You don’t stumble across such things very often these days, particularly when the poet is one of those “MFAs in Creative Writing.”
(Whatever did Kafka and Rilke do without such things…?)
But technically, this is impressive indeed.
I suspect this unfashionably formal poem will be rapidly and heavily anthologized, and even make its way into some curricula, because not only is it uncharacteristically accomplished but it, unfortunately, genuflects at all the right (I mean, left) moments.
I left a comment, the essence of which will be familiar to long time 5FF readers:
An exceptionally fine poem — a rarity these days — with a flawed premise.
America’s militarized police are a disgrace; like police everywhere, they are too often time-serving bureaucrats, but with guns. However, in America, they seem not to have gotten the message that RoboCop was supposed to be satire.
That said, the idea that individuals are being shot by cops “just because of the color of their skin” and that hair color (or eye color) is an apt metaphor for skin color, is something out of Sesame Street — or, in the latter case, cruel Maoist child abuse disguised as a progressive social experiment. (And praised as such by the same people who are forever bullying us about “bullying.”)
Race is not just a social construct. Ask sickle cell anemia (if you could.) If it were such, then surely forensic anthropology is no more than modern-day phrenology and should be condemned, no?
I’m just a lowly Canadian (who wishes Michael Moore would stop telling lies about us, btw.) But if you’ll permit another outsider’s perspective…
“Always glad to help. The answer is that if you account for one obvious cultural difference–the larger black population in the United States–the United States of America’s murder rate is pretty much the same as ours, despite the huge disparity in handgun ownership. Black Americans are 13% of the U.S. population and commit over half of America’s homicides.
“Follow that last link and you’ll see that, according to the FBI at least, the non-black U.S. population of 244 million committed 5,447 murders in 2001. (That’s not counting the statistical outlier of Sept. 11, of course.) The Canadian government doesn’t break down its figures by race, but the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics’ 2000 figures show 542 homicides in Canada–a typical figure–amongst about 28 million Canadians. Our murder rate for the whole populace is 87% of the rate amongst U.S. non-blacks. If you were to try and establish a non-black Canadian murder rate by removing the negligible number of Canadian blacks from the numerator and the denominator, the resulting rate would certainly be lower than 87%, but not by more than a couple of points.
“Of course, if you’re determined not to believe “cultural differences” count for anything, none of this is relevant. Still, the stats are right there in (cough, cough) black and white. To me it looks very much as if factor A, the difference in ethnic makeup, massively outweighs factor B, the difference in gun policy. Damian’s not wrong to bring up factor B, but doesn’t mention factor A at all. I thought someone ought to.”