What Do You Call It?

What Do You Call It?

In the weeks following the towers’ transformation into rubble,
a distraught mom from the land of the Chairman, the Boss and
the Turnpike, calls the tv talk show from across the river and
asks something like, I mean, what do you call it when you’re

afraid to take your kids out for pizza because you have to worry
about getting blown up now? What do you call
that? and the
live guest in the studio – the thoughtful, eloquent, dark-skinned
man who looks like the hijackers, but better groomed and dressed,

who seems not overly identified with his skin, religion, ethnicity
or gender, but with honesty and clarity, as incredible as that may
sound to those of us who choose to embrace our militant
ignorance, begins his informed, compassionate, truthful

response that honors the mom’s distress, with the words, Israel –
you call that Israel,
and he is right, if not complete, in this 2001
autumn of Americans’ being given, and refusing to embrace yet
another opportunity to begin to wake up. And now his response is

all the more partial, perhaps truly false, as Americans experience
and resolutely continue to commit themselves to refusing to see that
what you call the fearful Jersey mom’s inquiry is the United States
and those she needs to fear look not like that thoughtful, compassionate

well-dressed-hijacker-look-alike, but like those tired, perpetually perpetrating
victims gazing back through the spittle-ridden mirrors above their bathroom
sinks and the narrow, castrated bull-shitting wealthy white men and women
in the representative, senate and white houses, who, despite their majority

and relentless, ongoing condemnation of what their sponsors don’t want,
and relentless, ongoing refusals to acknowledge they’re committed to
themselves, their wallets and their party and not to their country or,
God forbid, the planet and everyone on it, continue to discover how

much easier it is to condemn and destroy than to imagine or create, and
who continue to guarantee the bad guys with guns can have as many
as they want, and the people they’re only able to wound, not kill, will have
anemic health insurance or none when they’re prostrate at the emergency

altar in the cathedral of St. Insurance of Dividends or St. Pharmaceutical of
Profit, party of Lincoln my ass. And while it could be the pizza place, it is
the elementary school, the night club, the high school, the outdoor concert, the
university, the former workplace – anywhere in the land of the free-ish for some,

those mythical good guys with guns, the only ones who can stop real bad guys
with guns, never seem to hang out, or if they do, are smart enough to duck and run
for their lives like everyone else because they need to work enough hours to pay their
premiums and deductibles for the next time the wrong to bear arms hits the fans

or the students or the dancers or the teachers or the ex-co-workers or anyone
going about her day, while those visionless, castrated bull-shitting wealthy white
men and women in the representative, senate and white houses pluck their violins
and ignore the looming iceberg and cold depths that await in the dark night ahead.


Copyright © 2017 by Reggie Marra


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