone…where have all the soldiers gone…gone to graveyards everyone…where have all the graveyards gone…gone to flowers everyone. There is a key though, that can change the pattern, break the mold, and each one of us possesses it but either we do not know of it; we do not believe it can work; we don’t want the pattern broken; we’re all waiting for someone, anyone, to do it for us…

      Reply
      1. Sha'Tara Post author

        Yes indeed. If one goes through life thinking there is nothing that can be done by one individual then nothing will be attempted. Yet we have so many examples of individuals who changed the course of history (for better or worse) because they dared.

  2. sherazade

    Con il nostro nuovo governo di destra per non dire fascista è razzista siamo davvero molto preoccupati e questo bambino con la mitraglietta Spero che non sia di esempio ai nostri nuovi governanti.
    Sherabientot grazie

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Shera. Translated: With our new right-wing not to say fascist government, we are really very worried and this child with the sub-machine gun I hope it will not be an example to our new rulers.

      At this point in time, politically and socially speaking, I sense there are no good news for anyone, anywhere in the world. There is a turning as our civilization “implodes” all around us, whether in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa or Far East. The pressures are mounting with population, resource exploitation, climate change and a technology co-opted by greedy billionaire elites. Our governments, whether “democratic”, communist or in various stages of encroaching fascism are but puppets of the rich masters and this guarantees that nothing will change until the pressures cause a bursting and we find ourselves surrounding by currently unthinkable violence including wars, genocides, famines, massacres and rampant diseases. The future of man is not terminal but it is very dark indeed. The greatest culprits are those in remaining democracies who still have the power to choose better, more compassionate leaders but in keeping with history, will not. So we who are at the end our our life’s run and who worked so hard to prevent this, find our personal peace even in the knowing how the future will unfold and give this earth a sad goodbye…

      Translated:  questo punto nel tempo, politicamente e socialmente parlando, sento che non ci sono buone notizie per nessuno, in qualsiasi parte del mondo. C’è una svolta mentre la nostra civiltà ‘implode’ intorno a noi, sia nelle Americhe, in Europa, in Medio Oriente, in Africa o in Estremo Oriente. Le pressioni stanno aumentando con la popolazione, lo sfruttamento delle risorse, i cambiamenti climatici e una tecnologia cooptata da avide élite miliardarie. I nostri governi, siano essi ‘democratici’, comunisti o in vari stadi di invasione del fascismo non sono che burattini dei ricchi padroni e questo garantisce che nulla cambierà fino a quando le pressioni non provocheranno uno scoppio e ci troveremo circondati da violenze attualmente impensabili tra cui guerre, genocidi, carestie, massacri e malattie dilaganti. Il futuro dell’uomo non è terminale ma è davvero molto buio. I più grandi colpevoli sono quelli nelle democrazie rimanenti che hanno ancora il potere di scegliere i leader migliori, più compassionevoli ma in armonia con la storia, non lo faranno. Quindi noi che siamo alla fine della nostra vita e che abbiamo lavorato così duramente per impedirlo, troviamo la nostra pace personale anche nel sapere come si svilupperà il futuro e dare a questa terra un triste addio …

      Reply
  3. Phil Huston

    Ah, the tragedies of the Earthians. The biggest tragedy of Earthians is blaming. Devices, ideologies, politicians, left, right, your god, my god, no god. The trouble with Earthians is evil, sick, demented, easily misled citizenry. Violence is a cultural disease. The solution to a mentality of eliminating “them”. Fix that. At the core of or people. Teach the world the sing. One person at a time. Violence is a component of darkness. Stopping it in its tracks is the only solution.

    Reply
    1. Sha'Tara Post author

      Oh Phil, I so totally agree with you in this comment! I’ll quote this part: ” Teach the world the (to?) sing. One person at a time. Violence is a component of darkness. Stopping it in its tracks is the only solution.”

      I believe, having proven it to myself and knowing I’m no better than anyone else, nor special, that the cure for endemic violence lies within everyone of us. The trick is to ferret it out and put it to work with our mental immune system. To accomplish that, until something better is offered, I offer the practice of compassion. Before we sit down to agree or disagree, let’s all go out there and do that, just to see what happens.

      Thanks for your comment, Phil.

      Reply

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