For Paris, Together Again, Never Again

We’re all aware of the terror that descended on Paris this weekend. I write poetry, so I’ve written a poem about it.

Scant consolation I know, but we’re a better world for sharing expression I believe.

Paris is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to. It’s barely describable, and I’m not sure that after going there anyone can really be the same again. I hope Paris has a more peaceful 2016 than 2015 proved to be for them.

For Paris, Together Again, Never Again

A shudder ripples
core to tip,
stone in peaceful mill pond,
with each refreshing swipe
of the rolling news feed.

They look like us
except screaming –
except covered in blood –
except they’re being helped by police,
ambulance crews, soldiers, friends, strangers,

family –
except now they all share the surname:
Victim.

Word of mouth gossip
feeds feeds
fuelling commentary from commentators
who warm their hands on keyboards
with speculation
while hashtags breed love
and contemptuous intolerance
in almost equal measure.

Everyone must have the last word.

Sitting in the dark
bleeding hearts
running through the what ifs in our heads.
Would we flee,
illuminating on and off
under flickering street lights and,
kicking dirt into the brisk dusk wind
that whistles between parked cars and the cafe tables that straddle the pavements?

Who would swipe and refresh for us?
Making sure our memories survived
to colour the front pages,
and then add a meme that will live on in their profile picture upload screen for a lifetime – because when we’re helpless, it’s the least we can do.

We’d exist again, for days, because we were deemed more relevant that the last.

All while someone else drops bombs,
sends in the troops,
decides which side to take in the wars of distant lands –
without ever listening to what we think.

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