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Target practice improves the aim of the one who fires

Grid of thumbnail images with self portrait inserted

Target Practice Google Search Screenshot With Self Portrait. Deborah Caulfield. 08/2018

Ever felt under attack?

The other day I woke up with the image of my traumatised child-self, and my bullied adult-self, as someone who’s been used for target practice. Like all good ideas, it stuck. Then it expanded to fit other situations, circumstances and scenarios. Next thing I know I’m seeing human targets everywhere. Me, you, us, them. OK, not them. Well, maybe some of them.

Every week brings news and plans for easier ways to kill people whose lives are deemed not worth it. Not worth the money. Not worth the time. Not worth the bother. Lives not worth living.

As if life is wasted on the dying. Yet the moment we’re born we’re already dying. So why hurry?

Hurry, because they’re running out of money to keep us in our not-quite-dead/almost-alive states, here, thereeverywhere.

In one of the episodes of Dennis Potter’s 1980s TV mini-series, The Singing Detective, the young Philip Marlow says: “When I grow up I ain’t never gonna die. Cos you don’t have to, not if you don’t want to.”

What’s this got to do with the price of fish? This: Living is what we’re here for. So stop trying to kill us!

Anyway, I Googled ‘target practice’ twice, under ‘all’ and ‘images’. No care crisis, but plenty of other targets. So I wrote this ‘flarf’ poem and I made this ‘found‘ image.



Target practice is an exercise
projectiles fired at a specified target
the aim
to improve the aim of the person who shoots

in Oregon US of A

steady your hand
dive head first
take them all out
competitive yet friendly

the weekend in Washington state
a 12-year-old girl is hit
the mother’s boyfriend tried to lower the hammer
the rifle was fired
the gun went off
in the head she was struck
on Monday she died
in the morning
at nine thirty

tragic injury
loss of life
sorrow and pain
thoughts and prayers
show compassion

thirty percent more children killed by guns

human target practice
improves the aim
of the one who shoots.

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Deborah CaulfieldJo-anne CoxRichard Downes Recent comment authors
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Richard Downes

Nice one Debbie. Hope it feels good to you. It feels right to me. It sounds like so much of what you stand for. And yeah the timing is pretty spot on with all this hate speech going round and the hate speakers proving to be so unaccountable in a country that is supposed to have hate speech laws. This is one of the ways the killing starts.

Jo-anne Cox

Really great poem, excellent writing, you’ve nailed it Deborah.