Michael Karl (Ritchie)

A Moratorium on Seeing

I was made to see the top
of President Kennedy's head
blown up and off and back,
thanks to the Zapruder film. 

I refused to turn on the television
for weeks, but in the checkout
at the supermarket, there on the cover
of a popular magazine was the belly
of the Challenger in a ball of flame. 

There is a lot I have been made to see,
including things I never wanted to
home videos and lunchroom
surveillance tapes. 

I demand a moratorium on seeing.
It aids the enemy. It numbs the people.
It sickens me that I must watch this violence
inserted as a background screen
during an interview with a public official.
It makes me feel helpless when I should take action. 

Show it once maybe.
Once more for those working the night shift,
but not repeatedly, over and over. Put a face,
and a name, and a story
to each of the victims. Invite
all their friends and family
to spend hours with the American public,
weeping and laughing
in everybody's living room.


(photo by Shauna Rutherford)