Kat Susie’s Lament

September 29, 2015

My pop died last week. He was only sixty-two. How did he? His chest exploded. The way it was explained to me.

He really died weeks ago, of a broke heart. Even says it on the funeral home card: “Cause of death was a broken heart.” And the whole family and friends knew it. The minister knew it.

That is Pop’s little white dog inside the screen door there. My little dog, now.

Did you know my brother was kilt, while back? He was at a bar with his girlfriend, and they walked outside and my brother saw a guy beating up on a gal. And he walked over there and said stop. And the guy called out, and three other guys came out of the shadows, and they beat my brother to death.

No one called the cops, tried to stop it. They let those drunk cowards beat my brother to death.

My pop, he camped out at the police station and protested quite a few days. The killers, they each got out on one hundred thousand dollars bond. The charge was manslaughter, see, not murder. Think about those words: “Man.” “Slaughter.”

And like I said, Pop, he began to die right there. It just took a few weeks. It just waited for him to set up a memorial to his son, in his house. It just took lit candles and him brooding in candlelight and thinking about how he had lost everything, his son. About how violent men bear no burdens, unburden in spilled blood.

And then he passed. The death certificate said, the coroner said massive heart attack. It was man attack.

I heard about your trees. I cannot abide the wanton killing of anything, like it all belongs to us, for us to do as we please. Cutting trees, cutting down young men, it is all murder. I am sorry for your trees.

I been off work for a week. My boss said, “Kat Susie, you take a week and gather yourself.” Course, I am not getting paid.

Why are we so violent? Do you know? I walk this road like you, and I think about the answer, about how to gather myself.

The flowers, the birds know the answer. But they do not talk. They be. Nature’s violence is a dance about survival. Man’s violence is from evil thoughts, for their own sake.

I have lost my pops and my brother in three weeks. I got a dog out of the deal.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: eugenebaldwin.com. I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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