I’m tired of singing hope,
one more step in a weary world.
I’m tired of lighting that one small candle
asking people once more to think,
to empathize, to step outside of their world
where things don’t happen
and we called him a fag today but we’re not homophobic,
we didn’t really think he was gay,
he was just acting like some girl.
I’m tired of painting pictures to convince people
that violence is serious,
that abuse is serious,
–not the stabbing in the paper,
not the man who killed his ex-girlfriend
(but they were fighting and he was upset
and that’s murder, anyway, the article didn’t say a thing
about “domestic violence,” whatever that is)
not the stranger who hid in the bushes
but the girl who sits next to you in fourth period
with her arm in a sling
the man who ate at your lunch table
he’s a great guy, a wonderful buddy
but his wife wears turtlenecks in August.
The woman next door who likes the notion of supporting a Korean church
(because diversity is good, and racism evil)
but hates those dirty Mexicans moving in
because they steal things.
I’m tired of facing into the infinite darkness.
I want to pick up a brush and paint, something beautiful,
and forget that somewhere, somehow,
someone is dying.
I want to paint something besides bruises and bodies
falling over the balcony
as the police do nothing.
And I don’t want this to be a song of hope
because it isn’t.
I want to walk away.
I want to forget this ever happened
how the girl in my last class
flipped her hair out of her eyes
and said, “But the police never do anything.
When my dad tried to kill my mom,”
then went back to gossiping
about the boy in third period.
I want to walk out of that world
and into sanity
a place where these things don’t happen,
where I can paint the soft billowing of milkweeds
and forget that somewhere, somehow
someone is dying,
and someone is denying
that anything happened at all.