I have never owned a gun but I stockpile
books which I will lend to anyone who wants
one. The right to reading is the right
to a good defense. I have had ideas show up
at my doorstep unannounced and with nothing
on hand but an epigram or a block quote
I fended them off with statements I felt to be
Quod erat demonstrandum
The old Q.E.D.
I have stood at my screen door and scowled
at others’ beliefs. Their speech offensive to me.
But I knew that if they ever came calling
in a time of need like when an order broke down
or ignorance spread in a thousand-year flood
-we had one of those last week-
I would give off my books freely they make
the most effective shields.
Because ours is a violent country. We take
ideas very seriously.
About the Poem
My poem is a response to two recent events in Missouri. The first was the shooting of sixteen-year-old Ralph Yarl in the suburbs of Kansas City (all he did was knock on the wrong door). The second was the Missouri House of Representatives voting to remove all state funding from the public library system. I see both events as interconnected.
About the Author
Jeremy Nathan Marks lives in the Great Lakes Region of Canada. He is the author of the poetry collection, Of Fat Dogs & Amorous Insects (Alien Buddha Press, 2021). As an immigrant, he knows what public libraries can do to help people.