portion of the artwork for Jamez Chang's poetry

Good Guy with a Gun
Jamez Chang

“Just because you’re a bad guy, doesn’t make you a bad guy.”
—Wreck-It Ralph


Mr. LaPierre, you’re a good guy.
But just because you’re a good guy,
doesn’t make you a good guy.

I was a bad guy. Growing up,
I got kicked out of three schools.
But just because I was a bad guy,
doesn’t mean two calendars bleed any
different:

December 21, 2012.
Disney-movie comments made by a good guy—
turned crazy.
The Mayans were right, soldier:
someone turned these lights out
called Sanity, called World
and the asteroid was a foot in the mouth,
while the planet just missed it.

This taste of crazy,
I tasted it too—
that one week, before winter:
“Girls, there are good guys and bad guys
in the world, and today, the bad guys won.”
But my speech was for three little girls,
daughters come home from school, while
Yours, Mr. LaPierre, was
truth served cold on a National Stage,
for adult listeners.

But you’re still a good guy.

It’s just that …
It’s just that …
Well, for once, facebook got it right:
“It’s complicated.”

More complicated than
The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun
is a good guy with a gun
.

Call me crazy. But good guys turn into bad guys—
all the time.
And bad guys were once good. So tell me,
Is Batman a good guy?
What about Robin? Which Robin?
And who in the post-Mayan calendar decides?

Good guys have bad days—so etch it.
And it’s a beautiful day for a neighbor
unless she has a real bad hair day.

Mr. LaPierre,
In your America:
Good men and women tell stories to bad girls and boys—
with guns in their laps.
In my America:
A rifle slips through it,
takes one bad apple or
bad man thought good today,
and tomorrow
we’re cracked.

And we will wonder,
Mr. LaPierre,
From this once-bad guy to one presently
who knows?—where have all the kids gone?
Where is the good?

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 39 | Winter 2013