Jason Chu Dedicates a Spoken Word Poem to Newtown, CT – “27”

Unless you’ve been stuck in quarantine, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the unspeakable mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut on Friday. Artist Jason Chu wanted to make sure the victims and community of Newtown are memorialized somehow, and not quickly forgotten and swept away by sensationalist media and society. The following is his spoken word piece – “27”.

I woke up this morning to a tragedy and imagined waking up this morning if that were my family
My sister in that school my mom picking up her phone like any other day before she heard that news

That wireless voice saying we will never be the same
That a part of our lives was just ripped away
And so the rest of our lives will forever be changed
Would I grieve and mourn, or would I rage away?
Would I grow frustrated or break down – what could ease that pain?
Would there be any words to say?
Would I look to Jesus, pray, or turn my face away?
So my heart goes out to those who have lost today

But there’s another part of my heart that is dark and wet
And in it, I’m growing so used to death
I download it, watch it, and then I post on it
On my phone, in my pocket, I stay close to it
On Xbox Live and online I make jokes on it
And the bodies on the screen are just dressing for the set
They’re not lives of wives or husbands, my cousins or your kids
Do we hate ourselves so much that we view violence as a gift?

We say the shooter was “crazy” – not a normal human being
Something went wrong in his brain – that’s why he did those horrible things
We reassure ourselves – we could never predict such an event
Feel sad for a little while – then race to be the first ones to forget
If numbers are just numbers, we can ignore what they mean
Close our eyes to the lives still caught behind the scenes
And when the cameras leave the scene, we move on as well
Except for 27 families still trapped in their own hell

So how do we find a way to fight the violence and abuse?
Every monster was once a child – once an innocent youth
And in a world that specializes in exposing ugly truths
Finding love and clinging to it will drag us out of that noose
Our weapon against depression is hope for things to come
If you see a brighter future maybe you won’t pick up that gun
If we find ways to share that vision, we can start to break down walls
Start to see others as human beings – and show them that reflection in ourselves

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