This Day Our Daily Dead

This Day Our Daily Dead
                     after Naomi Shihab Nye

We wonder and worry what it will take for
our country women and men to feel again

this tender gravity, this pull of and toward
kindness, the way we did when we were

very young children. We do not need our
passports, we need not travel beyond our

borders, giving ourselves this day our daily
dead as we do, rarely really seeing them

though, protected as we agree to be from the
truth of what we do and who we are. Twenty

first-graders are not enough, yet another
unarmed black man or ambushed cop is not

enough, concert and movie goers and dancers
are not enough, a shopper, bus driver and

landscaper, still not enough, high school
students, not enough. We don’t know if it will

ever be time to look at the images no one wants
to see because they’re too disturbing, unless

they’re broken-or-burned-beyond-recognition
un-American bodies, but our relentless refusal

to look deeply at what’s disturbing is itself
disturbing. Our terrified turning away from

what is traps us ever more tightly in it, as if
that ever-growing malignancy will on its own

dissipate and disappear if we make believe it’s
not there, even though we feel its pressure

within our hearts every moment. Peek-a-boo, it
says. How much more of me do you need? How

much bigger do I need to be before you admit
I’m part of you, and you have the will to do

what has to be done to remove me, before the
lost voice of that vulnerable child within you

is truly able to remember and say, all gone?
How much more? Will you ever be enough?

Note: After Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Kindness” – especially “Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness / you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho / lies dead by the side of the road.”

Copyright © 2018 by Reggie Marra. From Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed (September 2018).

Longing for Leadership in America

Longing for Leadership in America

Early on in more or less
healthy childhood she lives
as the central character in a
magical world until she
meets others who also think
they’re central characters,

and she begins to sense that her
point of view is not the only one
and that she can play other roles and
understand others’ rules, and then

she learns to play with the rules and roles
themselves, to see beyond what seems to
be given, to reflect on herself and others,
to wonder what if,
and to embrace the notion
that she not only need not fear or try to change or
kill those whose skin, hair, genitals, eyes, language,
food, music, interests, beliefs and laughter differ
from hers,
but that it’s good to embrace, learn
from, share, and fully and freely be with
them in a way that broadens and deepens
both without diminishing either.

Another way to say this is that she and others can
recognize, respect, wonder at and love each other
in increasingly more comprehensive, balanced and
complex ways that invite and allow a shift in
identity from   me  to some of us         to
      all              of   us  to all    that     is      and
the good news is that me, some of us
and all of us remain and expand within
her embodiment of all that is.

She still eats, sleeps, goes to work and the bathroom
and enjoys chocolate chip cookies and kale. She finds
it easier to embrace compassion and empathy for herself
and others.
Killing, abuse, harassment, hatred, bigotry
and insult become increasingly troublesome and

She meets other women and men who live this way
and feels safer around them.

And she observes that widening her embrace
tends to be more difficult amid
absolute certainty.

Copyright © 2018 by Reggie Marra. From Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed. Forthcoming, September 2018.

Revisiting “What You Should Worry About at Night”

Revisiting “What You Should Worry About at Night”

  1. Frighteningly Ignorant and/or Dishonest Words
    from a, Like, Very Stable Genius

They’re bringing drugs.
They’re bringing crime.
They’re rapists.
He’s not a war hero.
He’s a war hero because he was captured.
I like people that weren’t captured.
I know more about ISIS
than the generals do.
Believe me.
Now this poor guy,
you ought to see this guy.
I would bring back waterboarding,
and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse
than waterboarding.
If she gets to pick her judges,
nothing you can do, folks.
Although the Second Amendment people −
maybe there is,
I don’t know.
He’s the founder of ISIS.
He’s the founder of ISIS.
He’s the founder.
He founded ISIS.
I would say the co-founder
would be crooked Hillary Clinton.

  1. Like, Really Smart: Found Poem #5

throughout my life,
my two greatest assets have been
mental stability and
being, like, really smart.
Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard
and, as everyone knows, went down in flames.
I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..
….to President of the United States (on my first try).
I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius
….and a very stable genius at that!



  1. “Frighteningly Ignorant and/or Dishonest Words from a, Like, Very Stable
| by Karen Yourish, Larry Buchanan and Alicia Parlapiano. Accessed August 29, 2016, January 6, 2017, February 13, 2018 and June 7, 2018.

  1. “Like, Really Smart: Found Poem #5” health | by Emily Stewart. Accessed January 6, 2018 and February 13, 2018.

Copyright © 2018 by Reggie Marra. From Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed (forthcoming, September 2018).

Immediately Assume

Immediately Assume

Ex-U.S. Army soldier and security
guard Timothy McVeigh parks
a rented Ryder truck containing
a bomb made of agricultural
fertilizer, diesel fuel, and other
chemicals in front of the
Alfred P. Murrah Federal
Building in downtown
Oklahoma City. He exits the
vehicle, locks the door, and
heads towards another car.
He ignites one timed fuse, then
a second. At precisely 9:02 a.m.
the bomb explodes, reducing a
third of the building to rubble.
Dozens of cars are incinerated
and more than 300 nearby buildings
are damaged or destroyed. The
death toll is 168, including
19 children, with several hundred
more injured. It is the worst act
of homegrown terrorism in the
nation’s history.
As the attack
comes on the heels of the World Trade
Center bombing in New York two
years earlier, the    media    and
many Americans
it is the handiwork
of Middle Eastern

Acknowledgement:  | Accessed December 6, 2017 and February 12, 2018.

Copyright © 2018 by Reggie Marra. From Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed (forthcoming, September 2018).

Going Home

Going Home

Near Kirkuk
five soldiers watch
or work
while two wheel
the blood-soaked
gurney from the
inflated O.R. The
sergeant’s leg
and discarded, time
will tell if
as well.

Acknowledgement: New York Times Magazine, “The Wounded,” by Johnny Dwyer. March 27, 2005, pp. 24+.  Photographs by Lynsey Addario/Corbis. This poem first appeared in This Open Eye: Seeing What We Do (2006).

Copyright © 2018 by Reggie Marra. From Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed (forthcoming, September 2018).



Two police officers sit in their patrol car
in Brooklyn and are shot point-blank and killed
by a man who travels from Baltimore vowing
to kill officers. The man commits suicide with
the same gun. The officers, Wenjian Liu and
Rafael Ramos are in the car near Myrtle and
Tompkins Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant in
the shadow of a housing project when Ismaaiyl
Brinsley walks up to the passenger-side window,
assumes a firing stance and shoots several rounds
into the heads and upper bodies of the officers,
who never draw their weapons. The shooter then
flees down the street and onto the platform of a
nearby subway station, where he kills himself as
officers close in. The police recover a silver semi-
automatic handgun. Brinsley has a rap sheet of
crimes that includes robbery and carrying a
concealed gun, and is believed to have shot his
former girlfriend near Baltimore before traveling
to Brooklyn. He makes statements on social media
suggesting that he plans to kill police officers and
is angered about the Eric Garner and Michael Brown
cases. Authorities in Baltimore send a warning that he
has made these threats, but it is received at the same
time as the killings. The shootings, the chase, the
suicide and the failed bid to save the lives of the
officers turn a busy commercial intersection on the
Saturday before Christmas into a scene of pandemonium.
The city has seen some 300 killings so far this year,
a number so low as to be unheard-of two decades ago.


Acknowledgement: | by Benjamin Mueller and Al Baker. Accessed November 30, 2017 and February 21, 2018.

Copyright © 2018 by Reggie Marra. From Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed (forthcoming, September 2018).


Sunny December New England Morning

Sunny December New England Morning

The children walk across the sunlit parking lot,
long December shadows falling to their left,
most, as rehearsed, hold their hands on the
shoulders of the child in front of them, some
cry, some look confused, some have their
heads down as two uniformed officers and
two plain-clothed women guide them away
from the building. The adults don’t yet know
the enormity of the day and while the children
know less, some are young enough to feel the
grownups’ discomfort amid the chaos of sirens,
lights, shouting and guns. Time will pass and a
Florida woman, who believes the parking lot
scene and all the events of this day are a hoax
will be charged with making death threats
against a parent of one of the twenty first-
graders killed. Other survivors will be harassed
by Americans who argue the event was staged
to erode support for the 2nd Amendment, and a
Connecticut man will be charged for allegedly
phoning in a threat to the new Sandy Hook
Elementary School which replaced the school
that was demolished after the massacre.

Acknowledgement: |Accessed November 17, 2017. Photograph by Shannon Hicks / Newtown Bee via Associated Press)

Copyright © 2018 by Reggie Marra. From Killing America: Our United States of Ignorance, Fear, Bigotry, Violence and Greed (forthcoming, September 2018).