Before the Beauty .Or. How Could U Forget?

locate the closest overlooked neighborhood — 
      at its core extract all humans living underneath
life’s bootheel. replace with millennials cradling

postcolonial guilt, but not. ignore the woman’s
      cardboard [help] sign tattered, stained & broken
like her: imagine being long-ago unseen, erased

in between the throng, an existing non-entity. ask,
      too, if gun be an instrument what refrain whizzed
soundless amid crestfallen shadows lingering

a decade. go from “a to z” to list the dead — too many
      to name, but try: antoine, byrd, carlos, delante ...    
no deader now than then. still a memory real,

cold steel, shots fired — death, what did we know
      of dying? don’t forget love, a love strangling addicts
caught in a docetic whirlwind with no blue sail.

before the corner becomes distorted remember:
      one more time inhale deep. inhale memory to include
the bad & terrible beauty just beneath the living.

More Poems by Randall Horton