Home » Poetry » NEAR MISSES (Eintou for the survivors of urban violence)

NEAR MISSES (Eintou for the survivors of urban violence)

Chicago Police investigate a mass drive-by shooting that left a woman dead and four other people wounded in the 3500 block of West Grenshaw. | Justin Jackson/ Sun-Times

I have been a teaching artist with at-risk youth since 1991. I currently run an apprenticeship program for teens through After School Matters on Chicago’s westside. My program, the Spoken Word Academy @ Kelly Hall YMCA, has been helping young people find their voices through poetry and spoken word since 2009. I try to be mindful of the impact of community violence on my students(apprentices). Recently, one of my apprentices was injured during a drive-bye shooting on the 3500 block of West Grenshaw. Fortunately, they “escaped” with a flesh wound. Unfortunately, that was the second shooting incident involving one of my teens that week! Both of them have expressed indications that they are probably suffering from PTSD. Only one of them shared that they are receiving counseling.

The following is a series of Eintou poems reflecting on the mental aftermath experienced by survivors and vicarious victims of urban gun violence on.


Near misses

Are still traumatic experiences

For those who live through them.

Unfortunately, many have become desensitized to the violence.

“This kind of shit happens everyday”

In the life of

The hood.


Flesh wounds

In time, will heal.

Deeper wounds need more time.

Healing traumatic injuries

Not visibly seen is

Even harder

To do.




Reliving the trauma

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Hypervigilance, avoidance,

And depression

Are scars.


We need

More trauma-informed wraparound services

To help people heal after shootings.

Because most people don’t just, “get over it.”

PTSD curses survivors to relive trauma-

Over and over, again,

And again!

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