I listened to the soft racism
in the booth next to me. Heard
it spread across the room,
become sexist and then
homophobic before it rested
at my foot. Western Colorado
is not all that unlike Utah, or Texas,
or Alabama; all places that pretend
to be different but hold the same
loose truths to be self-evident.
The fast accents are not as adorable,
the hate here is funny to the locals.
On this sunday, we had just found out
another shooting had happened, this
shooting in Florida, the same town
where a fan shot a pop singer
after her concert less than
24 hours earlier. This shooting
has left more than twice that many
dead and a whole country injured.
At first, these old cowboys seemed
concerned. When it was revealed
that this happened at a gay club,
the concern became attempt at
comedy, too many jokes to give
one as an example. My stomach
turned from sadness and anger
and I realized this small, fruit-filled
town surrounded by so many kinds
of fossils would be where the last tree dies.
Wil Gibson currently lives in Humboldt County, California where the trees are big. He has had 5 collections published by kind people, and has been included in a number of anthologies and lit mags both online and in print, such as Marsh Hawk Review, Button Poetry, Midwestern Gothic, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Yellow Chair Review and more. You can find links to books and more info at wilgibson.com.