Poetry: And Somehow, I am still meant to sing of hope

By Ernest Harrison, November 7, 2023

I reach down into my spirit
Searching for words to treat
This wound that has been
Reopened by bullets and hate
And I hear the spoon hit the
Bottom of the carton
Dryly scraping for anything of
Substance to soothe me
There is nothing left.

Another shooting
Another fucking shooting

I take the cardboard container
And I cut it down the side
unfurling the tubing
Into a scroll.
I use it to write upon

And another
And another fucking

I start with words
But before long poetry
Succumbs to onomatopoeia
I am just transcribing
guttural screams and
howls of rage.
That’s all I’ve got left
Because there will be no change.

Not another fucking shooting

How loudly does our country have to tell us
That they don’t care if we live or die
Before we believe them?

Much like the legacy of mass shootings in this country
This poem has no ending
And for that,
like those in power,
who will dust off meaningless words today
And feed them to us until we forget that
this even happened,
Just like them
I make no apologies.

Harrison is an assistant professor of music at CPP and holds a doctorate in choral music. He has been the Music Director and Head of Education and Outreach of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles since 2019. As professor, conductor, and community leader, Harrison leans on his unique knowledge of Music of the African Diaspora, including spirituals, gospel, R&B, Jazz, blues, rock & roll, and hip hop, to advocate for equity and inclusion in choral classroom, on the concert stage, and in the world.


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