The Scale

Let us look at how we value violence

As a path to behavioral societal corrections

As part of necessary sacrifices

Let us assess our own silence

By measuring the connections

Between our comfort and its ever-raising prices

The costs stem from the choice

To view violence as a problem’s viable solution

Without acknowledging to the maimed and the buried

There is never restitution

We make the pivot to violence causally

We put it into games and entertainments

We view it as a path to power and strength

Instead of as one the souls most damaging contaminants

Sometimes judgement is the mirror

The sentence a song you hear in your head

Now the singer’s voice is growing clearer

Lilting the names of the dead

Maybe you know one among them

From Fallujah or Ferguson

From Aleppo to Attica

Maybe your fist is clenched

As you look upon the protests

Maybe your heart is wrenched

Seeing the agony and the tears of the oppressed

Maybe we start today

Acknowledging a scale that weighs our choices

And that the price we might pay

Is our loved one’s silenced voices?

Gene G. McLaughlin 2020

I Shall

I have few resources

Often only kindness

And the will to not be inured

To the sorrow of the mourners

And the cries of the injured

I shall not keep to silence

Nor allow bigotry to be ignored

I shall seek no answers in violence

In pursuit of grace much can be endured

I shall make a quiet strong alliance

Between peace and love letting both be heard

In a voice even, but full of defiance

Against wrong thought and action

Committed via both deed and word

Gene G. McLaughlin 2015

Note-

Something I wrote to remember both how sad and outraged I was last week in South Carolina, but also how inspired I was by the survivors families in Charleston and their capacity for grace and forgiveness.

If There Is No Middle Ground

If there is no middle ground

Then the way is lost

It is hard to see when beaten down

Through the smoke

Know middle ground is there

In the haze

Right behind you

Just obscured

We can speak in absolutes

Hold volatile ideas near and dear

Speak of revolution

Ignoring the tears

We don’t know ourselves

Through the swirl

We cannot see ourselves

With it engulfing us

Sometimes it is better

To move slowly

Through the fog

Feeling that which is around us

Which we cannot see

Waiting until the fog dissipates

Instead of burning it off

Because that which we burn

We sometimes value most

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013

You Can Believe

You can believe in rage and conflict

Those are the ways of old

You can believe that confrontations

Make a man brave and bold

You can believe in the language of violence

That ever has existed

You can measure your life by how many conquests

Of which you life has consisted

You can believe in the primal easy path

That has always been the clearest way

Or you can believe you choose for yourself

The road you take today

Gene G. McLaughlin 2013