Monday, June 14, 2021

David Cranmer


A hamlet in upstate New York at daybreak,
Ryan Robeson nudges his dad awake
with the barrel of a thirty-ought-six.

Ben wrestles with his anger-fueled son
and is hurtled back with a rifle blast,
ties that blinded now bleed.

... The air hangs acrid with sulfur and death

Five other teens stand aimless, waiting
for a meager cash payday and cannabis fix,
a loaded juvenile hateful six.

This self-celebratory brigade
share a jay to curb the shakes
then drop a match to cover their tracks.

... Birds of a feather now fucked together

The double-wide is fringed in flames
as is their runaway, shopworn dreams,
the PINS are soon cuffed and jailed, unashamed.

Now they have plenty of hands on,
still, whispers to shouts are bandied about:
“Poor parenting!” “They made their choice!”

... Dopes spewing ‘reap what you’ve sewn’ tropes

Days later, Ben’s F-150 still waits for brake
pads in the lot of the local garage; across town,
behind bars, Ryan waits for his lawyer.

The mechanics work as the news breaks:
“Another school shooting claims four lives ...”
numbed by numbers, the living go on 9-5.

... “Maintain’d by murder, and by death they live.”

David's YouTube video reading of "PINS"

Subscribe and turn on Notifications for Channel 52.

David confesses: "This poem is based on a true crime that impacted me not just in the senseless, horror of the murder but the community’s inept social media responses. New York State describes a child under the age of 18 who does not attend school, or behaves in a way that is dangerous or out of control, or often disobeys his or her parents, guardians or other authorities, as a Person In Need of Supervision or ‘PINS’.”"

DAVID CRANMER is the editor of the BEAT to a PULP webzine. His writing has appeared in publications including Needle: A Magazine of Noir, LitReactor, Macmillan’s Criminal Element, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. He's a dedicated Whovian who enjoys jazz and backgammon. He can be found physically in scenic upstate New York where he lives with his wife and daughter, and he can be found virtually on Twitter @BEATtoaPULP.

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