if you stand on either side of a catastrophe
you can feel it trembling.

my friends tell me all the time how unlucky i am
how fateful, how full of hope, how insecure
that i just want someone to love me but i have to
love myself first.
easier said than done.
tonight i sat naked in front of a mirror, palms up
trying to be open to good all around me
couldnt help but feel my soft belly so round
rounder than its ever been
protruding further than it ever has
and i wonder,
is this what 33 is like? 
i didnt ask for this, this happy 30-something gut
this thick smile above my hips
this jolly round full of jiggle so big I could give it a name.

when I began to live this year i said, "this is the year i will learn how to fight"
i still havent.
and now crowds of men fight every night on my street, bout half a block up, 
across is a neighbor's house and another home for sale
that will never sell while they remain there, fighting.
supposedly someone was stabbed to death
the other night, in an empty house.
yknow, nothing new here,
nothing to see, just a picture of poverty
of lack of opportunity
just the failings of democracy and justice and today i voted
and it felt meaningless
while at the end of my block young men fire their frustrations at the night
with a semi-automatic, specs of flame
against the dark black God
calling our attention here, to the fire that burst from the end of their guns
here, to the catastrophe.

and i do not own one, 
a gun that is,
and i do not want one but I am sure i could
have one if i wanted to. I could yield something heavy against death
to create death
to be able to wager a bet against my safety and feel like I could win,
unlike my write-in on today's ballot that i know is hopeless.

Maybe my friends are wrong.
Maybe God is on the north side of town ignoring the black
at the end of my block
ignoring death
and fear

There are parts of this poem that are not true.
And they're not the parts that I wish but the parts I am unsure of.

But if you stand on either side of a catastrophe
I know you can feel it trembling.

And I know
I do not want
a gun.