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James R Musgrave

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Gothic Gunshots
by James R Musgrave

Saturday, October 11, 2003

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My daughter is doing some hard time. I hope she gets straight soon. She deserves it.

95° in April, the sun beats in on me,
the week’s not going right this time
students stare at me, disproportioned gazes,
waxing and waning . . . they argue for me
about rap censorship, about sex education,
about women in combat.

My son calls from college . . . “I don’t want to
shock your drawers off, Dad, but Tami and Richard
were arrested for dealing drugs in their house.”

Flashback 31 years . . . I stood at the window
of the nursery, tears in my eyes, amazed . . .
the miracle of life . . . my daughter . . . the feminine side
I could never find in my drunken, drugged years.
She grew up and I grew apart . . . staring into bottles
in darkened hallways and in bars, slowly going mad.

The next day, gunshots slaughter children in a Denver,
suburban high school. Talk of “gothic” and “Goths.”
Children who call themselves the “Trenchcoat Mafia”
threw hand grenades, opened up with sawed-off shotguns
on their fellows, killed themselves inside the library
(next to Poe, next to Melville?). Slain Goths of this era
when we forget our children?

I want to call my daughter, but my hand freezes over the phone.
I want to write another letter, but I write this, instead.
I know she must find her bottom. Is it a gothic bottom?
A symbol of the times? I stare out of the window at a crow
passing over the trees. Several birds follow it, attacking, weaving,
darting, in and out of its flight path. Like the smart bombs in Baghdad,
like the Trenchcoat Mafia, like my drug-dealing, dropout daughter,
loose on America! Gothics all! Even her ten, welfare kids.

“Hey, honey!” My present wife comes in. We are writing another
cyber-generation rhetoric and reader together.
“If my ex can’t get all those kids, and my daughter goes to prison,
do you think we could handle a couple of them?”

She frowns, smiles, and gives me a kiss on the forehead.

“I can’t handle ten kids!”

“Two,” I say, kissing her. “I mean two.”

“Certainly,” she says, and she also looks outside. “It’s been a crazy week, hasn’t it?”

I feel myself entering the crow and taking the variety of blows each bird is giving it. I feel myself melting into a gothic sunset.

“Yes, it certainly has!”

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 1/2/2008
interesting read well done
Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU 4/20/2006

A true picture of life's reality in the "Gothic Gunshots" makes me think and flash back my own. This author's style and fireful words will give the literary community many reasons to be proud.

I salute You, Poet!

Blissful living through a healthy long life.

Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
Reviewed by Vesna Vanessa 1/18/2006
This write wasn't easy was it?..I admire you for sharing..
well done..

Reviewed by sarah playle 12/9/2005
A very emotional write. Thanks for shareing
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 12/28/2004
A truly gothic write, from the heart, Jim.

Reviewed by Kate Clifford 10/13/2003
Thank you for the sharing of your soul and heart. Your strength is incredible and showing well through this write.
Reviewed by Taylor Trenton (Reader) 10/12/2003
Haunting and wonderful poem.
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