Colorado

Colorado

They came down from the roof wearing heavy black vests for to stop the bullets.

Proof of nothing, they wielded similar guns.

The idea black and inked like a nightmare to shoot children, to stop death on children’s wings.

In the hallways, in the graveyard, in the boiling cafeteria fifteen men, helmets, plexi-visors,

they are searching, they are searching, they are searching,

searching for the sons of the men of whom in turn they once were the schoolmates,

for to shotgun, for to shotgun, for to slay them where they stand;

for to shotgun, for to shotgun, for to slay them where they stand.

 

And they comb the rows of lockers,

rows of blasted metal, backpacks, brains,

interconnected —

the footprints of the tale,

in the classroom a shaft of brilliant sunlight on a chalkboard.

It reads the topic of the day,

Conflict and Resolution: Rethinking the American Landscape.

In the office, in the choir room, in the rafters of the ceiling,

the remnants of the hearts of innocents still beating.

They are dancing, they are dancing, they are dancing, they are dancing,

jerking like the puppets of the angel of mercy.

 

And I’m running harder and harder 

Colorado on my mind

I am running, running harder and harder

Colorado on my mind

 

Then they find them in the book room,

wearing jackets of explosives,

their own gray centers splattered across bulletins and carpets. 

There’s no answer at the nexus, 

only hints and intuition;

the survivors are survivors, but the finished are not reason.

On the bookshelves, the databases, in the silence of the pages, 

nothing, no wisdom is forthcoming.

But it’s Lazarus, it’s Lazarus, it’s Lazarus again,

rising from the fluids of his still and cooling sister.

It is Lazarus, it’s Lazarus, it’s Lazarus again,

rising from the fluids of his still and cooling sister.

 

(Life Underwater Music, 1999)

 

James O'Brien