Poems by Dalton Erickson
Another Shooting Did you hear about the shooting today? Another shooting happened? Another shooting happened today. Another shooting happened today. Did you hear about the shooting today? Another shooting happened today. Another shooting happened today. Did you hear about the shooting today? I’m forgetting the names of all the shootings. I’m forgetting the names of the heroes, victims, and shooters. Weekends with multiple mass shootings. Did you hear about the shooting today? Which one? These shootings are getting political. But not like they used to be. Did you hear about the… Did you hear about the terrorist attack today? It was a white nationalist. Did you hear about the terrorist attack today? It was a white nationalist. Did you hear about the terrorist attack today? It was a white nationalist. Did you hear about the shooting today? This is getting to be like the weather. Did you hear about the terrorist attack today? If we’re honest this weather is getting worse. Did you hear about the kidnapping plot against the governor? This climate is definitely changing. Did you hear about the insurrection on the Capitol? This climate crisis is political. The Absurdity of Poverty Homeless, sent on a train to the next town down, ‘They can help you’ Arrive, call to verify a bed, must make a way downtown. ‘How far are you?’ Request, ten dollars can get you halfway there, A four mile walk Kindness, still brought you there, even short on fare. Heavy bags, take stock Relief, take a seat, while papers get ready to sign, Last dollars spent Bench, order a warrant, unpaid fines. Fifty dollars, went unsent Dog, a nuisance, barking, Still sent two cop cars parking Daughter didn’t pay? Spent, exhausted from five hours then barring. Three cops to take away? Worn, only the clothes on back, can I leave my sack? When I return can I still stay? Away, Too old to carry it back Is this the absurdity of poverty? How expensive it is to be poor. Is this the absurdity of power? How much money spent to get pennies more. Is this the absurdity of punishment? How harsh must it be on the floor. It makes no sense. To have spent so much Three officers salaries, cost of running the squad cars, cost of the jail cell for the nights, the cost to be sent 4 hours back to serve time there. The salary of the judge, the cost of the taxi. The spent money for him to be sent. For fifty dollars. For a dog barking. For justice? Really? It makes no cents. It costs so much to keep the poor so. It makes no sense. It costs so little to let the poor man go. Ice Rains Refuge from the bitter cold Norwegian land of old Come onto our frozen soil Which is laden with oil We welcome from poverty Provided you with property Yet the ice rains will harm the new crops It will greet you with chills The ice rains will hamper your lot It will welcome your struggle The ice rains will sting your fields, and factories Will raid your crops and rid the ‘verim’ “These ICE raids are to rid your burden” Covered wagon’s Caravans to new lands Cross country trek’s Watchout for the ‘red’s warbands’ Covered your young Risked safety for salvation When the ice rains greeted you They were not too harsh Then the ice rains reminded us That we were so sparse Yet, the ice rains forgot me That I was greeted with less farce The climate changed, and now the ice’s rain hurts The bitter cold beatings at arrival The ice’s rain was now painful Our bitterness of new rivals The ice’s rain is burning The fire that made us tribal This is how we greet our new arrivals Welcome to the fight Welcome from your flight Welcome to the night The dark day’s where ice rains The bitter cold where I remain The sweet release from cages Where the ICE Reigns. Where the sting of teargas Is our ice’s rain With the chill of sea water We greet “Migrants, remain” Is this a stain? We beat “The infestation, and the invasion” What's left from ice’s rain? Coldness. Is all that we learned from our ice rains? Tyranny is hard to see Teary in the rain makes it hard to see Our vision’s lost in ICE’s Reign.
Dalton is a local poet and activist. He became more politically active after seeing the devastating reality of poverty while working for the unhoused in his community. He is a member of the Red River Valley DSA, the MN Progressive Caucus, ND United, and his local DFL unit. His submissions are excerpts from his upcoming book of poetry titled ‘My Abstract Empire’.