In 1993, while walking across the campus of the University of Minnesota, probably around midnight, on my way home from a study session at the library, I passed by a blue-light campus security booth, which is where someone could run to if in trouble so that he/she could press an emergency button that would notify the police. In such a relatively peaceful city such as Minneapolis, this light seemed out of place to me, but I then pondered how sad it was that society was in such a state (as it has always been to varying degrees, and always will be based on my best guesstimate)–and that someone would need such a device. Continuing off campus, into the nearby neighborhood where I lived, I came up with the poem below, left here as it was back then (written down when I returned home that evening).
Streets of Wild
Thirteen bullet-riddled bodies
Spread across the floor.
Every day, games and hobbies
Turn to something more.
What is this mess, in our cities
And everywhere you look?
A teen mom’s blood-stained dress…
She weeps for the life she took.
A woman is brutally raped,
Though, indifferently, no one heard her.
For a gram of crack or an ounce of blow,
An innocent man they’ll murder.
Increasingly, life loses importance
And death is but a joke.
For the one who cares to take a stance,
Lies only an ounce of hope.
Are there no more out there who care,
For the security of a child?
Safety is drastically becoming rare
On America’s streets of wild.