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Monday 23 March 2015

Open Arms


Barber and Coin, Guns and Ammo, Beaverton, Oregon: photo by Austin Granger, 5 February 2014

Joseph Ceravolo: Hand Gun

When I was a child
I thought a handgun in a holster
and the lead colored bullets on the belt
was one of the most beautiful things
made by man.
Of course at that time
I didn't consciously know
of the phallic significance or symbol,
but it doesn't really matter.
It's not the object now
but the feeling that accompanied,
which still remains and comes back,
but not for guns and bullets
but for eternity.
It must be the way Sumerians
felt for their Gilgamesh
and Jews for David
and Egyptians for Pharaoh
and anyone for heroes,
a hope of eternity
for ever and ever new.
A chance not for the object
but for the soul alone,
if that be possible.
But it's too easy
to love life too much
and all is gone away, alas,
like a shot from
the gun of childhood.

When I was a child
I thought of eternity.

Joseph Ceravolo (1934-1988): Hand Gun, 24 October 1986, from Collected Poems, 2012

Kabul, Afghanistan. A girl plays with a toy gun during celebrations for Nowruz, the Iranian new year, which marks the first day of spring and the start of the year in the Persian calendar: photo by Mohammad Ismail/Reuters via The Guardian, 22 March 2015

We Sell Guns (Boston, Massachusetts): photo by Jim Rohan (LowerDarnley), 31 March 2013


Would-be customer is shown the merchandise at fake gun store: image from YouTube video via Breitbart, 17 March 2015

Gun Control Group Sets Up Fake Store, Shames First-Time Buyers: A.W.R. Hawkins, Breitbart, 17 March 2015

In effort to prove once and for all that owning guns puts Americans in danger, States United to Prevent Gun Violence set up a fake gun store and shamed first-time gun buyers into foregoing their purchase.

They did this by only offering models of guns for sale that had been used in high-profile crimes. So when a first-time female buyer asked to the see a gun that was easy to operate the clerk grabbed a .22 revolver and said, “[This] is the easiest gun we have to use. It’s our most popular one… It’s also a gun that 5-year-old found in his parents bedroom, went down and shot his 9-month-old baby brother with it.”

For another customer the clerk shows a 9mm semiautomatic. He describes it as “a very handy gun” and that’s “easy to use.” The clerk says, “It’s a great gun to carry in your purse, like that gal from the Walmart, her two-year-old son reaches into her pocketbook, pulls it out, shoots her.”

The clerk does the same thing with a shotgun -- used in a San Diego shooting -- and various other guns used in more recent crimes.

For Adam Lanza’s horrible acts at Sandy Hook Elementary the clerk lays down an AR-15, snaps his fingers, and says, “20 little kids, gone like that.”

Customers Walk Into a '#GunShop' Hoping to Get Something for Protection. Little Did...: image via Gun Rights Update @gunrightsupdate, 19 March 2015

A "#gunshop" that suddenly appeared in the... #hoax: image via Trending Hoax News @Hoaxalizer, 19 March 2015

#California #handgun sales hit record number in 2014 at over 510,000: image via San Francisco Trending Hoax News @SunTimesSF, 5 March 2015

The classic Colt Python chambered in .357 magnum. Photo: @lonestarloaded #colt #python #revolver #handgun #pistol: image via jb @jbcday, 19 March 2015

Lots of Musk and camo hoodies in this place. #gunshop: image via Tracy Eckert @tracyeckert, 31 January 2015

Missouri passed a law that allows open carry of guns, even in towns with bans, and for ‘specially trained employees’ to bring guns to schools: photo by Prisma Bildagentur AG / Alamy/Alamy via the Guardian, 11 September 2014

A young attendee inspects an assault rifle during the 2013 National Rifle Association annual meeting and exhibits in Houston, Texas..: photo by Justin Sullivan via The Guardian, 14 December 2014

A Vermont measure, introduced by three top Democrats in the state senate, would expand background checks to most private sale
photo by Joe Raedle via the Guardian, 10 February 2015

Abby, aged 8, from Louisiana: photo by An-Sofie Kesteleyn from the series My Little Rifle via the Guardian, 28 April 2014

A demonstrator helps hold a large Come and Take It banner at a rally in support of open-carry gun laws in Austin, Texas..: photo by Eric Gay/AP via The Guardian, 30 January 2015

Officers investigate the scene after a shooting at She's a Pistol, a woman-centric gun shop in Shawnee, Kansas, on Friday: photo by Tammy Ljungblad/AP via the Guardian, 12 January 2015

An exterior view of Guns Galore gun shop, where Ivan Lopez reportedly bought the weapon he used at Fort Hood: photo by Erich Schlegel /Reuters via The Guardian, 4 April 2014

Dead kids in a classroom - just good business for @NRA and  gun industry #gunsense: image via US Gun Violence @usgunviolence, 12 March 2015

WATCH: Parents laugh at gun extremist who says guns in schools ‘just makes sense’ #gunsense: image via Shannon @shannonrwatts, 12 March 2015

Bristol Palin’s Fiancé Playing With Baby Next To Unsecured Handgun. #GunSense: image via That Anomaly Woman @Anomaly100, 22 March 2015

Gun enthusiasts check out products at a National Rifle Association meeting. Gun advocates spread letters and petitions condemning Lynch’s stance on gun control, as Senate Republicans continue to stall US attorney general confirmation. The National Association for Gun Rights collected 200,000 signatures against Lynch’s confirmation. The battle took an ugly turn this week when some Democrats injected race into the debate, suggesting that Republicans were opposed to the nomination of the first African American woman for the post. The Illinois senator Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, drew a Rosa Parks analogy and said Republicans were forcing Lynch to "sit in the back of the bus".: photo by Scott Olson via the Guardian, 20 March 2015


Nin Andrews said...

Powerful story and poem. Insane country we live in.

Anonymous said...

the thoughts of children...if we knew ...

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

The Ceravalo poem is quite moving. The pictures speak eloquently for themselves. Thanks, Tom. Don

TC said...

Thanks very much, fellow unarmed, vulnerable earthlings.

This post began with the bottom photo, and the story that goes with it -- the National Rifle Association starting up its 200,000 little pointy-headed, metal-penetrating evangelical votive fires under the effigy of Loretta Lynch, Obama's attorney general nominee, a black woman who evidently does not belong to the American Church of Rampant Gun Violence for Freedom.

510,000 guns in the state where I live, jeez, that's a lot.

When I was lying on a gurney in the Trauma Unit of the county hospital, it was gunshot victim to the left of me, gunshot victim to the right. Democracy in action.

There are Americans who harbour nostalgic affection for the gun culture, because... well, it's as american as... let's see.. hot dogs and... uh, fireworks, emitting carbons, torture of detainees, like whatever.

Just because you grew up around guns, it doesn't mean you have to spend your whole life hugging a gun.

There is still a tacit permission to be gun-totin' writ deep into the DNA, especially in Texas. The dude with the Open Carry banner inspired this post, to a degree. Have a nice day.

America's sentimental fondness for itself knows no bounds when it comes to playing Texas Liars' Poker.

That sloppy marshmallow of an Oscar contender Boyhood gives away its weakness in the scene where Grandpa's rifle is bestowed upon the boy soon to become the unlikely family scion. The scene is played straight, not for laughs. Ugh. Family values.

Otherwise, never fear, cowboy, your gun rights will be safe in the hands of that chunky malignant early contender for POTUS Ted Cruz.

Note the first part of #4 on this list of Ted's campaign objectives, right up there with protecting carbon emissions: protect gun rights.

Ted Cruz's campaign résumé - revealed!

Lally said...

if only art or politics or religion or culture or poetry or anything could salve the fear that generates all this gun festish hysteria in our society...with cops in the family I grew up around guns and made marksman in the military but always hated them and still do...thanks for posting Tom, as always...

TC said...

Michael, I think we share common history as well as common feeling on this issue.

My maternal grandfather, in whose home I spent a fair share of my childhood, was a big city policeman all his working life, and carried a very large gun, in a holster, whenever out of his house. But when he entered the house -- three times a day, between shifts -- his first act was to carefully remove his very large gun and holster, and place them atop a very tall cabinet, which only he could reach; and he was a very tall man.

Respect for and fear of firearms was the only plausible and normal reaction in a child, witnessing.

If he ever fired his weapon "in anger", I never knew about it.

When I in turn was made to learn to use and clean a US military weapon, the #1 lesson I came away with was, never touch one of these things again. The only purpose it can serve is to do harm to the living.

Fey said...

".. to do harm to the living." Turning living stuff into dead stuff is almost all of what we do nowadays. Some of the dead stuff imitates live stuff quite well, briefly, but it's only pretending.
You couldn't invent anything worse than us and our doings if you tried.

TC said...

Yes, but what else are all the tech sorcerers, in their clean, well-lit bunkers, caves, cubicles, doing right at this moment, if not exactly that -- working on the breeding of that ultimate next-generation "something worse": uniform, perfectly programmed, identical self-replicating humanoid death-units, disguised for marketing purposes as "real" biological components?

Mose23 said...

How the rush of some grand feeling is swallowed up in some grim fetish! That thought of eternity never had any kind of chance.

TC said...

Yes, of course.

But what is there to say?

I suppose there may have been a sense of not having much life left to live, all gone away, hereness, nowness, laterness, everything, and no retrieval.

Eternity, time, childhood, everything, cancelled.

A friend who was a friend to Joe C, and remains a strong advocate of his work, doesn't like the way this poem ends.

My own problems come mostly with the way it begins -- that fetish, as deeply imprinted as a sort of cultural birthmark.

Still, I went back again to read him for therapeutic purposes, I guess you might say.

I've been trying to wash out of my innards the terrible taste of the damage done to poetry by the crowd of academic fascists (the Penn Clowns) who've established their citadel just across the river -- though in spiritual terms an infinite distance away -- from where he lived, wrote, raised a family, and died, much too soon.

Every move he made in his poems, early, middle, late, stands in direct violation of every one of their petty herd rules: do not have feelings, do not have a soul, do not have a heart, and so on.