Don’t be that guy
who walks into a church and kills people
who walks into a school and kills people
who takes a walk of any kind and at the end
people die.

Take a walk, sure, but not that kind of walk.

Don’t be a stranger
Don’t be so strange that you start to think
that killing things is the only way.
Don’t get isolated and strange,
if there is any way you can avoid it.
Please stay in touch.

See if you can avoid any sort of logic which concludes
That killing people that you don’t know is okay.
Or the thinking that killing those you know is okay.
None of that logic is real.

Don’t be the guy who grows up only to somehow end up
killing strangers and their children.
As a parent I can tell you that raising even a single child
is a long and continual miracle.

Don’t be the guy
who kills a miracle.

Don’t be the guy who kills the hope
some parent had for their child.
and that includes your parents.

Don’t ever think that you are a victim of circumstance
and that its okay to create more victims.

You are the creator of your circumstance.
Accepting that is the first step forward.

This task, this life that you set for yourself
is your own choice, your own decision,
your own test set by you.

And if you flunk the test there is no one
there at the end of the day
To stare at the report card but you.

If you really must kill someone,
consider the Buddhist way.
How differently the world reacts
to someone burning themselves for peace
than torching morning shoppers for war.

But, best of all, if you can, don’t kill anyone
Find a way back into the light.
Find a way to connect with yourself
and others.

Don’t be that isolated guy.
Don’t get so alone that the only way
to touch people is to kill them.

And please, if you are not a killer, don’t laugh
and point at that isolated kid in your class.
See if you can find a way
to talk to him, connect with him,
to take him from alone and anonymous
to noticed and named

Don’t be that guy
who kills anything
especially don’t, if you can,
die the walking death
which turns you into a killer

If you are a black guy, no killing black guys
If you are a white guy, no killing black guys
If you are a black guy, no killing white guys
If you are any color, no killing any color

All the crayons must get along

Nothing needs to be killed today.
Or any day.

Let this be a reminder to you
Don’t be that guy.

6 thoughts on “Don’t be that guy

      1. This may seem like a stupid question but who are you talking to in this poem? Who is in your real life audience? No, really. I can guess but I’d rather hear it from you. It will help me understand the poem. Maybe this is not a relevant question. Not trying to be over complicated. I may already be making it overly complicated.

        Good poem BTW. Nice flow. You always had a nice flow. Well crafted.

        1. My audience is mainly myself. This is simply self expression of thoughts that have rumbled around for some years. I can keep mumbling them to myself every time I hear of another socially isolated loner taking out a crowd of people, or another religiously intoxicated kill party, or I can encapsulate them like this and place them more or less on a shelf. The presence of Facebook in the mix means that just maybe someone will read and share them, and perhaps the intellectual body politic will be slightly nudged, or maybe even someone will be influenced to not be that guy. But mostly I’m just writing, exercising that writing muscle, and getting these thoughts down is good exercise. If anyone enjoys watching my pushups and chinups, great. If not, at least there is the sense of having said something meaningful for an audience of one.

  1. OK that totally makes sense. Looking at it from that perspective my experience of your poem becomes even richer. It has many meanings that are worthy to explore.

    What if you wrote a poem as the person who is thinking about killing people as a solution to their problems? What is inside each of us that thinks of annihilation as the solution to their problems? But then makes the choice not to follow that thought?

    Your poem made me think about that.

    1. To me its not about people finding solutions, but about people who are already more or less dead to the world taking a bunch of the living out the door “with” them in a personally scheduled mini apocalypse

Leave a Reply