After RFK

__I’m named for one about whom Lowell wrote
That doom was woven in his veins. In June
Of 1968, my father trained
To blow-up bridges at an Army base
In the Show Me State when news ambushed
The fort with word that Bobby had been shot.

__I’m named for one who dared to ask Why not?
Determined not to let the call to seek
A newer world lie dead beneath a sign
That advertised The Once and Future King,
My father phoned his newlywed and cried
If it’s a boy, let’s name him after Kennedy.

__When Bobby died, he left a legacy—
Fighter planes, a brother slain, …and me?


Lancaster Massacre

Nickel Mines, October 2006

America, leave the Amish alone!
__Stop invading their rural home
With voyeuristic satellite eyes,
__Intrusive television spies—

Let them grieve their tragic loss,
__Their one-room schoolhouse holocaust,
With German scriptures they rehearse
__Seeking Christ’s eternal rest.

Infect them not with Adam’s curse—
__The pinewood box, the horse-drawn hearse.
Aren’t you ashamed that they
__Must teach our country how to pray

When Amish mothers suffer most?
__Five young girls gave up the ghost
Because a madman shot them down.
__America, they don’t want you around.

Only you would televise the slaughter
__Of Pennsylvania’s farmers’ daughters
Who never made it home from school—
__America, you perverted, bloody fool!


Rob Piazza teaches literature and writing at private schools in New England.  During the past year, his poetry has been published nationally and internationally in print and online by The Lyric, Haiku Journal, The Society of Classical Poets, Poetry Quarterly, Mystic Blue Review, Halcyon Days, and Founder’s Favourites (forthcoming).  This summer he participated in the Poetry Seminar at Frost Place in New Hampshire.  An avid hiker & classical guitarist, he lives in rural Northwest Connecticut with his wife and children.

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4 Responses

  1. E. V.

    The 1st poem was interesting, but is it formal verse? One of my favorite destinations is the rolling farmlands of the Pennsylvania Dutch. We agree that it was horrible for the media to descend upon the Amish in the wake of the massacre; the community should have been left to grieve in peace. However, at any other time, the Lancaster Amish community is hospital to non-Amish visitors, whom they call “English”. (I’m pretty sure anyone who isn’t Amish is considered “English”, regardless of actual ethnicity.) The Amish are bilingual. They speak a German dialect and English. For the most part, Amish people are very approachable; they’ll happily talk to visitors. Also, their economy benefits from tourists, who purchase their produce, homemade crafts, baked goods, furniture, and quilts. Some Amish also earn income giving buggy rides. They don’t mind us coming, as long as we’re respectful of their customs; for example, no photographs. Not only is it okay to visit the Amish, but their communities do financially benefit from the tourism.

  2. C.B. Anderson

    Yes, indeed, E.V.; they invented scrapple & shoo-fly pie, neither one of which is fit to consume. Have you seen the Harrison Ford film, The Witness? I recommend it highly. I have heard that they are having trouble keeping their young-uns on the farm, which is not surprising in the light of the lures that attend contemporary American culture. Nonetheless, these people are a national treasure.

  3. C.B. Anderson

    And, Robert, these poems were amazingly lucid, in stark contrast to much of what I’ve read recently.


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