Calloused Comprehension

I recently re-discovered this poem that I wrote during college after the Sandy Hook shooting. I was sitting with my friend at The Stupe, our college burger joint, studying for midterms when she took a break to look at the news.  This poem resonates with me today as I look to the current headlines. Shootings, beheadings, genocide, destruction, rape, and sorrow are the broad swathes that color the information of the day. While instantaneous news draws people together, it also has a way of callousing people’s minds to the comprehension of horror. There is tragedy tucked into the prevalence of everywhere news. It empties the coffers of our empathy by few sentenced informants of tragedy. Leaving me feeling emotionally numb to their comprehension.

“Grade school shooting kills 18 children” she says.


Headphones in hands, jack plugged into port, guilt

Ideas and images, clichés: Horror. Blood. Weeping. Blank eyes staring.

Trembling hands supporting. Abject. Broken. Distant

 ….Macklemore or Ben Howard?

“The world is a terrible place” she says.

Sitting. Head nodding. Weary. Exhausted. Finals.






Another tragedy,

another suffering,

another isolation.

Narcissistically numb.

What do I do?

Think about sleep.

Think about midterms.

I offer a single thought, a hasty prayer: “Lord have mercy.”

As if I could atone for my insouciant comprehension. Atone for the callus nature of everywhere news. Is it my fault? Where did my tenderness go?

Information at my fingertips.

Fewer febrile reactions, more mere abstractions.

Damn it God.

why don’t I cry?