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GUN VIOLENCE BLUES - corrected

GUN VIOLENCE BLUES - corrected

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 own, y’all!
We are out here, out here, out here
ON OUR OWN!” 



Copyright © Emanuel Carter

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