January 2008 / Volume Eight / Issue One
Jason Floyd Williams
a year of violence, 2007.

It’s mid-October & the current
murder count in Cleveland
is 103.
The most recent additions
were 2 little girls drowned
in a bath-tub by
their depressed mother.
A few others that stick-out—
like poison-tipped, Amazon arrows—
in my memory are:
a young cop shot 1 mile down my road;
a fireman that flipped-out &
shot 3 of his neighbors
on the 4th of July;
a middle-aged woman killed
by some teenagers speeding away
from the cops downtown;
& tons of kids.
Little kids.

Each death stays in the news spotlight
for a couple days & then they’re
replaced by the next murder.

It’s a rotten & terrible assembly-line.

Whatever happened to the
good ol days when people would
get angry—geyser-spouting angry—
& would, say like my Great Uncle Bob,
take it out on machines.
Under a scorching, mid-summer, red-omelet sun
in the early 50s, Bob shoved his fist,
w/out thought, into a threshing machine
to yank out stalks of stuck wheat.

He didn’t turn-off the machine &
the spinning blades waited for
his left hand’s fingers.

He wore a silver hook on that hand
until it frightened
a little girl.
After that, he simply put
a white sock over
the mangled stump.

And when he felt that
geyser of anger rising in his chest,
that swell of hate rush forward, all
he had to do was look
at his hand
& remember.