“A Few Haiku (41)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


semi-auto god
bestows eucharist of lead
solemn school bells toll



school halls echo with
screams of dying children and
NRA’s black sins



white men with black souls
and guns—God, so many guns–
MAGA paradise



bend them ’til they break
then suck the life out of them
my father’s parenting



my life etched in runes
incomprehensible script
I can’t decipher



creosote bushes
and alkali hardpan
I have no more tears


(Author’s note: some of these pieces were inspired by the recent deadly spate of gun violence in the U.S., including an elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, where nineteen children and two teachers were gunned down by a heavily armed young man who recently purchased AR-15 rifles on his 18th birthday and who had posted on social media his desire to do this act. Reports have now surfaced that police officers responding to the incident chose to wait outside the door because they “didn’t want to get shot.” Welcome to America, where there are more guns than people and more mass-shootings than days in the year…)

“She was Six”

“She was Six”
(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

she was six
and on the wrong side
of a tyrant’s bomb sights
her small broken body
no match for
the shells and the hell
that befell
her country
her blood the price
of freedom
she was six

she was six
and on the wrong corner
of the wrong intersection
at the wrong time
as gang-bangers
threw lead
and fled
as she bled
just a typical night
in a typical city
she was six

she was six
and in the wrong classroom
at the wrong school
as a true patriot
flexed his might
and exercised his 2A right
to murder school children
another day
in the USA
she was six

she was six
and the wrong color
at the wrong border
snatched from her parents
caged like an animal
lost in the system
as racist thugs
praise god and county
and build their wall
one sin at a time
she was six

she was six
and the wrong religion
in the wrong village
her captors didn’t care
she didn’t last long enough
to stain their conscience anyway
all in the name of god
she was six

she was six
and on the wrong side of town
hollow eyes and empty stomach
the manic cackle of inhumanity
the soundtrack of her life
bruised body and soul
this dark alleyway to hell
her only escape
she was six

we have lost our way