Daily Archives: June 2, 2016

Harambe

Harambe:

a Swahili word meaning
pull together
let us pull together
let us pull together as a people

Harambe
I learned it when I was a kid
I read it in a National Geographic
way back before Rupert Murdoch bought it
I read it in an article about Kenya
replete with requisite stereotyped photographs
Harambe
a rallying cry during the struggle for Kenyan independence
Harambe
pull together
let us pull together
let us pull together as a people
Harambe

I’ve never forgotten that

When they first talked about that gorilla named Harambe
I remembered
When they talked about the cage that gorilla was in
I remembered
When they talked about shooting him to save the child
I remembered
When they started to be mournful about the gorilla’s death
more than they were thankful for the still-living child
I remembered
When they talked so sternly with great condescension
about that child’s parents
I remembered
When they roared and roared for someone’s blood
to be spilled for the dead gorilla
I remembered
Harambe
pull together
let us pull together
let us pull together as a people
Harambe

A roar for blood
on behalf of a caged gorilla
who shared his name
with an independence movement
Harambe

I remember

Do you remember
Tatiana

a Siberian tiger
who killed one man in the San Francisco Zoo
injured two other men in the San Francisco Zoo
after escaping from her cage
after being taunted by some or all of the men
after having pinecones shot at her from slingshots

They shot Tatiana

There was talk afterward that the taunting was only publicized
to shield the zoo from repercussions
even though the men admitted it
No charges were filed
and no one remembers if anyone
roared for blood on behalf of
Tatiana

No one knows the names
of the African painted dogs
who tore a boy to death in the Pittsburgh Zoo
when he fell into their enclosure
from an observation deck
where his mother had raised him
to the railing to see better
No charges were filed then
It was deemed a tragic accident
Lawsuits were filed and settled
Only one dog was shot that day
The other dogs were removed
were sent to other zoos
The zoo replaced the nameless dogs
with cheetahs
who do not appear
to have been named

It’s dawn and I’ve been at this for too long
I don’t know how to pull it all together
which is fitting I guess
for a poem about a society
that can’t seem to pull it together

Harambe

The villains
The heroes
The gunned down
The living
The sympathetic ones
The blameworthy ones
The ones who write the narrative
Who get to tell the story
Who own the means of transmission

Who pulled the trigger on this
Who fell
Who declared the black and white of this
Who roared
Who loved the taste of blood in this
Who thirsted 
Who danced around their desire
for all involved to die
from one bullet
from one choice

Harambe
pull together
let us pull together
let us pull together as a people
Harambe 

Harambe
Is gone now
Is over now
Is over
and out


A Sudden Noise

A sudden noise
in the night
makes no sense,
so you turn on the light
and banish the darkness —

how foolish to do this,
to be this afraid of mystery.
To rush the process
of understanding upon
that which is revealing itself
at the moment it has chosen
in the setting it has chosen.

“It is better to light a single candle –“
bah! Why curse or banish
the darkness?  It’s lovely in there

if you do not fear it.  A sound
speaks there as it cannot in light.
Don’t you close your eyes
when in the presence of 
Great Music?