Dying to Profit: A Poem by Nick Vanocur


To the merchants so busy with the thrill of big wealth

Who trade the smiles of children

So close to the leavings of unearned death

For the weeping of others

Where the lobbyists’ words

Drown the scream of a boy

Whose past saw guns pointed

Guns of wood, plastic and toys

Where the cries of the wicked

Are those without tears

Don’t fill the arms empty

And just grasping their fears

We used to cling to hope

The way we clutch guns

And making things better

Was a good kind of fun

And kids played in streets

Where no bullets flied

Swatting mosquitoes

And hitting pop flies

And now all we ask

Is for things to make sense

To do life the right way

And make it better years hence

For staying this course

Will make matters worse

With too many 7-year-olds

Dressed up in a hearse