The Roof (Reprise)

Up here
on the roof,
I am tall,
taller than all,
at the apex:
not of height,
nor of stature;

just here
at the edge
where anything
is possible:
creativity,
destruction,
enlightenment,
apostasy;
whatever I choose
begins up here
at the edge
of heaven and hell

where God waits,
and angels watch;
where birds soar
without awareness
of my struggle,
or my questions,
or my potential,
good or bad;

below, a community
ekes out its
existence,
parading
up and down
the streets
and avenues,
with no inkling
of what comes
next;

life in
pieces, its
very blood spilled
on the macadam
of tomorrow.

©2017 Steven Barto

The above is a revised version of my initial poem The Roof. Something was missing. Then it hit me: This is a commentary on the increased gun violence in America. It is not an anti-gun poem. It is not an anti-Second Amendment poem. It is an annotation on an extremely prevalent and entirely serious problem. American citizens are killing each other at a rate higher than in any other industrialized nation. We’re using every imaginable weapon and method, from bludgeoning to strangulation; from stabbing to poisoning. We just happen to be using GUNS at an alarming rate. The closing stanza uses the phrase “its very blood spilled on the macadam of tomorrow.” THIS is about gun violence.

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2 thoughts on “The Roof (Reprise)

  1. Thanks Wally. This poem came to me in a sudden rush of thought and emotion last night. It’s not meant to be fatalistic, nor am I up on the roof wondering if my life is worth living. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. This piece is a culmination of not only all I’ve been through and all I’ve considered at various key points, but it is meant to reflect what many people today (the youth, the abused, the addicted, the confused, the enlightened) face when they take a minute to ponder and feel and consider rather than just drive around following the guy in front of them. Bless you for your feedback.

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