Screaming Into The Silence

scream-silence-photography-black and white

We go to bed tonight with another family losing their child and their loved ones in this horrific rampage of violence.

  • June 10. Portland OR: One high school student killed.
  • June 8. Las Vegas, NV: Two police officers and one civilian killed by “Patriots” at a WalMart.
  • June 7/8. Chicago, IL: 4 dead. 30 shot in a weekend shooting spree.
  • June 6thForsyth County, GA: Assault on county courthouse. 1 deputy shot.
  • June 5th. Seattle Pacific University: 1 student shot dead. 3 wounded.
  • May 23rd. IIsla Vista, California: 6 shot dead at U of Calfornia Santa Barbara. 7 more hospitalized.
  • Dec 2012. Newtown, CT.  20 children and 6 adults fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School. There have been 74 school shootings since Dec 2012, roughly 1 every week

And after averting my eyes from the evening news, I turned to reading a few pages from Wiman’s “My Bright Abyss” seeking some solace.  And he about captures it…the devastation is reaching close, so close to our very streets:

What is poetry’s role when the world is burning? Encroaching environmental disaster and the relentless wars around the world have had, it seems , a paralyzing, sterilizing effect on much American poetry. It is less the magnitude of the crises than our apparent immunity to them, this death on which we all thrive, that is spinning our best energies into esoteric language games, or complacent retreats into nostalgias of form or subject matter, or shrill denunciations of a culture whose privileges we are not ready to renounce— or, more accurately, do not even know how to renounce. There is some fury of clarity, some galvanizing combination of hope and lament, that is much needed now, but it sometimes seems that we— and I use the plural seriously, I don’t exempt myself— are anxiously waiting for the devastation to reach our very streets, as it one day will, it most certainly will.

But the fight is quiet sometimes too. Even for those in hell. Bonhoeffer: “It will be the task of our generation, not to ‘seek great things,’ but to save and preserve our souls out of the chaos, and to realize that it is the only thing we can carry as a ‘prize’ from the burning building.”

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer 


Photographer: Anja Matko titled Screaming Into The Silence via A Journal of a Nobody.

 

Comments

  1. I like all the sides of your personality. This is a topic close to my heart and will reblog to my site and Cut Throat Club. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

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  2. The photo is amazing. The quote is also amazing. And (unfort ….as usual) I ask myself : so what we gonna do about it?
    Interesting suggestion by Malcolm Gladwell in an NPR interview (maybe in the fall? covering david and goliath…can’t locate it now): what if the media would stop printing the names of the gunmen (gun people?). What if the media would erase the “celebrity” component? He likened it to rape victims where society has “agreed” that the privacy of the victim outweighs the “freedom of speech” of the media. Not a cure-all to be sure, but what if there weren’t so many shootings, so quickly in a row, maybe IN PART because the media would reduce the sensationalism (and related copy-cat crimes). I think it’s a great concept. No idea how to move it forward…. and so I reply to your post…..

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  3. Reblogged this on The Cut-Throat Clubhouse Online.

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  4. Barneysday says:

    Excellent piece, and very close to my heart. Are we at the edge of the abyss, or have we fallen over, and are on our way down towards crashing on the rocky shoal, below. I’m not sure.

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  5. Indeed! We can go beyond only saving ourselves. We can help others out of the “burning building” and also not put fuel on the fire.

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  6. It’s madness. I find it difficult to follow these stories of violence in the news, and I appreciate the quote to calm the mind.

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  7. and the wind whips, wild and merciless, through our hallowed ground, once again.

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  8. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Excellent! Bravo …. The reality, the numbers, the picture and the power of the written word.

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  9. Today’s shooting took place in my local metro area, so it hit hard. What was even more terrifying was the realization of just how immune I’ve become to this happening. My first instinctive reaction was “Oh good, only two people died”… *Only* two human beings taken by random violence, yet again.

    Perhaps poetry + creativity can indeed help us out of this numbed state. I certainly hope so.

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  10. It is devastating to watch all of this. I grew up throughout the troubles in Belfast, N.Ireland so I’m no stranger to these sort of incidents and the lasting and harmful impact they have on communities.
    I think amendments to gun laws would have the most impact, but unfortunately I can’t see this happening any time soon..

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  11. I am still shaken by yesterday’s tragedy, by the inconceivable fact that we are now averaging a school shooting a week during the school year. And there should be no solace nor comfort within the walls of our homes – we should be outraged. Our indignation can be felt in so many other scenarios (how else did ‘nimby’ become an acronym?) – I don’t understand why we are so pained and yet so complacent.

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  12. Bonhoeffer’s words are profoundly poignant. I hope you don’t see me as judgemental, but I’ve just found it incredibly difficult to understand and grasp the gun culture of the US. I suppose you have to be in it to really understand it. There’s something so deeply, deeply tragic about these shootings.

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  13. I listened to yesterday’s news of the latest shooting with a hollow feeling in my gut–I couldn’t decide whether I was more disturbed by the fact that there had been (yet) another shooting or by the fact that I was feeling numb to the news. I find myself thinking, “Thank God only 2 or 3 died!”, which in turn makes me want to cry. I think one thing we need to do is get over this fierce dedication to the individual’s rights-“It’s MY right to bear arms!” What about the rights of those in society to feel safe stepping outside their door, into a school, into a movie theatre?…. As Mimi said, “HOW can we remain so complacent?”

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  14. ophelia says:

    I love that people are talking so much about these things, about all things, through poetry. Poetry seems to be in a renaissance online

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  15. How can this continue happening…and when will we make it stop??? We certainly need to stop just talking about it because yes, it will be on the very street we live on at some point. It is no longer “someone else and not me.” it is all of us now.

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  16. Reblogged this on Radiating Blossom ~ Flowers & Words.

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  17. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

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  18. The increasing frequency of these terrible acts of violence is very disturbing, David. A very apt passage from Wiman’s book.

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  19. Australia was rocked by a mass shooting in 1996 and – against fierce opposition from the gun lobby – the government changed the gun laws and also began a massive recall of gun ownership. Australia has not had a mass shooting since and gun deaths have plummeted.

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  20. This incident was just one town over from where I work. Just last year I lived near the Clackamas Mall shooting, and I was a responder to 911 back in 2001 still working in New Jersey. This has always been a violent country, but it drives me mad to see our children so involved in these actions.

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