Broadside #38 – (Spring 2015 / 15.8)

Broadside #38 (Spring 2015 / 15.8)

Ron Riekki 

The Gun Show

When the gun goes off, it’s the crash of a subway train.  Everything stops.

The demonstration of a flashy knife stops.

The free parking stops.

The law enforcement that have entered for free stop.

The several hundred people who don’t understand how to correctly use an apostrophe stop.

The billion-dollar gun industry stops.  (OK, maybe that doesn’t stop at all.)

The mourners for the dead children at the middle school sixteen miles away stop.

The huge-boobed girl selling camping survival gear for low, low prices stops.

The ammunition inventory spreadsheet stops.

The high-end Barrett 50 stops.

The fat men in NASCAR hats stop.

The homemakers who are going to be shot by their husbands in the future stop.

Their children who will commit suicide with the Barrett 50 stop.

The man who was accidently shot in the leg stops.

The shooter who accidentally discharged the gun stops.

And then, in unison, everyone goes back to yukking and haggling and flirting and leaving and entering and walking and touching and estimating and considering and networking and joking and feeling and squinting and gawking and lying and smoking and posing.

 

~

Author’s commentary:

Jeune homme à la fleur (1)

Francis Denis, Jeune homme à la fleur

Jay Leno said—and I’m probably misquoting a bit—that comedians start off doing one-liners, then they advance from that to discussing their family, and finally at the peak of their career they start tapping into what’s currently happening in the news.  I’ve been trying to push myself as a writer to discuss more and more what’s happening in our country that needs to be addressed.

I’ve seen multiple news articles about people being shot by mistake at gun shows, people being shot by mistake at shooting ranges, people being shot by mistake in their homes; the reaction is a blend of sadness and comedy and anger, something so strange about people who get sucked into that billion-dollar industry of making profit off of violence and selling the worst dark aspects of hypermasculinity. “The Gun Show” is an extension of gun-related short fiction I’ve been writing (other of these stories can be found in Prairie SchoonerBellevue Literary Review, and Moonshot Magazine, to mention a few) in which I’ve been trying to do narratives of warning. I studied with Gregory Orr at the University of Virginia and his revealing to the class that he accidently shot and killed his brother reverberates in me often when I write. This story is dedicated to Gregory Orr. (If you have not read him, do so now. He’s powerful on the page.)

I’m a writer, a creator. Je suis Charlie. I’m seeing more and more that the artist is antithetical to the gun-waving terrorist. Writers will continue to write. I received a death threat once for my novel U.P. I remember talking with Glen Mazzara at the Writers Guild and him telling me of the multiple death threats he’s received from his writing for The Walking Dead and suddenly my sole death threat seemed sadly part of the profession of writer. It sort of freed me up to realize that if you want to be a writer in this day and age of instant technology, internet posts without editing, and mass gun ownership, you have to be brave. It’s that simple. Be brave. Don’t let them silence you. Write. Write, write, write.

I love people who prefer pens to guns.

Ron Riekki is an award-winning poet, novelist, and playwright. His  books include U.P. (Great Michigan Read nominated and also nominated by National Book Award winner John Casey for the Sewanee Writers Series) and The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (Wayne State University Press, selected by the Library of Michigan as a 2014 Michigan Notable Book, a 2014 Midwest Book Award finalist, a 2014 Foreword Book of the Year Award finalist, and a 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist). He’s twice been nominated for the Pushcart and once for Best of the Net, and his story ‘The Family Jewel’ — first published at Blue Five Notebook — will appear in the forthcoming Best Small Fictions anthology, published by Queen’s Ferry Press. He has recently edited Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, to be released in May 2015. More here and here.
Author and painter Francis Denis, whose work is featured here alongside Ron Reikki’s, resides in Longuenesse, in le Pas-de-Calais, near de Saint-Omer. His texts and illustrations have appeared in print and online around the world, including Le Chasseur Abstrait, Népenthès, Aéra zinc, Ellipsis, Les Trompettes Marines, Le Capital des Mots, Squeeze, Voxpoesi, The Ilanot Review , Taj Mahal Review, Monolito, La Ira de Morféo, The Milo Review, L’Ampoule aux éditions de l’Abat-Jour, Under the Gum Tree, Kritiks, and many more. His work has been exhibited in France and elsewhere.

***

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2 Responses to Broadside #38 – (Spring 2015 / 15.8)

  1. susan tepper says:

    Ron has captured my personal feeling of how today’s most tragic events linger but a moment.. Thank you for showcasing his powerful poem.

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