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GUN VIOLENCE BLUES They built a gun-violence memorial in a god-forsaken corner of my struggling city A collaborative effort of a few academics, a handful of neighbors, a preacher or two, and some interested parties with a mission and a grant, a willing grad student, not much more than that It was a soul-searching journey and a harrowing process – forms and permissions, research procedures, long-delayed evening meetings, the scouting for a site among derelict properties, a preliminary design, an eventual installation, a degree soon conferred, the grieving still sad, the shooters still bad, the community had! And shortly thereafter, back to the suburbs, back to the exurbs, back to academia, armed with self-serving stories about heroic interventions and making a difference, their skills and tax dollars, their lofty educations, their political connections and faith in the future denied to the community where they would matter the most, and the beleaguered population which, in lieu of resources only the fortunate can bring, got a memorial project and a feel good event before more shots were fired there later that spring! Several months later at a gut-wrenching funeral for yet another lost soul, the exasperated preacher whose cadences were linked to the moaning and swaying of a tabernacle choir, sought answers from The Lord, who had nothing to say! But the following summer a gritty, sweating singer, who somehow knew Syracuse much better than The Lord, used the trance-like rhythm of a walking bass blues with a mournfully melodic lead guitar line to drop a verifiable truth on the crowd at Clinton Square: “Don’t be asking where He is, now! We’re on our, y’all! We are out here, out here, out here ON OUR OWN!”

Copyright © | Year Posted 2022

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