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"fifty' by Ryki Zuckerman [In Honor of JFK] | Arts & Culture

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"fifty' by Ryki Zuckerman [In Honor of JFK]
"fifty' by Ryki Zuckerman [In Honor of JFK]



the crackle of the overhead speaker,
usually mute after morning announcements,
interrupted our lesson.
someone must have thought
we should know what had happened in dallas.

what happened in dallas
that sent us streaming into the halls,
sobbing and confused,
leaning against the shoulders
of teachers and friends,
pained and numb all at once.

pained and numb all at once
that he was gone, not yet
knowing it would all change now,
the bright future diminished, and our eyes
fixed on tv screens for days after,

tv screens during the day,
usually verboten until after dinner,
while history played out in front of us
inside the little black and white box:
the bloody pink suit, the riderless horse, the casket
lying in state

lying in state,
and later our state of mind
wondering about lying by the state,
the lone gunman,
shot to death in front of so many,
then the murderer of the murderer
neatly dying in jail from cancer

neatly dying,
not murdered by a lone gunman
not bleeding out onto her pink chanel.
now every week some new shooter
glitters the ground with brass bullet cases.
someone must have thought we should know.

By Ryki Zuckerman


November 22, 1963:  The day the world changed.

Fifty years later, through poetry, let us celebrate the life of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, murdered, ruthlessly, without care, at 12:30 pm in Dallas, Texas during a presidential motorcade.

The Warren Commission’s records submitted to National Archives, thanks to the JFK Records Act of 1992, will now be available to the public by 2017.  Jackie Kennedy’s blood-splattered suit is in climate controlled storage. Jackie wore the suit for the remainder of the day, stating “I want them to see what they have done to Jack”, when asked aboard Air Force One to change into another outfit.

Ryki Zuckerman, poet and editor of Earth’s Daughters, the oldest feminist literary and arts periodical since 1971, has been extensively published and currently curates two spoken word venues in Buffalo, New York.

Ryki sent me this poem today, after I posted the above photo online to honor Jack Kennedy and as soon as I read her words, tears rolled down my cheeks. Ryki allows the reader to see without showing and tells an intricate story without speaking.

Between her lines, November 22, 1963, exists every day for those that recall the day that JFK was murdered. His death changed the world, in turn, affecting not only those who lived through this time, but generations to follow. It is up to us to keep his vision alive and to never forget the grave injustices that have been done to this man and his family.

“fifty’ is the finest piece of work I have read in a long time. I wish I had written it; however, I am so pleased it has been shared with me, as I now, share it with you.

Ryki has published a 2013 full length book of poetry from Saddle Road Press (Hawai’i) “Looking for Bora Bora” ”available from Amazon.Com and locally at Talking Leaves.


Photo © Hank Walker



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