The Beat

Page 2 Poetry by Harry Polis and Tom Gowdyk

 
The Duel by Tom Gowdyk

 

There we stood, both side by each, 
we had the same desire,
To win this competition here, guns all set to fire.
The targets standing ready, whistle soon to come,
What happened shortly after, has me feeling rather numb.

Julie Prosser fired first, while I then fired two, 
Fate then played a nasty trick, nothing I could do.
One bullet from Australia, as it hit there with a clang,
It came back, on another path, just like a boomerang.

I felt a little tingle then, on the left side of my face,
Holstering my weapon there, and standing right in place.
The trickle started quickly, and soon became a gush,
Range staff running everywhere, all in quite a rush.


 

It did not take too long for me, standing there in spot,
Guns and blood, could mean one thing, Dammit!, 
“I’ve been shot”!
I walked around a little bit, “just a scratch”, I said,
Everything went quickly black, as more and more I bled.

So here I sit in hospital, twelve hours have gone by,
The Doctors have all told me, I’m quite a lucky guy.
I wonder if they’ll operate, under all the whisker hair,
To remove that pesky bullet piece, stuck inside me there.

Julie!  I’m still kicking, I’ll be back there one day soon,
Then we can have a showdown, on the range there at high noon.
Next time give me warning, so I won’t feel like a fool,
I really had no inkling that, we were there to fight a duel.

PC 664 T.J. Gowdyk   00-04-11   (188)

Tom is a Police Officer in Vancouver, BC
His website is: http://members.tripod.com/~Sir_Fuzz/

 
 
ARTIMUS JOHNSON
by Harry Martin Polis
The poem Artimus Johnson is dedicated to my old partner who was killed while on a narcotics investigation.He had transferred to that unit to see more action.Art had told me his new partner, Sergeant Michael Lingham, was shot and killed on a previous investigation.Artimus had been with Sergeant Lingham.Artimus told me he felt one of the bullets was meant for him.Art was right a few months later, when he too was killed.I wrote this poem as a memorial to my friend and partner, and to all the fallen officers.

 

Artimus Johnson

In the mirror lake 

when a grasshopper distorts

The sun and mountains are rippled

Where heartfelt and handshake 

blend in knowing

That secret tapestry 

that weaves us together

Forever lost on that pirate ship

Where assassins’ bullets 

pierce hearts in flesh

But not in spirit

Where our paths crossed 

and I understood

Another human and I 

shared a feeling

Where in the morning darkness

I heard your name

For the last time in life—

You already cold

Tears and shock 

were my awakening

To a new day

A day in which the light

Would bypass you

On your journeyThe sun and mountains are rippled

Where heartfelt and handshake 

blend in knowing

That secret tapestry 

that weaves us together

Forever lost on that pirate ship

Where assassins’ bullets 

pierce hearts in flesh
But not in spirit

Where our paths crossed 

and I understood

Another human and I 

shared a feeling

Where in the morning darkness

I heard your name

For the last time in life—

You already cold

 

In the darkness of night 

where we talked

Thoughts flashed into my mind

In its reflection

Of my knowledge of you

A brother is slain

And all the world chews gum


 

But not in spirit

Where our paths crossed

and I understood

Another human and I 

The moral fiber

Bursts at its seams

An end to our dreams

We spoke

and understood each other

as comrades in arms

against unknown enemies

The fight is over for you

At thirty-two

The trip is finished

My black brother

My fight continues

In other directions

Without loss of my sightings

Of its purpose

Without the hardness

Of life’s back step

And splash of dirt 

In our faces

The sun is shining today

And I’m heartsick

I, too, have died 

In another sense.

Artimus Johnson, Police Officer,

City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Has passed into the abyss

10-20-75, 11:34 P.M.

and all the world chews gum.

Copyright 1979 by Harry Martin Polis and dedicated to Artimus Johnson and all the police officers who have given their lives in the performance of their duty.
Guns
 As I was writing this column, I heard on the news that a boy was critically injured after being shot at the movies in a mall in Northeast Philadelphia.  Once again, we are reminded of the billions of guns blanketing our society today.  When I was a boy, I had a 22-caliber rifle, which my father taught me to use in the proper way for target practice and hunting.  I would no longer hunt anything or kill any animal for sport.  But the point is, even as a teenager, I knew how to handle guns and I understood their danger and use.  As a grown man, I was in the Army.  There, I learned to fire M-14 and M-16 rifles.  I was a sharpshooter.  Later, when I was a police officer, I learned to handle a 38-caliber handgun.  I was a good shot then too.  The military and the police department taught us about safely handling firearms. 
 I would not consider keeping a gun in the house now, because I have a teenage son.  Even when our daughter Honey was young, I felt it was dangerous to have a gun.  While I was a police officer and had to have a gun, I used to unload it as soon as I got home.  I stored the gun under lock and key and I put the bullets elsewhere.  This was all in the name of safety. 
 I am distraught today thinking about all the weapons circulating just in Philadelphia.  It is true that people, not guns, kill people.  But we have too many guns available.   Our children are being killed.  We are paying the price for the “freedom to bear arms”.  I wish handguns were not for sale in our nation.  It would be better if we were like other Western countries.  We are losing our youth to gun violence and I am sick at heart about it.  Where are we going with all this violence?  What can be done? I myself would like to live far away from the action—guns that is.  It frightens me to hear about people being shot on buses, on the street, and in the movies.  What will it take for us to do something about this situation?  How many must die?  We are a sick and angry society.  I for one would like to be far away from it all.  Perhaps one day, I will be.  Then, I can give the old “blessing”:  “A plague on both your houses.”

Copyright 1999 by Harry Martin Polis

 E-mail
: harrymartinpolis@yahoo.com

ICQ # 10954537

Harry is available for lectures and entertainment with stories and poetry.Contact SCOOP USA, or e-mail Harry.


 

Edited and encouraged by Jaynee Levy-Polis