The Semiautomatic Weapon as Text

Eugene Halton

You call me a thing,
    even though I contain all that makes you feel human

Am I just an object to you?

A thing to be used when needed
    used and put down
        until needed again?

Touch me, fondle me, but hear me out

I speak bullets
I glisten and pop,
    and no mere words can match me

Can words taste bitterness?
Can words make thunder and lightning and smoke?
Can words make things dead?

I am your obsession,
    your gunpowder passion
    your cross-hairs vision

You say you never want to be without me

You call me "freedom"
                    "private property."

I am all these things
    and many more

I am the key that unlocks the door
    between life and death

I am fire-power

You and I together are Nietszche:
Take me in your arms
             feel my power
Squeeze me and make me explode!

I will fight for you
I may make you recoil:
        The steel is willing but the flesh is weak

Pull my trigger
    Am I real?

When I kill killers,
    Am I real?

When I rip through walls and cars
    in cold-blood rage,
        and tear out organs
            like so many beating Aztec hearts
                am I real?
                    As real as you?

Appeared in Cultural Studies--Cultural Methodologies, 1: 4, November, 2001: 488-489.