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Five Finger Mexican Style Revolver Roulette

He was described on the morning drive time radio
19 year old man
who lived on the 900 block
of South 10th Street …
shot in the head
with his own revolver
a victim of Russian Roulette

but there was no mention
of the fact
that he had finished
his high school education
in May of last year
only one semester
after he was supposed to…

…when most
of his teachers thought
his life would be finished
his seventeenth birthday

nothing mentioned
that he had worked at the community center
two years ago
on a mural project
in front of our building
and was starting to see
the connection between
the tattoos on his arm
and the art hanging in our
small gallery walls

Joaquin is dead…

and I know who
was standing next to him
in this time of miscalculated fear
because tradegy loves a witness
it was a former student, Cruz
not yet sixteen
but not willing
to stay away from the violence
that surrounds him everyday

I know Cruz is scared, mad and angry
and wished he could have done something
but it is too late

too late to take the gun away
even though he tried to take out the bullets

too late to tell Joaquin
that manhood is determined
by what is inside your heart and brain
and you can’t reach that
with a gun or bullet

too late
to change that second shot
which went too fast, it was unreal

too late for Cruz
who when he saw the dead body
he couldn’t open up the bedroom door
and had to suffocate
for almost three minutes
with the live stench of recent death

too late to fire the third shot…

Joaquin deserved another chance
But maybe that is
The only thing
He can pass on…

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