A WRITER'S WIT
My Book World
There would nothing wrong with presenting a book-length collection of anti-gun poetry by itself, but Bullets into Bells increases its power by pairing each poem with a response written by a person who has been deeply affected by such violence. Note the eloquence of these lines from “Heal the Cracks in the Bell of the World,” by poet, Martín Espada.
Now the bells speak with their tongues of bronze.
Now the bells open their mouths of bronze to say:
Listen to the bells a world away.Listen to the bell in the ruins
of a city where children gathered copper shells like beach glass,
and the copper boiled in the foundry, and the bell born
in the foundry says: I was born of bullets, but now I sing
of a world where bullets melt into bells. Listen to the bell
in a city where cannons from the armies of the Great War
sank into molten metal bubbling like a vat of chocolate,
and the many mouths that once spoke the tongue of smoke
form the one mouth of a bell that says: I was born of cannons,
but now I sing of a world where cannons melt into bells (53-4).
Or feel the biting irony of this response by Dan Gross to “The Gun Joke” by Jamaal May.
I’ve got another one:
A Republican hunter who loves guns and a Democrat city slicker who doesn’t are sitting at the local watering hole somewhere in rural America. The bartender, with a warped sense of humor, brings up “gun control” and sits back to watch the sparks fly—and initially they do. Then, as the two get to talking, they realize they actually agree much more than they disagree, especially about expanding Brady background checks to keep guns out of the hands of people they both agree shouldn’t have them, like criminals, domestic abusers, people who are dangerously mentally ill, and terrorists. Then a Congressperson walks into the bar, and the two citizens excitedly share their breakthrough, “Hey, Congressman, guess what! Turns out we’ve found a solution to gun violence that everyone agrees on and will save lives!” The Congressman responds, “Sorry guys, doesn’t matter. The gun industry is paying my tab.”
OK, so this one’s not funny either. But you know what would at least be fun? Imagine if we could write a new ending where the Republican and the Democrat get outraged, decide to say #ENOUGH and to hold this Congressman accountable for placing the interests of the gun industry ahead of our safety. Then, in two years, that Congressman is out of a job and needs to buy his own drinks. That’s the kind of real change that we all can make through our activism (116).
NEXT TIME: My Journey of States-25 Michigan — October 17, 2018